On the Shoulders of Giants

A Dramatic Display Can Pave the Way

Jack Newall, a man with passion, a man with dedication, and a man with the drive to make a difference in the coffee industry. For 55 plus years, Newall watched the industry evolve and change. He has been deemed a “giant” in our industry for his hard work and expertise in process engineering. Processing systems, roasters, and plant design has all been revolutionized with Newall’s help. Here is his story…

From the Beginning
Newall was born in 1934, and he grew up in Massachusetts. Furthering his education, he attended the University of Massachusetts in 1952, looking to obtain a degree in engineering. Newall left the University of Massachusetts his junior year to be part of a team at Datamatic Corporation, Newton, MA. This team was responsible for engineering, fabricating, and testing a prototype three-inch tape drive for the Datamatic 1000 Computer, a joint venture by Raytheon and Honeywell.

After three years he returned to the University of Massachusetts and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, class of 1959.

How it All Started
During college, Newall started dating the daughter of the president of Jabez Burns & Sons, Inc., which is located in Manhattan. While the love fell apart, her father offered Newall a job at his company. He accepted the offer, and his life would change forever.

“It all just fascinates me,” Newall said.

At Jabez Burns & Sons, Inc., Newall underwent general training, including process system flow, design layout, automation, estimating, sales, installation, start-up, and troubleshooting. In 1962, the company opened a sales office in Atlanta. Newall then gained the title of “Sales Engineer.”

Newall was responsible for all sales in the southeastern states including preliminary plant and system engineering, estimating, and proposal work. The company at the time designed and manufactured processing equipment and systems for coffee, tea, chocolate, and nuts.

From 1964 to 1972, Newall was the Sales Manager for Blaw Knox Food and Chemical Equipment Co. Inc., in Buffalo, New York. He was responsible for equipment sales of Jabez Burns and B.F. Gump Divisions, a subsidiary manufacturer of feeding, screening, grinding, and packaging equipment. Newall was accountable for determining sales goals, advertising programs, and coordination and profitability of 17 in-house and regional sales engineers.

Moving On Up!
From 1973 to 1981, Newall moved up in the company. His nametag now read “Senior Sales Engineer.” He was liable for all Burns’ export marketing programs (excluding Europe). It was here where he established sales agencies in Mexico City, Caracas, Bogota, and San Juan. He increased export sales by 400 percent!

Newall later established effective sales programs in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan when he became a Division Manager. He coordinated and completed a $950,000 new product development, including significant, personal design concept contributions. He was at this position until 1997. Total responsibility for Burns’ profit center rested on his shoulders, this includes long range planning and forecasting, marketing, sales, advertising, and interfacing with all engineering, production, and accounting functions.

Probat Burns Inc.
In 1998, the company became Probat Burns Inc. Newall stayed with the company and is a Senior Key Account Manager. His main focus is on the Burns product line, as well as aiding and supporting in Probat processes and engineering.

“Still working at the age of 80 shows just how much I enjoy the coffee family,” Newall explains.

“I tell them I’m retiring at the end of the workday Friday, and then I show up to work on Monday morning,” he continued.

Newall has a love for the coffee community. He explained how relationships go far beyond just relationships, some people become like family. He urged other sales people to develop relationships with customers on more than just one level.

Coffee Remains an Art Form
While talking with Mr. Newall, something he said really stood out to me. He said, “Coffee remains an art, no matter how much science goes into it.” He explains that Probat supplies the industry with the tools and science to do just that, create art.

He compares a coffee professional to an artist, “We don’t want to give them oil-based paints if they want do a water color painting.”

The industry is quality-conscious and that is reflected in the entire coffee process. Newall says, “We are in this industry to make money, but so is everyone else on the supply chain. It takes two to tango!”

In Conclusion
Jack Newall has been a giant in the coffee industry with his expertise being in process engineering and sales. Clocking in decades of workdays shows just how much the industry means to him. He has forever made an impact on the way plant design effects the functions and processes of the coffee world.

Suggested Reading