Lifetime Achievement Award 2000 Winner: Bernie Knill

The American Society of Business Publication Editors is proud to announce Bernie Knill as the first recipient of our new Lifetime Achievement Award.

Knill is Editor of Material Handling Management (formerly Material Handling Engineering) as well as the Material Handling Engineering Handbook & Directory and Supply Chain Flow. He has been with Material Handling Management since 1957.

Industry Involvement

During the course of his long career, Knill has achieved that which all good editors in our field of business and trade publishing aspire to: He is not only a top-notch editor of a magazine, but he’s also an integral part of the industry he covers.

He is a member of the Materials Handling & Management Society (MHMS) and is a delegate to Material Handling Industry, Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association, and the Automatic Identification Manufacturers.

As a result of his involvement, Knill has been often recognized by the material handling industry. In 1992, he was the recipient of the Reed-Apple Award, the industry’s highest honor. That same year, the MHMS presented him with the William T. Shirk Award for outstanding service and contributions to the industry.

From 1984 to 1992, Knill spearheaded a monthly column, the “Red Tag Report,” which exposed the efforts of elevator-safety authorities to regulate vertical reciprocating conveyors and other material handling equipment.

From 1986 to 1992, he wrote the Automatic Identification Supplement, with IndustryWeek, which took the message of material handling, systems integration, continuous-flow manufacturing, and mechanized warehousing to top management.

He has moderated and spoken at numerous industry conferences and seminars, where he’s become noted for his statesmanship, his “determined voice” and his “piercing eyes,” with which more than once he brought various factions of the industry together, or at least helped them see each other’s side and agree on new directions.

Education has been a particular concern to Knill. He served on the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education and with related sections of the Material Handling Institute. A fellowship was established in his name by the Material Handling Education Foundation, and supported by a contribution from Penton Publishing (now Penton Media Inc.).

Award-Winning Journalist

As for his role as a journalist, Knill is no stranger to ASBPE, having won some 18 awards for editorial excellence—and that’s before this Lifetime Achievement Award.

He also is a five-time winner of the Neal Award for outstanding journalism from the American Business Press (now American Business Media).

In addition to editing and writing for his magazine, he also has edited and written various supplements, handbooks, series, columns, features, and editorials on various aspects of the industry.

One year he even took on famed newspaper columnist Jack Anderson. It seems that Anderson (and other newspaper journalists) thought the new national bulk mail system was a “Rube Goldberg” creation. Knill’s editorials and articles showed that the new system was indeed state-of-the-art.

What others say about Bernie Knill

“Bernie had a way, in moderating long industry sessions, to get out the differences between opposing parties—like consultants and equipment manufacturers. … Through Bernie’s efforts to get us all together by seeing each others’ sides, we were able to agree on going to functional specs vs. design specs. The result was that users got a better, more up-to-date material handling system instead of one that was five years behind the times.”

—Howard Zollinger
Zollinger Associates

“I knew Bernie in the early ’70s, and even then he was a consistent, unwavering voice. … He supports our grunt-level work and its technical underpinnings all the way up through the senior levels. He’s written the most insightful editorials based on his regular attendance at industry meetings. He has a zeal for high industry standards, ethics and professionalism. … That’s his legend.”

John Nofsinger, CEO
Material Handling Industry

His wife “coaxed me into trying blackened tuna” at an association meeting. “I took a bite and ran for the nearest fire house. … Nevertheless, I still can’t wait to consume his crisp commentaries!”

Bill Casey, Executive Vice President
SI Handling Systems