Jim Browning is a hands-on type of guy. In 1960, he began his printing career as an assembly man building business forms presses for the Schriber Company. Browning soon began traveling, serving as a troubleshooter and installation technician. But after 17 years of being on the road, he was ready for the next step in his career.
Browning's background and entrepreneurial spirit motivated him to open his own forms manufacturing company, Forms Express, in 1980. His love of tinkering and drive to "make the impossible possible" led him to modify his standard equipment to produce many specialty products. This included a 44" long form for Reynolds & Reynolds, which consisted of four 91⁄2x11" images printed in a continuous format to make one of the first megaforms.
"When the idea of this unique format became a reality, I figured there had to be a market for something that [could] save the end-user's time, inventory and money ... hence, the birth of a new company: Megaform," Browning recalled.
After selling Forms Express in 1991, Browning kept the special equipment required to produce the long form. The only products the new company manufactured were forms that were too large for a conventional forms press to produce.
Browning's hard work paid off and 20 years later he serves as the president/owner of Vandalia, Ohio-based Megaform Computer Products, with his three children running the day-to-day operations.
Here, he shares his thoughts on the industry.
Print Professional (PP): Tell us about your background.
Jim Browning (JB): I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Randolph High School in 1957.
PP: What is your greatest business accomplishment?
JB: I think my greatest business accomplishment was building this company from the ground up. The ability to be able to draw upon my fundamental skills and knowledge that I acquired by starting with the basics. When building presses and troubleshooting, you learn the ins and outs of what your equipment is capable of and discover ways of pushing those limits by tweaking things in this way or that to open up a whole new market of what was once thought to not be possible. It has also been wonderful to build a company, and then be able to watch your children step in and become a part of it. It is nice to be able to take time away and know that the company is in the capable hands of my family. My son runs a press and manages production, and my daughters both work in the office.