Member Story – Perlick Corporation

by Kimberly Hegeman
December 7, 2021

Perlick Corporation has been designing, engineering, and manufacturing high-performance commercial bar and beverage equipment and premium residential refrigeration since 1917. The now fifth-generation owned company joined the Wisconsin Family Business Center (FBC) during the generational transition from fourth to fifth generation.

Mark Bergum,
Perlick Corporation

“We had our advisors preparing plans and guiding us through the process. This was our first generational transfer collaboratively planned with members of multiple generations,” says Mark Bergum. “I came to the Wisconsin Family Business Center with an open mind and curiosity. Within the first program, I was blown away by the knowledge and openness of the presenter and members discussing various components of ownership and generational transfers.”

Perlick’s Story

Robert K. Perlick started R. Perlick Brass Works in 1917 in Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturing brass parts and battery terminals for automobile, truck, tractor, and streetcar manufacturers. As the city’s breweries expanded, Perlick began to manufacture brass dispensing products and became the preferred dispensing equipment in the industry. In the 1950s, the company introduced modern refrigeration and beverage dispensing products, including its Century Beer System that was featured at the New York 1964 World’s Fair. The company continued to expand to offer a full line of equipment needed to design and construct top tier bars and entertainment venues.

In the 1980s, the company changed its name to Perlick Corporation. More than 100 years after its start, the Milwaukee company is now owned by the fifth generation including Mark Bergum, Laurie Bergum Navarro, Theodore “TJ” Perlick Molinari, David Perlick-Molinari, and Robert Perlick-Molinari.

FBC Impact

Despite being a fifth-generation owner, Mark is the first in the Perlick Corporation family business to join the FBC. He immediately saw the potential and the benefits being a member could have for his family business. What Mark values the most is the FBC community.

“This is the community I lean on to help work through implications of current and future decisions on family, ownership, and the business.”

Mark has also taken advantage of the invaluable programming the FBC offers to its members. He particularly appreciates how the FBC programs are tailored to the audience.

“Their applicability to a family business owner and depth of content exceeds other presentations I have seen at other family business centers, national conferences, or other gatherings.”