Customers describe John W. Bird, founder and CEO of JB Machinery, as an innovator and an entrepreneur, a pioneer in coatings who has helped independent companies take their graphic production to the next level.
In recognition of his many contributions to the corrugated printing and packaging industry, Bird was presented with the Hall of Fame Award to a minute long standing ovation during the AICC Spring Meeting held April 24-26 in Miami, Florida.
A host of corrugators honored his life’s work in a video presentation. Those who have done business with him say he’s a master of art and science and an expert who understands the print process from the point of the substrates to the consumables, including ink and varnishes. He’s focused on the development of a product and the innovation of a product, and he’ll never quit if there are improvements that can be made.
Quite simply, he’s helped companies grow and prosper, and for many, they wouldn’t be where they are today without him. They admire him for the undying passion he has for the business.
AICC President Mike D’Angelo said Bird joined AICC in 1983 and has been an active and engaged supplier and supporter ever since. To boot, he’s also one of the funniest guys in the world with zero pretense.
Bird’s first job was for a printing ink and roller manufacturer in Southfields London, where he installed collars on the end of print rollers. He quickly transferred to the ink labs while going to night school at the London College of Printing. His knowledge accelerated after that, working for various companies that furthered his knowledge in chemistry, inks and coating techniques, printing, and forced hot air dryers, which had a tremendous impact on the litho industry.
Driven by a desire to sell and create, Bird was drawn to America and, as he puts it, “It was love at first sight. America was everything. People were honest and they didn’t care where you came from.” Seeing an opportunity to share what he knew about drying and curing, Bird and his family left the UK and came to the US in 1982. In 1998, he founded Westport, Connecticut based JB Machinery, specializing in IR drying and UV curing systems. Today, it is a three-generation, family-owned and operated company.
In accepting his induction, Bird said that AICC is one of the most amazing organizations in the world, recalling that his first sale into the corrugated industry — a UV coating system — was to a company he was introduced to through AICC.
For his success, Bird gives credit to his wife, Sandra, for keeping the business going and the family together. “She’s been there as the cheerleader, the mortar, the glue,” he said. “Without her, we wouldn’t be here.”
Bird loves to share his knowledge with the next generations. He also thanked his immediate family and their spouses, including his oldest son, Warren Bird, President; daughter, Tanya Bird Rubin, Vice President of Finance and Human Resources; his youngest son, Nathan, Vice President of Business Management; and grandson, Spencer Bird, Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager, in addition to Dave Burgess, Sales Director, and Jeff DeVries, President of XDS.
JB Machinery has grown exponentially over the years with around 110 employees, installations in over 350 facilities worldwide and 800 different products. The company currently provides sales and service in 60 countries.