On October 18, the inaugural CEO Champion of the Year event in New York City honored Fortune 300 Air Products’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer John McGlade. The celebration was: “Amazing.” “Successful.” ”A whole new level for this association.” And, “This was the launch of a new national annual event for SkillsUSA to show the value of career and technical education.”
Over 300 national and international corporate executives, community leaders and CTE students and their teachers attended the reception and dinner in the Waldorf=Astoria Grand Ballroom. They were there to honor John McGlade and Air Products’ support for career and technical education and SkillsUSA. As reported in the Allentown, Pa. Morning Call: “John McGlade . . . [who] studied civil engineering at what the school district then called its vocational-technical school – was honored Monday as one of the programs’ chief national boosters . . . He credits technical education with giving him a leg up on his career.”
“Our association with SkillsUSA is one of the most important partnerships we can have as a corporation for a number of reasons,” said McGlade. “It helps drive career and technical education in the United States. It mirrors our values around community involvement, particularly in education, and the importance of integrity, safety and environmental stewardship in the workplace. And it provides us access to top-quality technical talent for our plants and operations around the globe. Working side by side with SkillsUSA students in high school and college really allows companies like Air Products to develop the talent and traits we desire most for our own needs and for the good of our society,” McGlade said.
Senator Michael B. Enzi, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions wrote in part: “You are receiving this award because you have been leading the best way – by example. Because of your achievements, you are now able to provide the assurance that students of all ages need – that there will be opportunities for them to pursue that will lead them to careers that will be both challenging and rewarding.”
Also honoring McGlade with remarks during the evening: Tony Pedregon, NHRA World Funny Car Champion; Bob Black, vice president of Morris Black &Sons; Greg Rintala, Snap-on Industrial and chair of the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation; Keanna Mosley, a SkillsUSA gold medalist and now Air Products employee in Texas who tied together the value of SkillsUSA experience and her career; and, Karen Ward, state association director of SkillsUSA Massachusetts and the Massachusetts state officers. Diane Donaher of Bethlehem, Pa. was master of ceremonies. The fabulous Herald Trumpeters and Bagpipe Corps of the Liberty High School Grenadier Band – McGlade’s alma mater in Bethlehem, Pa. — began the festivities with a trumpet fanfare and a bagpipe and drum parade into the ballroom.
Under McGlade’s leadership, Air Products has integrated support for SkillsUSA. Air Product employees serve as technical committee members and judges for the SkillsUSA Championships, on task forces and boards of directors for state and local chapters and on the Youth Development Foundation and national board of directors. The company provides financial support for SkillsUSA programs and initiatives such the Alumni & Friends Association.
Named among the sponsors for the event: ArvinMeritor; Automotive Service Excellence; Bartha; Bosch; Capital Blue Cross; CareerSafe; Carhartt, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; eGroup; Embassy Bank; intelitek; Irwin Tools; JPMorganChase; Kansas City Convention & Visortors Bureau; the Lehigh Valley Council: Lehigh Valley Health Network; the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs; Lehigh University; MacKenzie Partners, Inc.;Mercury Publishing;The Mundy Companies; PPL; Perella Weinberg Partners; Sard Verbinnen & Co.; Snap-on; St. Louis Carpenters District Council; St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network; and, Toyota.
In his remarks, McGlade challenged SkillsUSA and the corporations represented in the ballroom to find the next CEO Champion of the Year so SkillsUSA’s network will continue to grow serving students and the nation. Proceeds from the dinner – in excess of $300,000 – will be used to support mission-related activities such as the Alumni & Friends Association.
A native of Bethlehem, Pa., McGlade took classes in civil engineering technology at the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School during his sophomore, junior and senior years. He is a graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, where he earned a B.S. degree in industrial engineering in 1976 and an M.B.A. in 1980. McGlade joined Air Products in 1976 in the company’s Career Development Program and held increasingly responsible management positions. He became president and chief operating officer in 2007 and was named chairman of the board in 2008.
The ceremony was streamed live via the Internet. A highlight video with be posted on the SkillsUSA Web site soon. To see photos of the event and to see the printed program journal under downloads please go to http://www.skillsusa.org/supporters/ceochampion.shtml.
Congratulations and thanks go to Laurie Gostley-Hackett, Corporate Relations for Air Products and her team and to Chris Powell, senior development officer at SkillsUSA and his team for their leadership of the event.