Kent State hosts 54th Bowman Breakfast


Tom Wilke introduces the 54th annual Bowman Breakfast speakers: Dan Jackson, Lawrence Rentz and Kristina Lonon. The event was held in the Student Center Ballroom on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. This year’s speakers discussed their local Kent businesses creating a global impact.

Danielle Johnson

The 54th semi-annual Bowman Breakfast continued an ongoing discussion about the local and global impact many Kent businesses can have on the economy Wednesday morning.

This year, the breakfast focused not only on the impact these businesses have, but also the relationship between the city of Kent and Kent State, or “town and gown.”

“When (the city of Kent and Kent State) are functioning well, both sides win,” said Todd Diacon, Kent State senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Both sides are functioning well and both sides are winning.”

The featured speakers for the event included representatives of Kent-based companies: Dan Jackson, accounting controller and human resources and information technology manager at Seal Master; Kristina Lonon, account manager at ELBEX Corp.; and Lawrence Rentz, vice president and general manager of Maag Americas, Maag Automatik Inc.

The speakers discussed the history, process, purpose and international impact behind the businesses they work for.

Seal Master has customers in 32 different countries, including Canada, Mexico and Germany.

“We are the global leader in reinforced inflatable rubber,” Jackson said.

When asked how these Kent businesses successfully reach out to different countries, Jackson replied, “The web is very powerful.”

ELBEX Corp. ships its products to countries such as England, Poland and Dubai.

“Do I think it would be cheaper for these places to get their material from China? Yeah, I do,” Lonon said. “Some have taken their business to China because shipping cost is cheaper, but they always come back because our quality is so good.”

Lonon addressed what factors are important when working with customers outside of the United States.

“You need to be familiar with how to properly address the customer, along with the holidays and time zone differences,” Lonon said.

Maag Automatik Inc. has a strong presence in Shanghai, China and Thailand, but Rentz also expressed the importance of focusing on the Kent community, as well.

“We are here to support the community and for your success,” Rentz said. “We’d like to work with the university and grow our talent.”

Although these businesses have customers all over the world, their representatives have expressed the understanding and importance of focusing on the city and the university.

“My son goes to school here, and from four years ago until now, the relationship has changed and improved so much,” said Diane Tuner, a teller at the Portage Community Bank in Kent. “It is just amazing.”

Danielle Johnson is the jobs reporter, contact her at [email protected].