In Memoriam, 1945-2015
Working at OMG is not like working at any other company. Not only do we have a small staff but, with the frequent traveling we do for the TC meetings, we've spent a significant amount of time with each other throughout the years. Being an employee of OMG is like being part of a family. We all have our private jokes and our shared stories from "way back when". We are always there for each other: both during good times and bad - work-related and personal. Even those of us who have moved on to other jobs have to admit: The people at OMG stay with you forever (there are in fact OMG staffers that left years ago that stay in touch constantly). They really and truly become your family.
This past weekend, we lost one of our family members. Ken Berk came to OMG in 2003 on a contract job for outbound telemarketing. He joined as a full-time employee in 2004 and has run the Business Development department for more than a decade. From day one, Ken played an integral role to our staff and the hole he leaves behind will not easily be filled. Ken absolutely loved working for OMG and probably would have continued working here after the rest of us retired. He took his role as VP of the Business Development department very seriously, in both good times and bad. Staffers use to joke that he would never miss any opportunity to make a sale. In fact, he would hone his sales skills on us; his love of tech toys drove him to buy the latest gadget before turning around and selling it. It was well-known that, should any of the staff need something - a new iPad for the registration desk, a memory card for a camcorder - the first stop was Ken's office to see what was "on the market" today.
Though Ken took his work seriously, he made sure to take time to laugh every day. When GEICO debuted their "Hump Day" commercial last year, Ken loved it so much that for months, he re-enacted it every Wednesday morning on his way into the office (taking special care to shout, "MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE!" across the cubicles to Marketing Manager, Mike Narducci).
Frequent accomplices to practical jokes were Ken's penguins - an assortment of penguin-shaped stress balls accumulated from years of trade shows. These penguins would mysteriously appear on colleague's desks and hidden-away spots around the office with Ken innocently claiming he had no clue how they got there. Ken even masterminded the penguins' kidnapping and eventual return in a FedEx box addressed from Florida - much to the amusement to the rest of the staff! I guess we could say that not only did Ken never pass up an opportunity for a sale, but he never passed up the opportunity for a joke.
Despite fighting a litany of maladies for many years, some of which robbed him of keen eyesight, he remained an enthusiastic photographer to the end; many of his photographs are museum quality and lovely to behold. Anyone who stepped into his office couldn't help but be in awe of the frame photos on his walls: rainy days in Europe, a cockeyed barn, and wintry mornings in the country. Ken was a man that was always on the go and his photos reflected a quieter, more peaceful side that we didn't get to see often in the office.
We all thought Ken was indestructible, having lived through more than his share of medical issues. It's hard to imagine that Ken will never again walk through the office door. But we will carry his memory with us every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family - including his wife and two sons - during this difficult time.
Goodbye, Ken. May you be at peace.
-The OMG staff
Services will be held on Sunday, April 12th at 1pm at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MGH Transplant Fund. Donations should be made out to Mass General Hospital and sent c/o MGH Transplant Fund, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114 Att: Dr. Nina Rubin.