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Public Statements

In Recognition of Jack T. Gentry

Location: Washington, DC

IN RECOGNITION OF JACK T. GENTRY -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 10, 2004)

Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a man who has distinguished himself in southwest Missouri by his commitment to improving our manufacturing sector and expanding our markets abroad. Jack T. Gentry of Springfield, MO, is a builder, creator, innovator, and motivator. He has worked aggressively to give manufacturers a voice in their community and government. Ten years ago, he was the driving force in creating the Springfield Area Manufacturers Association (SAMA), the region's first manufacturer's association, and then served as its president. In September 2002, SAMA broadened its focus to include 40 manufacturers throughout southwest Missouri, and the name was changed to the Southwest Area Manufacturers Association. Today the organization represents more than 60 manufacturing companies.

The association's mission and Jack Gentry's aim is to represent the economic, political, educational, and social interests of southwest Missouri area manufacturers and their employees, while promoting the betterment of the local economy and the environment, as well as the well being of the manufacturing industry in southwest Missouri.

Jack Gentry has always been ahead of manufacturing trends and issues. More than a decade ago, Jack and the Manufacturing Association began taking action on issues that are center stage in manufacturing today. With his leadership, the Association developed awareness programs about how to find, create, and train a literate labor force. The association contributed $37,000 to public schools for technology and provided career awareness opportunities for high school students by hosting plant tours, internships, and school-to-work initiatives. In 1993, Positronic Industries, Jack's company and a founding SAMA member, began working with the U.S. Department of Labor and Ozarks Technical Community College to develop company-paid apprenticeships in order to meet the need for a skilled workforce. To date, 128 employees have completed their training in nine areas and received Department of Labor certification.

The association also initiated discussion about the impact of taxes, workers' compensation, and health care costs on the manufacturing sector with government leaders. It was the first time in southwest Missouri that manufacturers spoke with a unified voice about their concerns.

Positronic Industries, founded by Jack in 1966, embodies his manufacturing philosophy-work smart, expand markets, keep ahead of trends, and deliver a reliable, dependable product. The bedrock of that philosophy is a workforce of skilled employees. Positronic employs 800 individuals worldwide manufacturing high performance, high reliability electronic connectors in ten facilities located throughout southwest Missouri, Puerto Rico, France, and Singapore.

In the face of adversity, Jack has demonstrated repeatedly both his commitment to his employees and his refusal to quit. When the Positonic plant in Rogersville, MO, was destroyed by fire in 1983, Jack promised to rebuild and put the 200 employees back to work quickly. He kept his promise. In 6 weeks, the plant was back in full production with full employment. In the two decades that followed, Jack's superior management skills enabled Positronic to flourish in an unpredictable economic environment.

At the same time, Jack gave his time and energy to benefit those following in his manufacturing legacy. During his service on several boards and agencies, he has offered the government invaluable advice on policy and practices. Over the course of his career, Jack has served as a Technical Advisor on Electromechanical Components for Electronic Equipment to the International Electrotechnical Commission, which sets worldwide standards for electronic equipment, and as the Secretariat of the International Electrotechnical Commission committee. In addition, he has been appointed to the Industry Sector Advisory Committee, which establishes policy for imports and exports for electronic components and was chairman of the Rectangular Connector Committee for the Electronic Industries.

Jack Gentry is a member of the President's Council of the National Association of Manufacturers and a strong advocate for American goods in the international market. He will be honored for his work and leadership by the Southwest Area Manufacturers Association on February 18, 2004, and awarded lifetime honorary membership in SAMA as President Emeritus.

These honors are a fitting tribute to Jack Gentry's untiring effort to advance manufacturing, expand markets and improve the economies of southwest Missouri and the United States.


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