MADISON, Wis. – John Schwerin, vice president of international sales for Bell Laboratories, retired at the end of July after 27 years with the Madison-based rodenticide manufacturer.
“We wish John well and thank him for his contributions, commitment and friendship over the years,” said Bell president and CEO, Steve Levy.
A familiar face to many in the pest control industry, Schwerin was hired by Bell’s founder, Malcolm Stack, in March 1984 and has seen the company grow from a relatively small operation to world prominence today.
Schwerin originally joined Bell as a sales representative for the East Coast where he covered a territory that he describes as running “from Minneapolis to Memphis to Mobile to Miami to Maine…and eastern Canada.” After three and a half years, he briefly left Bell to work for a Dallas company, returning six months later as Bell’s regional marketing manager with sales responsibility. As Bell’s business grew, Schwerin’s role expanded to deal with new markets, whether it was in domestic professional sales, animal health or, most recently, international sales.
For years, he managed Bell’s domestic and Canadian sales teams, opening new territories where he saw potential growth. “As sales increased, the number of sales reps grew, from two of us originally, to three, then four and now we have 11 domestic and six international representatives, plus regional managers,” Schwerin said.
In 1999, with international sales taking off, Schwerin became director of corporate sales and marketing, managing Bell’s domestic and international sales for the professional, agricultural and retail markets. In making the appointment, Stack noted Schwerin’s keen understanding “of our strengths and the direction the company is going” and his ability to integrate the Bell philosophy into “a unified approach to sales and service throughout the world.”
Continuously engaged in product development, Schwerin witnessed many “firsts’ at Bell, including the first tamper-resistant PROTECTA bait station, extruded bait blox, and TRAPPER glue boards.
Throughout his career, Schwerin worked closely with Stack. “Not only was it a worthwhile working experience but a very good friendship,” Schwerin noted of Stack who passed away in 2006 at the age of 70.
“Malcolm had a vision for growth that included product development and design for what is needed in the industry as the industry changes,” Schwerin added. “Bell became the innovators with a level of trust and integrity that filtered through the industry due to leadership. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow within the organization and feel grateful I could contribute and see the success of the company.”
Schwerin lives in Madison with his wife, Terry, a flight attendant, and their two college-aged children.