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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Honored as MEMA’s 2015 Industry Champion

Date: April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was honored today by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) as the 2015 recipient of the Joseph M. Magliochetti Industry Champion Award, a special recognition given to elected officials who have shown outstanding leadership on behalf of motor vehicle component suppliers.

“Senator McConnell exemplifies the spirit of the MEMA Industry Champion Award, which was created to recognize and honor public officials who demonstrate extraordinary leadership on behalf of U.S. automotive and heavy duty suppliers,” said Steve Handschuh, president and chief executive officer of MEMA. “He has worked actively on legislation to benefit the supplier industry, and MEMA is pleased to recognize his efforts with this award, which carries great significance within our industry.”

McConnell’s efforts on behalf of the supplier industry have included his support of tax reform, including ongoing efforts to make the Research & Development Tax Credit permanent; Trade Promotion Authority and trade agreements; modernized U.S transportation and infrastructure system; workforce development initiatives; and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) for trademarks, brands and patents. 

“Senator McConnell’s efforts to quickly advance and pass the bi-partisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act were invaluable, and his support for patent reform legislation helped streamline the patent approval process and provide for more patent protections,” Handschuh elaborated. “His support for Waterway and Port modernization and continued highway and transportation funding is critical for our members to compete in the U.S. and abroad.”

The Industry Champion Award is presented in the memory of Joseph M. Magliochetti, a former MEMA chairman who also served as the chairman and CEO of Dana Corp. until his death in 2003. He was widely recognized as a leader and a visionary in the supplier industry, and his tenure as MEMA’s chairman left a legacy of advocacy and outreach on behalf of motor vehicle suppliers. This annual award recognizes a member of the House or the Senate who has worked diligently on behalf of parts manufacturers in the United States.

In addition to the award presentation to McConnell, the 2015 MEMA Legislative Summit included: 

  • Keynote address by Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, former chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association and former chairman of the Republican National Committee

  • A panel discussion of manufacturing competitiveness and regulatory reform featuring George Allen, former governor and U.S. senator from Virginia, and Blanche Lincoln, former U.S. representative and U.S. senator from Arkansas

  • “Ask NHTSA” panel discussion with senior officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Daniel Smith, senior associate administrator for vehicle safety; Nat Beuse, associate administrator for research; and Ryan Posten, associate administrator for rulemaking

  • Discussion of “The Impact of Advanced and Emerging Technologies on Our Industry and Where it Will Take Us,” with moderator Bill Kozyra, chairman, CEO and president of TI Automotive, and panelists: Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Rich Ferguson, senior vice president, aftermarket & soft products, Volvo Truck Group; Jeremy McClain, engineering manager, Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.; and Ronald Muetzel, technical support systems manager, ZF Services LLC

  • An address by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) at the reception on April 15

  • A breakfast discussion with Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on April 16

About MEMA

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) represents more than 1,000 companies that manufacture components and systems for use in motor vehicles and equipment in the light vehicle and heavy-duty, on- and off-highway commercial vehicle markets for the original equipment and aftermarket industries. Motor vehicle component manufacturers are the nation’s largest manufacturing sector with a total employment impact of 3.62 million employees – for every direct job in the motor vehicle supplier industry, another five jobs are created. MEMA represents its members through four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA). For more information on the motor vehicle component supplier industry, visit

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