Liberty Intercept Blog

Our Packaging Colleague: John Murphy

Posted by Joe Spitz on Oct 23, 2012 11:52:00 AM

Joe Spitz and John Murphy of Liberty PackagingHe’s tall. In winter time, he wears a hat from his collection of Stetsons and his face, underneath these wide brimmed cowboy-style hats, looks like Gregory Peck.  He has a deep voice to accent his command of words and concepts. 

Years ago on our cold calls, the female receptionist (whatever age) would swoon and try to help him meet the right decision-maker. This was the John Murphy I first met as a young salesman tag-along when I first began“on the road”, business to business, sales back in the late seventies. I worked for a small general paper distributor and John owned the Murnell Wax Co. cleaning and floor wax chemical manufacturer that this distributor represented, so we worked together, much like a professor/student type of relationship.  

John was the 2nd generation owner of this family business and all through his school- boy and college years, John worked in the shop with his Dad. He loved and studied chemicals through his Boston University education and by studying all the trade data. His Dad’s Murnell Company had been a successful manufacturer of the school paste sold through J.L. Hammett to the school districts here in the Northeast of U.S. Perhaps as a kid you tasted this minty-smelling paste?  I never did myself, but would always place too much on the paper and my grade school projects had gobs of paste sticking out the sides. Elmer's Glue arrived into the market with a more convenient product and the school paste became obsolete.

So, John changed Murnell’s direction and its specialty became a cleaning product called Big Bite, a water based and soluble detergent.  “The Bite”, as we fondly referred to it, was sold as a tough heavy-duty cleaner that would make the hard jobs easier.  Most of the Bite sales were to janitorial departments but before it was fashionable, before it was government required, John and I would approach manufacturers about switching from the harsh solvent-type cleaners to water-based detergents for parts cleaning and degreasing.  We could always receive an appointment, at least to discuss the attributes of a water-based system to degrease, because it seemed all the plant managers knew the difficulties those nasty degreasing solvents presented to the environment and, most of all, to their fellow employees’ health and well being.

John was a pioneer in this area of expertise. John knew detergents. He knew how the water-based systems worked, what their strength and limitations were, and what would be needed for plants to implement a process change. Unfortunately, these were the seventies and eighties and the requirements to change were neither warranted nor enforced by environmental and safety legislation. We were arriving with this concept a bit before its time. The Bite sales for degreasing were to some conscientious companies, but were not the gold mine we both anticipated.

Over many years John Murphy has been a great friend, and a splendid teacher and mentor - we’re so grateful to have him as part of the Liberty Packaging team. If you’re in New England and wish to learn more about Intercept or make an appointment with John Murphy (see photo above - John is on the right), please contact us here: Liberty Packaging Contact.

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Intercept Technology Packaging products fit within a sustainability strategy because they are reusable, recyclable, do not contain or use volatile components (No VOCs, Not a VCI) and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional protective packaging products.  

Topics: American manufacturing, oil, detergents, manufacturing

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