Rick Berman's History
Rick Berman grew up in New York City. His father ran gas stations and car washes, and Berman did general labor on weekends and summers while he was growing up.
From 1967 to 1969, Berman worked as a labor law attorney for Bethlehem Steel. From 1969 to 1972, he served as a corporate lawyer for Dana Corporation, an automotive parts company in Toledo, Ohio.
From 1972 to 1974, Berman was employed as labor law director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. In this role, Berman claimed that he "argued against unnecessary regulation of [the] hospitality industry." However, he is known to have submitted an amici curiae brief opposing a decision to grant health care coverage to pregnant women.
Berman moved into the food and beverage industry in 1975 under the mentorship of Norman Brinker, founder and owner of the Steak and Ale chain of restaurants. Berman started a government affairs program, launched his first PAC for Brinker, and worked there until 1984. In 1995, Berman and Brinker were identified as the special-interest lobbyists who donated the $25,000 that caused House Speaker Newt Gingrich to be hauled before the House Ethics Committee for influence peddling.
Berman served as executive vice president of Pillsbury Restaurant Group from 1984 to 1986. In 1986, he formed Berman and Company.
His résumé also includes his work for Beverage Retailers Against Drunk Driving, where he argued for "tolerance of social drinking;" the Minimum Wage Coalition to Save Jobs; and the Employment Policies Institute, created in 1991 to argue "the importance of minimum wage jobs for the poor and uneducated."
Today, Berman describes himself as a social liberal and an economic conservative. He is media savvy and is reported to be clever, "aggressive, and polished—a real street fighter."