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Richard Bernstein Biography

Richard BernsteinRichard Bernstein retired from BAI Aerosystems (BAI), a company he founded to fill a void in the emerging Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market to serve military needs. The company’s products include an array of aircraft, avionics, and sensors, as well as support equipment and services.  BAI’s products are used throughout the world by the U.S. military and its allies.  BAI was acquired by L-3 Communications Corporation in December 2004.

Mr. Bernstein’s entrepreneurial talents were first demonstrated in 1970 when he founded K&L Microwave, Inc., a producer of RF / electronic components used in defense, space and communications equipment.  He served as the President and CEO for more than 20 years, building K&L from a small start-up business with one employee to the world’s largest supplier of microwave components, with over 500 employees.  In 1983, K&L Microwave was acquired by Dover Corporation, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  The growth and success of K&L spawned the expanding technology industrial base on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  The electronics manufacturing industry that he launched in 1970 has grown into an industry that provides employment for more than 1,800 workers.  Maryland’s Eastern Shore’s industrial base now contributes more than $200 million aggregately to the local economy.

Mr. Bernstein’s current business interests include Salisbury, Inc., which produces pewter and silver giftware; Machining Technologies, Inc (MaTech), which specializes in high-tech fabrication for the defense industry; Waterside Village, a mixed-use shopping and commercial center in Talbot County; and REB Holdings, Inc., a private investment company.

Richard Bernstein was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Chincoteague, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute, earned an undergraduate degree from Salisbury State University, a Master’s in Business Management from Purdue University, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from both the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Salisbury State University.  He holds a Professional Engineering License in Manufacturing Management.  He is a private pilot with commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings.

Mr. Bernstein and his wife, Ellen, reside in Oxford, Maryland.

Mr. Bernstein’s civic and corporate honors include:

  • Maryland’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2004 Award from Ernst & Young
  • Albert Einstein Aerospace Technology Award 2003
  • Washington College Board of Visitors
  • INC. Magazine’s Top 500 Privately-Held Companies
  • Maryland’s Small Business Person of The Year
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Centennial Medal
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