Bern E. Deichmann

2013 Distinguished German-American of the Year™

On September 28, 2013, Bern E. Deichmann was honored by the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® as the 2013 Distinguished German-American of the Year™.The 27th Annual Award and Fundraising Gala was held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.

Bern E. Deichmann served as president of the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® for ten years, from 2002 through 2012. He is now President-Emeritus of the Foundation and a current member of the Board of Directors of the organization. Bern is widely credited and recognized for providing the leadership which directed the Foundation into acquiring Hockemeyer Hall, a townhouse built in Washington D.C. by a successful German merchant, John Hockemeyer, in 1888. Bern worked tirelessly and unfailingly on behalf of the organization to acquire the facility, renovate it, and ultimately establish the Foundation Headquarters and the German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™ in the nation’s capital.

It is therefore thanks to Bern’s direct efforts and unwavering dedication that the Foundation was finally able to establish a first-rate museum and headquarters in the nation’s capital.

Bern’s experience in industry, both domestically and internationally, and his broad educational background served the organization well. When Bern became president of the Foundation in 2002, he was serving as President & CEO of Schulmerich Carillons, Inc., a designer, manufacturer and marketer of handbells, electronic carillons, and melody chimes in Sellersville, PA. Bern served in that capacity for ten years until his retirement. Prior to that, Bern E. Deichmann served at Transamerica-Delaval, Inc. and its successor companies for over thirty years in numerous senior level positions. This included Vice President-Marketing of the machinery business with a worldwide sales force of over 90 people operating several divisions with a total of $235 million in sales. Subsequently, he served as Vice President-Commercial Operations of the company’s largest division, the Delaval Turbine Division, Trenton, NJ representing $100 million in sales. Bern was responsible for Marketing and Sales, Contract Management as well as the Repair Parts and Service activities. He and two other Americans were sent to the Netherlands in 1971 to build a rotating machinery business, known as Delaval-Stork, in a 50/50 partnership with a major Dutch manufacturing company. For the last five years of Bern’s nine-year stay in the Netherlands he was the Managing Director of a $40 million operation with over 300 employees. The businesses that Bern was associated with are now all owned by Siemens.

Bern was born in Willoughby, Ohio. He and his family lived in northern Schleswig-Holstein during World War II. Bern and his father returned to the United States at the end of 1946. He went on to graduate from Princeton University with a BSME degree, and he also earned an MBA degree from Drexel University. After graduating from Princeton, he was commissioned as an officer in the US Army Artillery and served a tour of duty in that capacity before starting his career with Delaval in Trenton, NJ.

In addition, Bern is a member of many professional and fraternal organizations including the American Council on Germany (New York), Life Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the German-American Chamber of Commerce (Philadelphia), AMVETS, the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, the German Society of Pennsylvania, and a host of other German-American organizations.