Essex County Freeholders Honor Montclair’s Jeremiah Birkett


Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson presents Jeremiah W. Birkett of Montclair with his Commendation and award from the Board.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)
Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson presents Jeremiah W. Birkett of Montclair with his Commendation and award from the Board. (Photo by Glen Frieson)
Congratulations to Montclair resident Jeremiah Birkett who was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders during its Annual African-American History Month Celebration held on Wednesday, February 27th, in the lobby at the Hall of Records. The theme of the event was “Recognizing Excellence;” this year’s outstanding honorees, in addition to Mr. Birkett, were Henry Daniels of East Orange and Akbar Salaam and Nathaniel Drisker, Jr., of Newark.

Mr. Birkett was born and raised in Harlem, New York City, the youngest of 12 children. He attended Seward Park High School and then went on to study Mechanical Machine Design at the City College of New York, from which he earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Design. While attending CCNY, he worked for one of his brothers who was a mechanical engineer, and who had his own engineering company, Birkett Automation in Manhattan, one of the only African American-owned engineering companies at the time and the first company to design and manufacture automatic pen assembly machines for the ballpoint pen industry. This machinery, which is still being used to this day and requires only one operator to produce 15,000 ballpoint pens a day, replaced what was once an assembly line of five workers.

After working with his brother for at least 12 years, Mr. Birkett joined A&L Pen Company of Brooklyn, NY, one of the largest wholesale pen companies on the East Coast, where he was employed for 23 years as a General Plant Manager and Machine Designer. About six years ago, he started his own company, Birkett Pens and Promotions of Montclair, which has thrived as a direct result of his more than 30 years of experience in the industry and enjoys an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. Jeremiah Birkett is the proud father of Ronie, Jeremiah and Regene, and the loving grandfather of Ayanna.

Introducing her honoree, Freeholder President Watson said, “I am delighted to present my honoree, Mr. Jeremiah Birkett, a man whose intelligence and hard work have enabled him to be an innovative and very, very successful businessman, as well as a role model to aspiring young entrepreneurs in our community.”

Birkett thanked the freeholders saying, “Truly, this a very exciting experience for me, because this is the first time I have been honored for anything. It’s been a long journey, and I’ve done a lot never expecting anything, so this is very, very special. Thank you!”

The event was sponsored by Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson of Newark, Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley of Irvington, Freeholder Carol Y. Clark of East Orange, Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson of Newark and Freeholder Gerald W. Owens of South Orange. They were joined by their colleagues, Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold of Livingston and Freeholders Rolando Bobadilla of Newark, Brendan W. Gill of Montclair and Leonard M. Luciano of West Caldwell.

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