The following is a transcript of the remarks of NAM Board Chair and Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling, introducing NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons at the 42nd Annual Bryce Harlow Foundation Awards Dinner:
Thank you for the nice introduction. It is my honor to officially introduce Jay at this event.
Now, I suspect each of you by now have a flavor of what Jay is like and, importantly, why he’s being honored tonight even before the video, which gave you a slight glimpse of how well-respected he is.
I believe most of you know Jay and his astounding record of achievement. Many of you know, for instance, that Jay honed his sharp political instincts doing the hard work in a couple of vital and I’m sure very educational roles. He served, for example, as a communications adviser for the Republican National Party and chief of staff for the U.S. House of Representatives and chief of staff to George Allen when he was Virginia governor and a U.S. senator. Immediately before he moved to the NAM, Jay was executive director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In addition, he served for more than four years as chairman of the Board for the Washington Humane Society.
All of that prepared him well for the NAM, which he joined in 2005 as an executive vice president and is currently the president and CEO of, a position he moved into in 2011.
You may know as well that Jay has been a real force of nature at the NAM. The NAM has more than doubled in size since he took over. Under his leadership, the NAM has expanded its issue advocacy and become the go-to place for U.S. manufacturers needing advocacy, legal assistance, help with operational excellence, and workforce development. Under his direction, the organization created the NAM Legal Center, acquired the Manufacturing Leadership Council, and launched the Creators Wanted campaign to help manufacturers attract urgently needed skilled workers.
All of that is on his resume or on the internet. And all of that is common knowledge, and it gives you a flavor, a small sampling of Jay’s background and accomplishments.
But if you want to really truly understand the depth of the respect that his peers have for him and why he’s being so honored tonight, you have to dig a little bit deeper, and there are three things in particular I’d like to point out. I’m sure many of you know Jay in your way, but I’ve been lucky enough to see him in action, both in the boardroom and in the field.
And there are three key attributes that I want to call your attention to that I believe make Jay a worthy honoree this evening.
First is his energy and enthusiasm. You can have experience, you can have the pedigree, and you can have the education. But one of the things I keep learning from Jay is there’s simply no substitute for passion.
If anyone here is looking for a model of what a professional advocate is in today’s environment, I encourage you to go to a Creators Wanted event and watch Jay in action. I’ve been with him for a number of these, and we have one coming up soon here in Louisiana, and I can tell you his passion and hard work never stops in every sense of the word.
Jay is passionate about his mission and everything that drives that mission, the people that he works with, his commitment to inclusion, his moral compass, his dedication to American manufacturing and its workers. And you see it and you feel it when you work with him. That kind of passion is contagious, and it lifts everyone around him to work just a little bit harder.
The second item that doesn’t naturally jump off the page is how deeply Jay feels about manufacturing. It’s not what you might call paper-deep when it comes to manufacturing. He’s family deep when it comes to manufacturing.
Jay was born in Ohio to a family in manufacturing. He got to see first-hand the real promises and the struggles of manufacturing. He understands it at the working level in a way that few do. And it’s given him a strong principles-based leadership perspective.
When you hear Jay explain the NAM’s four pillars that support our policy: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity … You see and understand that he comes at this not solely from an academic position, but one born out of real experience. He understands in his bones that these are real issues and they impact people’s lives in a real and tangible way.
Finally, one of the things I admire about Jay the most and one of the things that holds him apart from so many in Washington these days is that he understands the NAM’s success is tied to a consistent focus on policy, not politics, not personality, not process but policy.
In a post-partisan world, this is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. Jay has a reputation of working honestly and earnestly with Democrats, Republicans and Independents and he earned that reputation because fundamentally he’s committed to policy solutions that create a win-win, not only for both political parties, but also for American manufacturers and American workers.
He’s a staunch defender of democracy, both at home and abroad. He’s an ardent and unabashed supporter for diversity, equity and inclusion. He’s ethical down to his bones.
He’s the prototype for how to conduct public policy because he understands that it’s not just what you achieve but how you achieve it.
To his immediate family here tonight … Rick, Catherine, Ellie and Jacob to his mother, Mickie, to his in-laws who joined us this evening, Marty and Jerry Olson: Thank you for sharing Jay with us. I know that you’re proud of him. Know that we too are proud of Jay and we’re glad that he’s such a continuing bright light in Washington.
I can’t think of anyone more deserving for this honor, the Bryce Harlow Award, than my colleague and my friend Jay Timmons.