His new employer was General Corrugated Machinery Co., in New Jersey, selling box making and packaging machinery in western USA, western Canada, and Mexico.
John and two partners started Action Box Co., in Houston, Texas
He started a custom packaging company Tucson container (TCC) and Kino Packaging in an airplane hanger.
John resigned from General Corrugated Machine Co. as western regional manager, to devote full time to building his enterprises.
California Box Co. was created in April 1984, by Ed St. Hilaire and John Widera. The sheet plant operated out of a leased 60,000 sq. ft. facility in Pico Rivera CA. It sold custom corrugated boxes, pads, and displays to brokers and distributors.
Took legal action against INS immigration agentson 4 suprise visits and won. Story was covered by the L.A. Times with a follow-up story in 1987.
Cal Box II was started in Rancho Cucamonga (located near Ontario International Airport).
After buying out his partner, John relocated Cal Box to its present 180,000 sq. ft. facility in Santa Fe Springs CA.
CalBox Group designed, built, and moved into an 110,000 sq. ft. facility on 7 acres next to a Rancho Cucamonga golf course. An architecturally modern facility with state-of-the art automated machinery, it is one of the finest sheet plants in California.
West Texas Container (WTC) started operating in a 35,000 sq. ft. building leased near Mexico's border in El Paso, Texas. Why? There was a need for quality printing and J.I.T. (Just In Time).
John Widera was chosen by Boxboard Containers-International, as one of fifty 20th century leaders in the box industry – with only two independent box makers being from the west coast.
Tucson Container moved into its new modern 150,000 sq. ft. building on 18 acres, near the Tucson airport. It manufactures corrugated boxes & displays, foam, and wood crating and is also a distributor for packaging supplies.
Our sheet feeder, CB Sheets, opened operations with the purchase of a new 98” computerized fast setup corrugator. A 25,000 sq. ft. addition was built for conveyors moving sheets from the corrugator to converting machinery and shipping.
West Texas Container moved into its own 85,000 sq. ft. facility, located on 8 acres. It is about 5 minutes from the border crossing from El Paso to Juarez, Mexico.
Replaced old machinery and technology at all four plants with state-of-the-art converting machinery. Financing came from CalBox Group. Result: Quality products, with minimal debt to suceed in the most competitive corrugated and folding carton market in U.S.A.
Action Box, Houston TX, built a new building and installed a corrugator. Sales are $40 million annually.
CalBox Group purchased a 150,000 sq. ft. industial building on 8 acres in Mesa (Phoenix) AZ, and installed a new $9,000,000 corrugator, plus $4,000,000 in anciliary equipment.
John resigned as president, but remaines as Chairman of the Board. His son, Chris Widera, is named CEO of Cal Box Co. and Cal Box II.
Chris Widera became CEO of all five corrugated facilities of the CalBox Group.
After 40 years, John Widera sold his stock and part ownership of Action Box, Houston TX, a corrugator plant, to Hood, a paper mill. He received $15 million (before taxes).
Purchased $4 million in upgrade machinery. Purchased 16,000 sq.ft. building in Mesa AZ., as usual, with cash.
Bought for CalBox ll, a new mini Emba FFG for $2-million and moved another Emba mini flexo-folder-gluer to ACC.
Purchased $5-million of computorized converting machines for ACC and CalBox l. John Widera published his 6th book "Swimming With Corporate Sharks in a Crisis "