John Reed enjoyed a successful career that has spanned 75 years, many of these years as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Mestek, Inc. in Westfield, Mass., which consists of more than 30 operating companies involved in the HVAC, Metal Forming & Fabricating and Coiled Metal Processing Industries.
John began his career with the H. B. Smith Company after graduating from Williston Academy in 1933 and Yale University in 1937. At Williston, John was a member of the Cum Laude Society and was involved with The Willistonian and glee club. He played basketball, squash, and tennis.
While working for H.B Smith Co., John earned his law degree in 1942 from the School of Law at Northeastern University, attending class at night. By 1946, he had advanced to the position of national sales manager for Smith, at which time his entrepreneurial spirit was manifested when he started the Sterling Radiator Company. Sterling Radiator continued to grow during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, both internally and through the careful acquisition of other companies, such as those dealing with climate control, the Peterson Roll Feed Co., and the Cooper-Weymouth press feed company.
In 1975, Reed National was formed to administratively consolidate these companies. More growth and acquisitions followed, and in 1986 Reed National merged with Mestek Inc., a public corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Starting with the merged Cooper-Weymouth, Peterson Co., Mr. Reed expanded his HVAC-based company by creating Formtek, Inc., the nation’s largest machine-building group for the forming, fabrication, coiled metal processing and HVAC industries. Formtek is a group of long-established companies, each with a well-known name and a history of providing innovative and reliable equipment. It was John’s business strategy to pursue growth, but not for its own sake—only when it made sense for business.
The development of business and of the people in it is what kept John coming into the office every day. He was like the coach of the organization, helping groom his staff for greater things in the future. In the pursuit of his business success, John freely shared his expertise in order to benefit the industry as a whole. Long active in the Hydronics Institute and the Better Heating/Cooling Council, he has been chairman of HI twice and the first chairman of the BHCC.
John supported national manufacturing associations by membership of his companies, encouraging his employees to participate as active Directors on Association Boards, to participate in association technical councils and committees, association shows and technical conference speaking.
A man who rarely sought the limelight, John was active in many community activities, doing, as he humbly noted, ”what one does.” Perhaps his greatest source of satisfaction was helping in the development of tomorrow’s industry leaders.
John was also very involved with Williston Academy, and later the Williston Northampton School. He started by working for the Williston Second Century Campaign in 1946, which helped to build the Memorial Dormitory on campus.
He then served as a member of Williston’s Board of Trustees from 1965 to 1978 and was deeply involved in the merger with the Northampton School for Girls, particularly as Chairman of the Prudential Committee during the interim period when the school had no headmaster.
John was part of the Head Search Committee in 1972, received the Samuel & Emily Williston Award in 1978, and was named to the Board of Trustees again from 1988 to 1991.
A generous donation from John allowed Williston to renovate a former gymnasium and turn it into an art and student center. The building was named in his honor in 1996. He also gave generously to the new Athletics Center, the Grubbs Faculty Chair, and the John E. Reed Endowment Fund.
In 1998, John was honored with the school’s Distinguished Service Award. A year later, he was voted the status of Williston Northampton Trustee Emeritus, and gave the address at the Cum Laude Society induction ceremony.
Recognizing John’s years of generosity to the school, he was named to the Silver Cup Society in 2006.
Visiting hours will be Wednesday, May 15th, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Firtion-Adams Funeral Service 76 Broad St., Westfield. Mass. with a funeral Service Thursday, May 16th at 11:00 am at the First Congregational Church, 18 Broad St. Westfield, Mass. Burial will be at the Pine Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers Mr. Reed requested donations be made to the following charities:
Search Dog Foundation 501 E. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 93023 888-459-4376
Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Boys and Girls Club, Westfield MA 413-562-2307
Westfield Animal Shelter or Humane Society 178 Apremont Way., Westfield, MA
Obituary courtesy of Firtion Adams Funeral Service.