News & Insights

Press Releases

Manufacturers Mourn Passing of Former Association Leader Dirk Van Dongen

Washington, D.C. – Following the passing of Dirk Van Dongen, the former CEO of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Dirk Van Dongen was a Washington legend. For nearly half a century, he led the NAW to be a powerful convener of the business community, advocating for policies that made manufacturing in America more competitive in a global economy. But he was far more than the leader of a single association. He was revered as a respected dean of the association CEO community. I feel enormously grateful to have considered him a mentor and friend and to have received a few coveted invitations to join him at his table at his favorite D.C. bistro, Equinox.

“Dirk believed wholeheartedly in the power of free enterprise to make life better for everyone. He fought for sound tax policy and many shared priorities to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturing, as part of a larger mission to grow our industry and the U.S. economy. His ability to work with both sides of the aisle and get things done distinguished him as a business leader. Over and over again, Dirk proved why associations are indispensable voices in our society.

“Dirk’s best life lesson that he imparted effortlessly was to be honest, direct, upfront and authentic. You never had to wonder where Dirk stood or what he believed was the right course of action.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Maryann, and his daughters Rachel and Marisa during this difficult time.”


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

View More