Back in 1960 Floyd Paxton founder of Kwik Lok Corporation saw that I had some mechanical ability and even though I had no formal training he gave me a job as a design engineer. I had a wife and a baby and no way to get a formal engineering degree. I was so excited for the opportunity because I felt it was my only chance to accomplish my ambition.
Floyd taught me everything I needed to know about mechanical drawing, machine design, manufacturing and the accounting necessary to order purchase and machine parts. I was actually learning those skills while he was helping me design a machine to automatically close bread bags with bag closures that he had invented which he called Kwik Loks.
Even though my wages were low and I was going further in debt each year, I couldn’t thank him enough for the education I had received. Floyd only had a seventh grade education, but I believe I learned more about machine design from this brilliant entrepreneur than I could have learned from an accredited technical college.
In two or three years I had learned enough to be able to start my own business called Commodity Packaging. That was the first company to produce a machine that would automatically package bread in polyethylene bags instead of the conventional method of automatically wrapping the bread with wax paper. This new product revolutionized the industry and I could only thank Floyd Paxton for my success. Therefore, I made a vow to return the favor to others whenever it was possible.
For 40 years I have been trying to fulfill that vow by helping train many employees or giving them an opportunity to learn at Irwin Research in machine design, CAD (computer aided design), CAM (computer aided machining), electronics, machine control software and other related skills. Training employees, watching them reach their full potential, and then seeing them become the reason for our company’s success, has been my biggest joy.