Birko Celebrates Its 65th Year in Business As a Family-Owned Company

Birko founders Florence and Ward Smith
Birko founders Ward and Florence Smith

According to Forbes, family-owned businesses generate roughly 50% of our gross national product, and only 13% only make it through their third generation.

As Birko celebrates its 65-year anniversary today, we beat these odds and continue to thrive. My grandparents, Ward and Florence Smith, built this company in their garage, blending cleaning chemicals to address their customers’ pain points. They formulated chemistry specifically to handle the most challenging cleaning environment possible: beef slaughter facilities. Today, we have over 400 formulations that support many environments such as produce, brewery and all proteins. Through our keen understanding of companies’ food safety needs, we’ve also developed an industry-leading equipment and service division specifically to support food plant operations.

Sixty five years ago, food safety was much different than today. And the way food is grown, shipped, processed and prepared is significantly different. So, why has Birko beat the odds and remained in business this long? We’ve successfully evolved with the times simply by listening and working side by side with our customers.

We don’t take short cuts and most importantly when you work for Birko, you are part of the Birko Family. You have a name and voice; you are not just a number.

My greatest role model was my grandmother and I apply her wisdom every day as the third-generation owner of Birko. When she ran Birko, she often quoted Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” I know this message continues to live on within the foundation and culture of Birko today.

With DNA like this, Birko is bound for success!



Kelly GreenKelly Green, president and third-generation owner, Birko, can be reached at [email protected] or (303) 289-1090.