MARTIN, Donald
Donald Martin was a retired USAF Colonel who flew 25 B-17 missions over Europe in WW2 and also became the Director of Research & Taxation for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) based in Washington DC. About 1970 several national commodity line wholesaler associations including electrical, plumbing, industrial, and heating/air conditioning were each establishing a system to identify the manufacturer/suppliers to their respective commodity lines. It soon became apparent that companies such as GE and 3M, which sold many products in each of those cited commodity lines, would have a different ID in each. Thus the NAW established the Distribution Number Bank (DNB) and all of the commodity line affiliated associations submitted their supplier lists and agreed to accept a 5-digit DNB manufacturer number. Don Martin headed the project. In 1971, the National Association of Wholesale Grocers told NAW and DNB that it was participating in an ad-hoc organization seeking to develop not only a grocery supplier/product code structure but also a machine-readable symbol; and it was looking for an administrator. DNB submitted a proposal and was chosen over D&B and S&P. The verbal similarity between DNB and D&B resulted in a name change to Distribution Codes, Inc (DCI). Don recruited and headed the administrative group supporting the 1973 decision of the UPC symbol-selection committee. Over the following five years, this team was the staff behind the UPC Symbol Technical Advisory Committee and its sub-committees (headed by AIDC-100 members Fran Beck and Dick Mindlin). STAC formulated the initial Guidelines and Specifications on symbol film masters, symbol printing and verification, symbol placement and orientation on the retail product, plus the many variations in product numbering standards. All of these are today taken for granted; but were then pioneer efforts in uncharted waters. Dons DCI team published a monthly 8-page Newsletter that was the bible for those who believed in the UPC and its ultimate success, in spite of an article in Business Week about the The Symbol that Failed. Outside of the UPC work, DCI developed the specifications for the ITF 14-digit Shipping Container Code and Symbol that was ultimately adopted by the UCC. The administration and implementation of the UPC until 1978 under his guidance was a critical stepping-stone to the acceptance of barcoding and thus the success of AIDC as we know it today. Don passed away in 2001; and for more information on his life, see: