Harold Berkman, founder of Music Express Limousine Co., passed away October 19, 1997 at the age of 63.
Berkman started his career in the music business in 1958. His first position was with the Joseph H. Zamoiski Co. in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area serving as promotion coordinator for many of the top national recording companies. After leaving Zamoiski, he became national promotion director at MGM Records in New York City. During that time, he was responsible for breaking such acts as Herman’s Hermits, The Animals, Lovin’ Spoonful, and many others.
Berkman left MGM to form his own record company, which was later acquired by TransAmerica. He then returned to MGM, where he became head of the company’s West Coast operations. He later held positions at Polydor Records in New York and Frank Zappa’s Discreet Records in Los Angeles. His last position in the music industry was as head of his own company, Marina Records.
In 1974, he founded Music Express Limousine Co. in Los Angeles. In the following years, Music Express became one of the nation’s leading limousine companies, with corporate offices in Los Angeles, New York, and most recently, San Francisco. Berkman was an integral member of the National Limousine Association (NLA). He served on the Board of Directors and was the association’s president in 1995. Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation Magazine named Berkman one of the most influential people in the industry.
INDUSTRY ICON LOVED BY MANY
Harold Berkman, founder of Music Express Limousine Co., had a long list of admirers, many of whom worked for him. The following thoughts are from some of the many whose lives he touched:
“During the 10-plus years I worked for Harold Berkman, I experienced a working relationship unparalleled to any previous position I ever held. Harold taught me firmness with compassion, loyalty out of respect, giving from the heart, and the true meaning of a full-service company. I will miss the joys and the sorrows we experienced together. But most of all, I will miss my boss, my dear friend, my mentor.” - Mark Dymond, Music Express New York, director of operations
“I am proud to say I worked for him for the past eight years. He was a great friend and boss. He was always generous, understanding, and would always ask about my family. He really cared. He made me feel special and always brought out the best in me. I will miss him.” - Bert Malvaez, Music Express West, chauffeur
“I have been with the company 10 for years. Harold always treated me like gold. I used to think he just appreciated my work, but after his funeral I realized that most people had the same things to say about him. He always gave to people. Harold was a kind, generous person.
“I was lucky enough to work very closely with Harold. My desk was just outside his door. He preferred to yell rather than use the intercom. I think one of the reasons why he did not want to move to another building was because he did not want to use the phone. I loved being around Harold, hearing his voice and his laughter. He called everyone ‘Babe.’
“With Harold, you could only make recommendations. It was a three-part process. First, you made your suggestion and he would say, ‘No! Get outta here!’ If you had the courage to try a second time he would say, ‘I’ll think about it! Get outta here!’ Just when you thought the idea was shot down, he would call a meeting to announce the implementation of ‘your suggestion.’
Harold was very reasonable, but never a pushover. I came to America from the other side of the world. I was ready to meet many bosses. I sure got lucky when I ended up with Harold. He was more than fair. He was more than caring. He made you feel you were a part of his family.” - Ramona Affif, Music Express West, administrative assistant
“The thing that always impressed me in the 12 years I have worked at Music Express is Harold Berkman always had an open door for anyone who ever worked here. No problem was too big or too small for him.
“If you had a family problem or a new arrival, you always received a call from Mrs. Berkman [Rita]. In short, the Berkmans are a family that everyone loves because everyone is always treated like a big part of their family.” - Greg Arcuri, Music Express West, chauffeur