As Co-Chairman of Ben Bridge Jeweler, a local company founded in 1912, Herb Bridge is a member of one of Seattle’s iconoclastic business families well known for their philanthropic support and civic leadership. He and younger brother Bob took over the single family-owned store in 1955, and built the company to include 80 stores in 12 states. In 2000, Ben Bridge Jeweler was acquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., with company management and personnel remaining in place.
A Certified Gemologist, Herb recently concluded 7 years as head of the Trustees of the American Gem Society, during which time he was awarded the prestigious Shipley Medal in 2003.
A Seattle native, Herb began his military career after graduating from Franklin High School in 1942 and enlisting in the Navy during World War II. He was selected for officer’s training, and following his commission at Columbia Midshipmen’s School; he served aboard an aircraft carrier for the remainder of the war, and later in an air control squadron during the Korean War. After 43 years of service, he retired as senior Admiral of the US Naval Reserve with significant active duty commands that included a fleet of 45 ships in the Pacific and Persian Gulf regions.
Throughout his successful business and military careers, Herb has led many organizations and charities including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Athletic Club and the Downtown Seattle Association. He founded the Seattle Housing Resources Group, an organization dedicated to building low-cost housing, and has served on numerous boards including the Naval Academy Foundation, the USO Puget Sound Area, the Naval Undersea Museum, and on the corporate boards of Washington Mutual and Teledesic.
He served as co-chairman with son Jon during the 2000-2001 United Way campaign, helping to raise $93 million for local charities, and served as the first chairman of the community council for the Puget Sound Blood Center. His many honors include Seattle-King County First Citizen 2001, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement, and Junior Achievement Laureate Award both in 2003; Maritime Supporter of the Year in 2006, and in 2005, Herb and brother Bob received the Jewelry Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award.