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Pinball Expo Founders
Rob Berk and Mike Pacak have helped keep the Pinball Expo running strong for the past years.

Rob Berk
My love for pinball began at an early age with visits with my father to the local arcades in Miami, Florida. His love for the game rubbed off on me to the point that I started asking for my very own machine. He soon aquired a United 'Babyface' and later a Gottlieb 'Texan'.

My interest waned for several years until I went to High School, at which point I once again embraced my love for the sport. I played as many games as I could find in our home town, but always felt cheated because the games would not give extra balls or replays - features that were outlawed in our area.

College life produced a whole new set of surroundings, including loads of pinball machines. As much as I played four-player machines I realized that my love was single-player games, especially those produced by Williams Electronics.

I later heard about the Ohio Wizards Pinball Club, where I met fellow enthusiasts, including my future assistants in pinball Expo, Mike Pacak and Bill Kurtz. In 1984 with the help of Bill, I sent out a survey to see if there was any interest in a National Pinball Collectors Convention. The rest is history.

My collection of over 500 games spans from the 30's to the 90's. I specialize in single-player add-a-ball machines and have a good sampling in my basement. What began as a vision in 1984 continues as reality as we celebrate our year.

Mike Pacak
It all began in 1957 when Mike's father brought home a "Buccaneer" (Gottlieb,'48) pinball machine for his five year old son. The senior Pacak was in business primarily, as a bingo machine operator, but had hopes that Mike would find interest in pinball. In high school Mike earned substantial spending money buying, fixing, and selling coin operated machines of all types. His interest continued as he pursued a degree in electrical engineering. Upon graduating, he obtained the position of Director of Operations for the then infant arcade company, Fun-N-Games. Over the next 21 years, Mike helped Fun-N-Games grow to 75 locations, acquiring many trusted relationships with industry giants along the way.

As a member of the Ohio Wizards Pinball Club, Mike met two pivotal people: Rob Berk and Bill Kurtz. His friend Rob prompted Mike to begin acquiring pinball machines seriously, which began a collection encompassing over 750 pinball machines. Mike had assembled quite an impressive collection of wiring schematics which he used in his repair duties. It was Bill Kurtz who suggested Mike branch out from schematics to begin collecting pinball flyers. This collection quickly grew to become the world's largest and most complete.

The three collectors decided to try holding a national 'club' attracting people from all over the world to come to the pinball center of the universe: Chicago Illinios. Thus, Pinball Expo was born. Pinball Expo is the worlds largest gathering of industry and hobby celebrities, avid and casual collectors, and, of course, classic pinball machines from all eras.