John Bird, CEO of JB Machinery, was inducted into AICC’s Hall of Fame at the recently concluded AICC Spring Meeting in Miami. Accolades were aired on the big screen, toasts were lifted, hugs were exchanged, and John gave a wonderful speech. How can such a diminutive man play such a large role in our industry, in our Association, and in my own professional development?
John is well deserving of this honor. He has earned it because of the innovations he has brought to the industry, his support of AICC and all who are reading these words, and his generosity with the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) and the Foundation for Packaging Education. His sharing of his time, his leadership, his opinions, his counsel, and his enthusiasm with so many of us.
John is the patriarch of a wonderful family, with Sandra, the matriarch, at his side. Two more generations of Birds are fully involved in JB Machinery, the family business. Individually and collectively, they prove the adage of the fruit not falling far from the tree. They have emulated and enhanced the examples that John and Sandra have set.
If you’ve listened to John’s story in the second episode of the AICC podcast series Breaking Down Boxes, you know the multiple ups and downs that have brought John to this peak—entrance into the prestigious AICC Hall of Fame. If you have not heard the story of John’s journey, I recommend you do so.
I have never known John to not take a moment for anyone who has asked. He leaped at the first opportunity to donate to the Foundation for Packaging Education when it was formed. This was on the heels of a long-standing pledge to ICPF. When AICC has needed a sponsor or some other material, intellectual, or emotional support, John has not hesitated to say yes. I know many of you have had similar experiences.
I met John and Sandra at an AICC event years ago. I ended up sitting with the two of them at dinner, and I remember being taken with how gracious they were and how comfortable they made me feel. I had already been serving a long time at Bobst at that point but was new to corrugated. I had just enough experience to know that AICC was a special association. John and Sandra confirmed my thoughts that evening. That was also the day I became a fan of the West Ham United Football Club. I had no prior allegiances. John insisted.
I know all of this was expressed for John and to John at the Spring Meeting in Miami.
For those of you who were not there, I just wanted to share this small tribute to the great man, Captain John Bird!