John Engler is president of the Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations with a combined workforce of more than 13 million workers and nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues.
A former three-term governor of Michigan, Mr. Engler most recently was the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest industry trade group in America representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.
As NAM president, Mr. Engler was a leading advocate for the nearly 12 million Americans employed directly in manufacturing, educating the public and policymakers on issues that affect this critical sector of the U.S. economy. He promoted a broad-based agenda for maintaining U.S. competitiveness by lifting unnecessary burdens on manufacturing: excessive taxation and regulation, the high cost of health care, expensive litigation and soaring energy costs. Under his leadership, the NAM helped win adoption of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2005 and actively promotes other beneficial trade agreements. In 2005, he was named vice chairman of the president’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the U.S. government’s senior trade advisory panel. U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez appointed Mr. Engler to serve on the Deemed Export Advisory Committee in August 2006, reviewing technology transfer policies to promote U.S. competitiveness while ensuring national security.
While at NAM, Mr. Engler also focused on competitiveness through innovation, focusing on research and development, implementation of information technology – including in the area of health care – intellectual property rights, visas for skilled foreign workers and education and training.
Mr. Engler sees the looming shortage of skilled manufacturing employees as a growing threat to American competitiveness in the 21st century’s high-tech global economy. He is a member of the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, formed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, to chart a course for U.S. education and workforce.
As governor, he signed 32 tax cuts into law – saving Michigan taxpayers some $32 billion – and helped create more than 800,000 new jobs during his tenure, taking Michigan’s unemployment rate to a record low. The top priority of his administration was improving education, with a focus on high standards, equity and accountability.
Prior to becoming Michigan’s 46th governor in 1991, Mr. Engler had served for 20 years in the Michigan legislature, including seven years as state Senate majority leader. Elected in 1970, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives. In 1990, he became the first sitting legislator elected Michigan governor in more than 100 years.
Mr. Engler serves on the boards of Delta Airlines, Universal Forest Products, the Wolf Trap Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a past chairman of the National Governors’ Association. Born in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in 1948, he graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of science in agricultural economics. Later, he earned a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. He and his wife, Michelle, are parents of triplet daughters born in 1994 – Margaret, Hannah and Madeleine.