Tribute to Jim Wolfe

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: Jan. 28, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

TRIBUTE TO JIM WOLFE

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise today to honor a true business leader and long-time friend in my State of Delaware, Jim Wolfe. Many of us in public office talk about creating good-paying jobs and fighting for the middle class, Jim Wolfe has lived those goals throughout his professional career.

For the past 11 years, Jim Wolfe has led the Chrysler, now the DiamlerChrysler Automobile Assembly Plant in Newark, DE. Tomorrow, he is hanging up his hat as plant manager to take the helm as president and CEO of the 2,800-member Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

As plant manager of Delaware's DiamlerChrysler plant, which is home to the popular, award-winning Dodge Durango, Jim orchestrated a dozen overhauls of the facility to retool it for new car models. More significantly, he oversaw the re-training of thousands of workers to upgrade their skills.

The DiamlerChrysler plant in Delaware is one of only a few U.S. auto facilities remaining on the East Coast. It is an economic engine in Delaware, employing more than 2,300 people and contributing $363 million annually to our State's economy. The financial domino effect goes even further: one auto worker creates another 1.6 jobs in other industries, such as transportation, retail services, and labor.

Jim Wolfe is no stranger to the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. For the past year he has served as Chairman of the Chamber's independent Board of Directors. He is a long-time member of the Chamber's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, as well as serving as Chairman of the Delaware Manufacturing Association.

On a personal note, Jim has been a great and trusted friend and advisor to me for many years. I have visited with him and his workers at the Newark DiamlerChrysler Plant more times than I can count, and he always gave it to me straight. When the facility was in jeopardy of closing in the early 1990s, he counseled me on how to help save this manufacturing gem for our State, which we accomplished.

Jim is a 40-year employee of Chrysler. We stole him from his native Michigan, but he and his wife Laura are now part of the Delaware family.

Jim's stature in the business community has been earned and is well-deserved. He will bring a hands-on knowledge of the business world to his new position directing the Chamber's many affiliates, including the Manufacturing Association, the Delaware Retail Council, The Public Policy Institute, and the Small Business Alliance.

DiamlerChrysler's loss is truly the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce's gain. But we all win because we'll continue to benefit from Jim's affable personality, skilled business acumen and foresight as a community leader in Delaware.