At its 2010 Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution Executive Summit in Rosemont, Illinois, RSM McGladrey presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Ron Bullock, chairman of electric motor and gearmotor manufacturer, Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. In presenting the award, Karen Kurek, Managing Director of RSM McGladrey noted that "Ron Bullock exemplifies the ideal of the executive who serves both his business and his community, in equal and exemplary fashion. His leadership in the power transmission industry is equaled by his vision for the quality of secondary education."
"We are still the world's biggest manufacturing economy with 12 million highly productive workers-50 percent more productive than the next 11 leading manufacturing economies," said Bullock. "Manufacturing also accounts for one-half of all research and development in the United States."
In outlining Bullock's industry leader qualifications for the award, it was noted that he currently serves as chairman of Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. in St. Charles, Illinois, where he made significant strides in product innovation and market expansion after his acquisition of the company in 1987. In addition, Mr. Bullock has played a leadership role in numerous industry associations, having served on the Industry Advisory Council on Electric Motors at Underwriters Laboratories and as a past director of the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA). He was a founding member of SMMA, the Motors & Motion Association, as well as the Electric Motor Education & Research Foundation (EMERF). Bullock has served as vice chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the oldest and largest state manufacturer's organization in the United States. In addition, he is a director of NAM and vice chair of its think-tank, The Manufacturing Institute.
Addressing his community participation, Bullock related, "As a life-long learner, I benefited from a great public school education, but I'm discouraged by our current inability to provide the necessary skill sets for young people to qualify for entry level positions in today's high tech manufacturing. I've been engaged over the past several decades working with educators to improve the system. What really works is applied learning that students can use in their day to day lives."
As an example of his applied learning philosophy, Bullock and Bison Gear developed numerous pilot programs with high schools as a model of cooperation between industry and local school systems. In 2007, Bison Gear implemented its Skilled Workforce Initiative in cooperation with the College of DuPage, bringing manufacturing leaders, educational institutions, economic and workplace development organizations together to create a talent pool of better-qualified employees with plans to offer long-term stable employment.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recognized the Skilled Workforce Initiative by presenting Bison Gear its Business Leadership Award. Testimony Bullock delivered before the National Science Board on K-16 STEM education in 2005 led to an invitation to serve on NSB's Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In 2009, Bullock was appointed by the governor to the State of Illinois' P-20 Council to help align and improve education throughout the statewide system.
"Through the NAM Manufacturing Institute, we have developed a system of stackable, portable credentials that young people can obtain in secondary education, and qualify for highly paid manufacturing jobs at companies that will encourage their continuing education," Bullock said.
After relating the saying, "A dream is just a dream if you are dreaming it alone," Bullock thanked the audience and enlisted their support with the challenge, "I would ask all of you to join me as we effect meaningful change in our educational system by supporting IMA's Education Foundation and the NAM's Manufacturing Institute. Together, we can make those dreams come true!"