FEYYAZ BERKER (1925 - 2017)

Feyyaz Berker was born on the 7th of October, 1925 in Mersin, the son of Muhtar Berker. He attended primary school at the "İleri Primary School" in Mersin.

His father was a greatly respected ophthalmologist. During the years of the National Struggle for Independence, Muhtar Bey provided medicine and supplies for a 10-bed hospital that was established to care for the wounded soldiers in a city where there wasn't even a single dispensary. Muhtar Berker's wish was for his son to become a doctor, like himself. However, although Feyyaz Berker had great respect for the medical profession, he made the decision to pursue a career in a different field.

One of Feyyaz Berker's strongest memories from the years he spent in Mersin is of the visit to the city by Atatürk. Because Feyyaz Berker was just a small child at the time of Atatürk's first visit and because Atatürk was not well during his visit to Mersin on the 20th of May in 1938, the two never met. All the same, these two visits make up the foundation for Feyyaz Berker's great love and respect for Atatürk.

After Feyyaz Berker completed his primary education, he continued his education at the American College in Tarsus. He first became acquainted with the American system of education that values and supports freedom and personal development at this school.

In 1939, when his father was chosen as the senator for the state of İçel in the 6th Session, he moved to Ankara with the family. For this reason, he had to leave Tarsus American College but in order to continue his education in English, Feyyaz Berker was sent to boarding school at Robert College in Istanbul in the fall of 1939.

In his own words, Feyyaz Berker notes that the years he spent at Robert College played an important role in defining his future. Although the years of World War II brought a number of hardships, Berker continued as a successful student.

While Turkey never entered the war, the years of World War II created many economic hardships. A great percentage of the national resources were put aside for military defense in case of a military threat. In addition, because of military procurement, agricultural output was greatly reduced. In 1942, the unforgettable implementation of a rationing system aimed to control the consumption of wheat. Yet another memorable feature of these years were the night-time blackouts that plunged the cities into darkness.

Because its administrators had planned ahead for these difficult times, Robert College had a stock of food and coal. As of result of these precautions from 1939 - 1946, while Feyyaz Berker was at the school, there was never a stoppage at the college.

The American educational system that included such ideals as "personal discipline" and "non-academic social activities" that Berker first encountered at Tarsus American College were also part of his Robert College education. Robert College taught its students educational discipline, thinking for oneself and speaking one's ideas freely. Feyyaz Berker felt that this liberal environment that prized individual creativity and the ability to think in many facets was the same environment that would allow Turkey to develop and progress.

Since his childhood, Feyyaz Berker had always been interested in sports, and at Robert College, he found the opportunity to engage in many different branches. He believed that involvement in sports had a great effect on personal development, and so he participated in basketball, tennis, volleyball, table tennis and a variety of other sports. He was also a permanent member of the football team.

I am in favor of young people making the most of their free time through sports. Participating in sports brings with it a sense of sportsmanship; it builds character. You feel both happiness and sadness as a result of your efforts, but in the end, you are playing a team sport. This is something that team spirit and competition provide.

Graduating from the high school section of Robert College in 1942, Feyyaz Berker continued in the engineering faculty of the same school's university. There were three alternative departments in the School of Engineering that he was able to choose from: Road and Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Berker chose Civil Engineering.

When Berker graduated from Robert College in 1946, it was a time of political cooperation between the two countries, and he went to America to continue his education. He gained acceptance at the University of Michigan, one of the oldest and most established schools in the field of civil engineering.

On the one hand, while he continued his education, in order to earn some cash, he began to work on weekends and during the summer. He found a job on the assembly line at the Kaiser-Frazer automobile factory that was created in Willow Run, Michigan. At that time, the factory was the world's largest complex. During the time he worked here, in addition to the practical skills he acquired, Feyyaz Berker also gained new perspectives related to work and life philosophies.

When Feyyaz Berker graduated from the University of Michigan in 1948 with his advanced Engineering degree, he did not return immediately to Turkey. He stayed in the United States to gain further experience. He found a job in California at a construction firm. This job, where he worked for one year, provided him with important experiences.

"What I would say to young people studying in America is this: Stay in America and work for one year. This will be an experience you will make use of throughout your entire life."

In1949, Feyyaz Berker returned to his family in Ankara. After he completed his military service as a reserve officer in Ankara, he began to work as a construction manager at the Ankara Esenboğa Airport. When work on the airport was completed, he was assigned a job in the main office's research and lab division. The work Feyyaz Berker did at this period in his life at what was perhaps the only laboratory specializing in this area, provided him with a sound background and practice. It also provided him with the inspiration in 1956 to found the Feyyaz-Nihat (FN) Consulting Company working in a similar field.

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