Dr. Roger Birkman is born in the tiny town of Mercedes, Texas where his father had taken his young family to serve as pastor of a German Lutheran church on the border of Texas and Mexico.
As a B-17 pilot, and later on instructor, for the U.S. Air Force in WWII, Dr. Birkman is shot down piloting a plane over Belgium. He escapes Nazi forces returns to the U.S. to embark on a pursuit to understand human behavior. Driven by his war-time experiences where individual differences in visual and interpersonal perceptions had a visible impact on pilot performance and learning, Dr. Birkman completes his Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston.
Dr. Birkman innovates the “Test of Social Comprehension” now known as The Birkman Method. He launches Birkman & Associates (now known as Birkman International, Inc.), to spread his unique methodology of assessing personality and social perceptions as a tool for real-world improvements through positive psychology.
Dr. Birkman completes his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas Austin. The Birkman Method leads the way as the first computerized personality information on an IBM 1401 mainframe. In 1965, Dr. Birkman meets Dr. Roy B. Mefferd, a talented statistician and pioneer in the space between psychology and physiology. Together, they establish new levels of prediction and accuracy with The Birkman Method and develop factor analysis to add a career dimension to the assessment. Mefferd serves as Birkman’s lead researcher, continuing a partnership into the 1990s.
Birkman moves to an IBM 4300 Group 1 mainframe to increase the volume and speed of scoring. By the mid-1970s, Birkman migrates to computer punch cards and tape, allowing for higher volumes of assessment processing and faster scoring. Around this time, a second important researcher joins the organization. Tim Sadler, Ph.D., a student of Mefferd’s, contributes significant product development, research, and research leadership until the early 2000s.
The 80s and 90s bring further scientific and technical evolutions to Birkman made possible by the use of PCs in the early 1980s and software in the 1990s. Implementing the Birkman Telecommunication system mainframe enables more immediate reporting results for consultants and clients, empowering Birkman and Associates to expand globally and become Birkman International in 1994.
Birkman Direct migrates to a web-based system for online assessment collection and reporting, improving the customer experience and business value for organizations implementing Birkman to optimize human capital.
In 2002, after 50 years as President and CEO, Dr. Roger Birkman appoints his elder daughter, Sharon Birkman Fink, as President and CEO to continue his vision.
Keeping the dream alive…
As a second generation Birkman, Sharon Birkman builds on 16+ years of service at Birkman International, continuing her role as CEO to provide leadership and vision for the business while spreading the message of human empowerment through positive psychology as a leading public figure in the business and nonprofit sectors.
Dr. Birkman’s granddaughter Amy Shepley carries forth the third generation of her grandfather’s work in product development and innovation, leveraging her education in business and psychology and the many influences of our founder to create a better future. She leads the Product Innovations team working hard to keep Birkman behavioral assessments at the forefront of the field.
Today, driven by the growth and success of Birkman customers, our company continues to expand our global impact and live out Dr. Birkman’s dream to empower individuals, teams, leaders, and communities worldwide.