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Our Founder

Jack T. Gentry was a visionary, a mentor, and a leader.  He worked aggressively to give manufacturers a voice in their community and government. He was the driving force in creating the Springfield Area Manufacturers Association (SAMA), founded in 1993, the region's first manufacturer's association, and then served as its president.

The association's mission and Jack Gentry's aim is to represent the economic, political, educational, and social interests of Missouri 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 Missouri.

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 manufacturing companies encompassing the entire state of Missouri. The Missouri Association of Manufacturers has the distinction of being the only statewide organization with a membership comprised solely of Missouri Manufacturers.

More than two decades ago, Jack and the Missouri Association of Manufacturers (MAM) 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 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.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be a member of the Industry Sector Advisory Committee V for the purpose of establishing policy for imports and exports of electronic components.

  • Secretariat of International Electrotechnical Commission committee, which develops worldwide standards for electronic equipment.

  • United States Technical Advisor of Committees TC 48 and SC 48B:

    • Electromechanical components for electronic equipment to the International Electrotechnical Commission.

  • Chairman of the Rectangular Connector Committee for the Electronic Industries Association.

  • Member, President’s Council of the National Association of Manufacturers.

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