Notable Veteran Executives: Bill Berrien

Class of 2022

  • Category: Notable Veteran Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 14
  • Undergrad degree/university: Princeton University
  • Graduate degree/university: Harvard Business School

U.S. Navy SEAL team officer, platoon commander, 1991-99

Bill Berrien served on active duty as a U.S. Navy SEAL team officer and platoon commander from 1991 to 1999.

In 2012, he acquired Pindel Global Precision, a New Berlin-based contract manufacturer of precision machined parts.

According to colleagues, Berrien often shares an adage from his military service: “Once you leave the SEAL Teams, you spend the rest of your life trying to re-create the SEAL Teams.” 

“Bill has done just that (at Pindel),” said Paul Jelacic, vice president of commercial banking at Old National Bank. “Bill has grown a world-class team of advanced manufacturing professionals. Pindel actively recruits and hires veterans, and several leaders throughout the company are veterans. Further, he and his team created an industry-best-in-class professional development program (modeled on the military’s rigorous development and promotion process for its Non-Commissioned Officer Corps), and Bill has become a vocal and passionate advocate for new and innovative approaches to lifelong upskilling.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Berrien and his team pivoted Pindel to provide ventilator components to several original equipment manufacturers, including SpaceX, and then leveraged that flexibility to incubate an additional division, Liberty Precision, which focuses on aerospace, defense and advanced energy customers. 

Outside of Pindel, Berrien has been a 12-year ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Ten years ago, he helped initiate its inaugural Midwest Tribute Dinner, which has grown to raise millions of dollars for the foundation to support the surviving spouses and children of SEALs killed and wounded in action and training.

Berrien got an undergraduate degree in politics from Princeton University and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and Harvard Business School. He also graduated with Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Class 181, where his class recognized him with the “Fire in the Gut” award for highest level of motivation and perseverance. 

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