In September I was a freshman college student at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) starting the Fall semester of the year 1977. My Father, Mr. Roberto Hung Juris Doctor wanted me to attend NEIU because he worked at Felt-Products Inc. nearby at McCormick Boulevard and Touhy in Skokie, Illinois. The Felt-Pro Corporation included the college children of employees in the Mecklenburger Scholarship benefits.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Felt Products was originally a parts supplier for the Ford Model T, Felt Products Manufacturing Co. was founded on the North Side in 1918 by Hugo Herz and his son-in-law Albert Mecklenburger. Later renamed Fel-Pro, the company remained family-owned until it was sold in 1998 to Federal-Mogul Corp. of Southfield, Mich., which subsequently went into bankruptcy reorganization. (All three families who ran Fel-Pro at the time of the Federal-Mogul deal are descended by blood or by marriage from Mr. Herz.)

Fel-Pro, which had 2,700 employees and 11 plants making gaskets for internal combustion engines, sold for $720 million.

Softer side: Fel-Pro regularly headed lists of companies offering generous employee benefits. There were fitness and day care centers at the Skokie plant, as well as a children’s summer camp and recreation area spanning 250 acres near Cary. Fel-Pro paid for tutors for employees’ children and sponsored scholarships. There were company-paid lawyers and psychologists on site to counsel employees, and even an artist-in-residence program.

The company contended the extras weren’t expensive. “At Fel-Pro, 93 cents of every benefit dollar went to standard things like pensions and profit-sharing and health care and vacation. That’s what automakers are struggling to fund today,” says Ken Lehman.

“All the other things cost just 7 cents out of every benefit dollar.” Even so, many of the old perks have been dismantled since the sale”.

Nowadays: Kenneth Lehman is managing partner of a family investment concern, KKP Group LLC in Evanston, and is on the board of the family’s charitable organization, the New Prospect Foundation, which has assets of about $20 million. He is also chairman of Winning Workplaces, a non-profit that consults on workplace issues. He’s on the boards of both Care USA, an international relief organization, and Public Radio International. Public station WBEZ-FM in Chicago named its studios the Lehman Family Public Radio Center.

David Weinberg promotes charter schools in Chicago. Paul Lehman heads Austin Lehman Adventures, which sponsors off-the-beaten-path vacations.

Dennis Kessler is a principal in Family Business Innovations, which assists private firms with succession planning, and Kessler Management Consulting LLC, both in Northbrook, Illinois.

My Father, Mr. Roberto Hung was a full-time employee at the Felt-Products Corporation until 1996, for twenty-two (22) years in Skokie, Illinois USA.

I was referred to the NEIU Financial Aid Department for Work Study as an Assistant Student Aide for the Veterans Administration GI Scholarship managed by Mrs. Annette Cohn, Shirley Levin.

In addition, I was to help the Computer Analyst Marie Liszewski Ruiz with NEIU Student Financial Aid Reports, provide student aide support to Marilyn Kuhn, and also assist Angie Pappas at the Reception Desk, Kathy Crane, George A. West and Frank Solano, David Hefland at the Career Counseling Center and other Civil Service staff who worked at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis, B Wing, Chicago, Illinois 60625 USA.