John grew up in a typical Amish family nestled in the heartland of Ohio’s Amish country. As he was surrounded by a family of craftsmen extending back nine generations, it is no surprise that John became one of the most sought-after artisans of the area, but his early life did not exactly follow the “traditional” path of his fellow Amish siblings. At the age of 24, John made the choice to leave the Amish lifestyle and spread his wings outside the Amish community. He studied engineering and pursued a career working design and manufacturing engineering positions with Simonds Cutting Tools, Chrysler Corporation, and Bihler of America, Inc.
After successful stints with other manufacturing companies, John founded SUPERB Industries, with his brother in a two-car garage. John was still employed with other manufacturing companies, but the desire to create SUPERB was powerful. The duo had a deeply-embedded vision to make a difference in the manufacturing arena. John recalls this time vividly because he was committed to the notion that creating a company that would solve real world problems better, deliver goods on time at an equitable price, and treat employees well, would make a superb difference in the manufacturing arena.
Growing up in the Amish culture, John’s communication skills were underdeveloped and could have limited his opportunities. Instead of letting this define him, he realized the value of education. He took the opportunity to improve his skills and obtained a liberal arts degree with a heavy emphasis on public speaking and written communication. This combination was the perfect addition to his well-developed technical skills.
In 1993, he received a Bachelor of Arts from Ambassador University and took a management position with a related non-profit organization in Bonn, Germany, where he applied his newly acquired communications skills. BottomUp Management, as it was then called, was a focus of study during John’s Masters of Arts in Organizational Management degree that he received from the University of Phoenix in 2006.
It was in Germany that the genesis for what would later become the BottomUp Organizational Ecosystem occurred.
In 1995, John became involved fulltime in the still fledgling SUPERB organization. In 1997, he moved his family back to Ohio and accepted the position of president. In 2000, SUPERB moved to its present location in Sugarcreek, Ohio with six employees. Today the global manufacturing company employs more than 75 people and has been awarded additional contracts that will grow the company by an additional 50 people in the next three years. Additionally, SUPERB has formed a business alliance with a European partner to support operations, develop new technologies, and support technologies in the United States and Europe. In late 2014, SUPERB was awarded a multi-million dollar contract over larger organizations because of SUPERB’s culture and technical expertise.
John’s immediate family owns two companies with a combined employment of 125. Over half of these employees were hired during the Great Recession of 2008 to 2012. Combined revenue in 2014 was nearly $16 million, generated from the production of 130,000,000-engineered components—and the organizational tree continues to grow and strengthen. Over half of these manufactured components were shipped competitively to low-cost countries like Mexico and China. SUPERB has been ranked among the top 100 fastest growing U.S. manufacturers for three consecutive years by INC Magazine. All of this success started with a man who grew up driving a horse and buggy and living the plain lifestyle in the United States’ largest Amish community.