Advancing the

charitable vision of

William S. Dietrich II

The Dietrich Foundation

Per Mr. Dietrich’s wishes, the assets of The Dietrich Charitable Trusts and certain assets of his estate were directed to fund The Dietrich Foundation following his death. The Dietrich Charitable Trusts were charitable remainder trusts created by Mr. Dietrich that owned assets principally generated by the sale of Dietrich Industries, Inc. — the largest U.S. manufacturer of light metal framing for the construction industries — to Worthington Industries, Inc., in 1996. The Dietrich Foundation ultimately was funded and launched its operations in January 2013.

 

The Dietrich Foundation is a Pennsylvania charitable trust governed by a board of nine trustees. It is organized and operated as a “Type I” charitable supporting organization under Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

William (Bill) S. Dietrich II, who once said that he earned his success through "luck and pluck," died of complications from cancer in October 2011 at the age of 73. He was the former Chairman of Dietrich Industries, Inc. His death removed from the scene a great Western Pennsylvanian who, with an engaging personality and indefatigable determination, forged a remarkable career in industry, literature, civic service and philanthropy.

 

Born in Pittsburgh on May 13, 1938, the son of Marianna Brown Dietrich and Kenneth P. Dietrich, Bill Dietrich was named after his grandfather. A lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1955 and would later receive The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1999. Mr. Dietrich graduated from Conneaut Lake High School in 1956 and later earned an A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1960. Following active duty in United States Marine Corps Reserve, he joined his father at Dietrich Industries, Inc., which was at that time a small steel warehouse and distribution business located east of Pittsburgh.

 

As further evidence of “lady luck dealing me some good cards,” Mr. Dietrich hired Richard (Dick) F. Berdik in 1974 to join Dietrich Industries as its Chief Financial Officer.  With Mr. Berdik at his side, Mr. Dietrich transformed and grew the business into the nation's largest manufacturer of light metal framing for the construction industry. Fueled by his high energy and lifelong passion for political science and history, in 1980 and 1984, respectively, Mr. Dietrich earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh — all while running his growing business. In 1996, Dietrich Industries was sold to Worthington Industries, Inc., where Mr. Dietrich remained a director until 2008. After 1996, Mr. Dietrich focused his energies on his charitable trusts that he created and funded with assets principally generated by the sale of Dietrich Industries, Inc. Then, in 2001, Mr. Dietrich again successfully recruited Mr. Berdik — his friend, advisor and confidant — to help him refine and execute his charitable vision.

 

Bill Dietrich's commitment to Western Pennsylvania was remarkable. Long active in civic affairs, Mr. Dietrich served as chairman of the boards at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Great Pittsburgh Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance. Other board service included: Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Symphony Society, and UPMC Health System.

 

A voracious reader and skilled storyteller, he was long interested in the relationship between political institutions and national competitiveness. In 1991, Penn State University Press published his book, “In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: The Political Roots of American Economic Decline.” Mr. Dietrich also wrote a series of short, historical accounts of influential Pennsylvania events and personalities that were published in “Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine.” A book entitled “Eminent Pittsburghers,” containing a collection of these stories, was published in May 2011 by Taylor Trade. At the time of his death, Mr. Dietrich was working on another book: “American Recessional: The US Decline and the Rise of China.” His extraordinary combination of business experience, academic expertise and pointed prose made him unusually well qualified to address the complex practical and theoretical issues he tackled in his writings and which he discussed passionately with all who were interested.

 

For more information about Bill Dietrich, visit this Carnegie Mellon web site.

 

 

 

 

© 2013 The Dietrich Foundation