PROFILE: RICH BERENDSON OF MAHC
Rich Berendson sits down with us to share the ins and outs of working behind the scenes of MAHC.
RANDALL A. PENTIUK, ESQ.
Many of you have attended the Annual MAHC Conferences in exciting locations such as Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and San Diego. However, you may not have realized that this elaborate and complex conference is the brainchild of MAHC Secretary, Rich Berendson. Working diligently behind the scenes, Mr. Berendson is constantly organizing and ensuring that things go off without a hitch. Rich has been involved in housing cooperatives for over a decade, and it shows.
Rich Berendson grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and currently works as a visual repair technician at the College of DuPage, where he manages the high-tech classrooms, design, repair, and technology. His love of electronics spreads into every area of his life, especially the area of housing coops. He is currently involved in MAHC, NAHC, his local church, and the Community Emergency Response Team.
Mr. Berendson is a man who truly has the heart of a servant. When asked what his biggest success in life was, he responded that it was “giving back to the people.” Mr. Berendson enjoys giving of his time and talents, and he thrives best when he is in the background making sure everything is working.
Mr. Berendson has been involved with housing coops for over a decade, and before that he was involved in city politics and served as a police officer. He became involved in housing coops when he moved into Cumberland Green Cooperative. He quickly got involved and was elected to the board.
Shortly after he joined the board he met the President of MAHC, Bill Magee, and was brought further into the housing coop world. Mr. Berendson is currently the Secretary of MAHC, and runs the MAHC website at www.mahc.coop.
As President of the Board of Directors for Cumberland Green Cooperative, Mr. Berendson has high hopes and plans for the future of his community. One of his goals is to make affordable housing for everyone in the area. Currently Cumberland Green Cooperative has the lowest carrying charges in the area, the property is in outstanding shape, and was recently refurbished both inside and outside. Mr. Berendson believes in teamwork, and that is reflected at Cumberland. He says, “The object is to be a community so that people work together and help each other, and have a say in what happens more than each individual.”
Cumberland Green has an advantage on other cooperatives in the Chicago area. St. Charles, where the cooperative is located, has one of the best school districts in the area, and is one of the friendliest, highest rated communities to live in the suburbs. But if you ask Mr. Berendson if this is due to his work with the cooperative, he will say no. His hope for Cumberland, and for the future of the cooperative community is that people will work together to create a better life for themselves and for others.
The next time you attend a MAHC Annual Conference, look for Mr. Berendson. He will be running the conference and ensuring everything is in place. His work is behind the scenes, organizing and coordinating the details that make MAHC Conferences unforgettable. While he may not crave the spotlight, his work certainly speaks for itself.