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Out of the Box Thinking to Riding the Waves
John West grew up in Chicago, and had a love of boats and everything mechanical, even as a young boy. He went to his first boat show at the age of nine, and shortly thereafter built his own small boat with a motor, based on some of the magazines he often read. Although he dealt with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), he earned a football scholarship to a college in Wisconsin. While there, he discovered his love of all things business.
John enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1967, landing in Vietnam as a platoon commander with hundreds of soldiers under his command. He was shot twice while there, ending his military life in San Diego on light duty. While there, he once again gravitated to the water, learning how to surf, excelling in the sport.
John returned to Chicago, working for a company that made supplies for numerically-controlled machines. He took sales from $400,000 to the $5-million level and produced a magazine for numerically-controlled machine companies, paying for it via sponsorships. He envisioned how computers could improve the tape industry, so he created a computer prototype to display at industry trade shows. Soon afterwards, he created Numeridex, taking the company from $4 million to $28 million.
John was one of the first people to pioneer the concept for computer workstations, learning all he could about CAD/CAM hardware and software for designing products, finally fulfilling his vision through his company, Cimlinc, with Boeing as one of its largest clients, who eventually purchased the company.
Water sports called John back, so he bought a lake house in Wisconsin. After retiring, he moved to Wisconsin permanently, and then decided to invent a product surrounding water sports. He took his experience and know-how, and developed a jet ski that would allow for easier storage and transport. BomBoard, a compact, self-assembled jet ski was the result of his creative out-of-the-box way of thinking.
Over the years, John has supported several causes, with his focus on Vietnam veterans, as well as those defending our freedom following 9/11. Some BomBoard sales will go towards the Wounded Warrior Project, and he is strongly committed to hiring veterans.
John believes it’s never too late to try new things, because it keeps you young and going strong. He believes if you keep using your mind and body, they will not atrophy, and he is a perfect example of that belief, still going strong at the age of 70.