Eric Birns has been immersed in the development of subsea and nuclear power technology since he was a teenager, and started working with his family at BIRNS, Inc. in 1975. He became President and CEO of the company in 1987, and took what was then a modest but well respected design and manufacturing firm and upgraded its systems and procedures to position it as a true industry innovator, and exponentially increased productivity and growth in sales. He embodies the axiom that pushing the perceived limits of high performance is the path to personal and professional achievement—and that is equally reflected in his company’s ongoing commitment to contribute to the technological growth of its highly specialized industries.
While at the helm, he created the BIRNS connector division in 1990, and subsequently managed the development of a wide range of ground-breaking new products that have set the benchmark for high performance solutions. The long list includes the world’s first deep-submergence 575W HMI light made entirely of titanium and producing 49,000 lumens; a unique double-ferrule electro-hydraulic connector adapter system for use with underwater electrical oil-filled cables; a 100-amp underwater power connector for manned submarines; and high-performance 50Ω 5Km “Class A” GPS-frequency coaxial connectors, with polyethylene dielectrics, for use with military submarine antennae.
Birns also helped found the company’s Nuclear Lighting Division in 1980, developing specialty products built for the nuclear power industry that have resulted in BIRNS lights being used by more than 83% of the nuclear power stations in the U.S.; 54% of those in Western Europe; 75% of those in the Benelux countries; 50% of those in Scandinavia, and 25% of those in the Far East.
Birns has since lent his expertise to help develop state-of-the-art technology like new lines of high performance, affordable, standard hybrid electro-optical deep submergence underwater connectors, and the BIRNS “L” series, powerful LED lighting products for ROV, AUV and commercial diving usage. With a reputation for setting aggressive goals and systematically achieving them—he directed manufacturing enhancements that resulted in BIRNS, Inc. achieving ISO 9001:2008 certification in 2009, and launched a revolutionary new state-of-the-art hyberbaric testing program for ABS-approved penetrators and connectors that has recently made the company the only one in the industry capable of offering an all-inclusive price for ABS/DNV approval, along with radically reduced lead times for these custom products.
High performance is both what’s demanded of his company’s products, what he demands of his own management methodology, and what BIRNS has come to mean in the industry. Thus he’s taken a family business and grown it to become the trusted, long-term partner of major engineering programs and prime contractors—in fact, 2010 was the 50th anniversary of BIRNS’ ongoing service to the US Navy. Under his leadership, BIRNS, Inc. has become a major success story.
Birns holds a B.A. degree in Economics from University of California, Los Angeles.