Gary J. Bergenske was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1954 and raised in Pardeeville, a small nearby town. After graduating from Portage High School, he and his family moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Bergenske and his family have lived in the Orlando, Florida area for over 35 years where he has been the owner of J&J Metro Moving and Storage Company.
As a motivational speaker, he has delivered his inspirational message on leadership, teamwork, and mentoring at engagements throughout the world. For twelve years he served on the Boards for Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. He served as Imperial Potentate, the highest office in the entire Shriners organization worldwide in 2017 – 2018.
Bergenske was raised a Master Mason in 1994 at Eola Lodge #207 in Orlando. He became a member of Bahia Shriners in Orlando in 1994, where he is now a lifetime member. He served as Potentate of Bahia Shriners, Orlando in 2005. Bergenske is the founder of the Bahia Historical and Educational Museum in Orlando. He is an associate member of Zor Shriners in Madison, Wisconsin. He is also a perpetual lifetime member of the Orlando Scottish Rite and holds the rank of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor. Bergenske currently serves as a certified member of the Advisory Council of Florida DeMolay; has received the DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor Award; is an Honorary Member of DeMolay’s International Supreme Council; and has been presented the prestigious DeMolay International Grand Cross, its highest honor. Bergenske was the founding president of the Shriners International Educational Fund, an endowment set up to provide education on leadership. Bergenske also is an emeritus member of Shriners International, an emeritus representative of Shriners Hospitals for Children, a lifetime member of the Cabiri International, and a member of the Royal Order of Jesters, The Order of Quetzalcoatl, Lions International, and the Loyal Order of Moose.
Bergenske served three successful years as Chairman of the Shriners International all-star college football event, the East-West Shrine Game®. During his years as a member of the Shriners boards of directors, he served on numerous committees, including as chairman of the Research, Public Relations, Fraternal Strategic Planning, Information Services, Insurance, Protocol, and Capital Evaluation committees. In addition, he has served as the Liaison Officer to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie, Springfield, Houston, Galveston, Portland, Honolulu, Boston, and Spokane. He served on the Executive Committee of the Imperial Membership Committee for 14 years and was a charter member of both the TRAC and PACE teams. He has also been an inspirational keynote speaker and presenter at Imperial conferences for Oriental Guides, Assistant Rabbans, public relations, donor relations and membership.
During the time Bergenske was a member of the Imperial Membership Executive Committee, he came up with the idea of having a Shriners mascot to not only promote the fraternity but to also attract younger generations, which resulted in the development of Fez Head Fred. While serving as Membership Chairman of Bahia Shriners, Bergenske created and developed the Mentor Program to get new members involved. Shriners now use this program throughout the world. While serving as Imperial Potentate, he championed the most aggressive Shriners International Membership program in recent memory, called “I AM – RU Committed to Membership.”
In 1985, Bergenske purchased J & J Metro Moving and Storage, which he has owned and operated for the past 34 years. In addition, Bergenske is a motivational speaker and has written five books. His other books discuss ways to “Build a Better Life” and “Become a Better Leader” and are available in more than 10 countries, where they are making a positive difference in people’s lives.
In his down time, he loves traveling, the outdoors, hunting, old cars and Harley- Davidsons. Bergenske and his wife, Anne, have six children – Carrie, Lisa, Jason, Jami, David and Jared – and are often referred to as the “Bergy Bunch.” They have 12 grandchildren who regularly brighten their days.