Rockwell Collins CEO looks toward ‘very exciting’ future

Rockwell Collins CEO Clay Jones delivered a forward-thinking message about globalization at the third annual Presidential Lecture Series at Mount Mercy University on March 20. In his speech, “Globalization: The Good, the Bad, and the Undeniable,” Jones spoke of the competitive global economy and said in order to have a competitive edge it’s time for the country, the state, and the region to raise its standards.

Speaking to an audience of more than 300 students, faculty, staff, and community members, Jones said globalization has reallocated millions of people from poverty conditions. Yet new issues have developed as a result of the movement, including the loss of 2.8 million U.S. jobs, greater demand for natural resources, security threats, and increasing gas prices.

“The undeniable truth is that globalization is here to stay and we need to learn to live with that,” Jones said. “While the U.S. engages in a debate of outsourcing versus insourcing, the rest of the world is moving on.”

To help America adapt to the ever-changing economy, Jones acknowledged the importance of job creation. He noted the best way to attract business is promoting a strong, vigorous business climate. Jones suggested tax incentives as one way to help a business thrive in its environment.

“There are 4,500 Rockwell Collins engineers in Cedar Rapids because that tax credit makes it beneficial for us to add jobs right here,” Jones said.

He also addressed the critical need for an improved education system in the country. While the U.S. was once the leader of education in the 20th century, Jones said the science and math skills needed for advancement in science and technology fields are lacking in today’s youth. In his address, Jones acknowledged the steps Mount Mercy has taken in advancing the quality of education students receive by becoming a university, offering more opportunities and higher expectations.

The advantages of American leadership, according to Jones, is that the strengths like entrepreneurship, innovation, and risk-taking that helped make the country great will continue to keep it great. He said to succeed, the U.S., the state, and the Corridor must recognize the world will continue to change, and be adaptable, which will make something that was once great even better.

“Change is hard; it is the most difficult thing humans deal with in their lives and careers,” Jones said. “There is no organization in the world that has achieved success without adapting to change. It’s going to be uncomfortable, messy, risky, and very exciting.”

Jones was named the most influential person in the Corridor by The Corridor Business Journal in 2011 and has served as the leader of Rockwell Collins since 2002. Recognized as one of the top 50 companies for diversity by DiversityInc, Rockwell Collins was also recently named as one of the world’s most ethical companies for the third consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute.

Mount Mercy’s Presidential Lecture Series was established in 2009 to highlight key developments in society that relate to the mission and values of Mount Mercy University and the Sisters of Mercy. Each year a figure of public recognition is invited to Mount Mercy to deliver a keynote lecture of benefit to the entire campus and surrounding community.

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