Feb 10, 2011

“Santa Claus Hangs Up His Apron”

On February 4th Kent Bridges of Whirlpool Corporation in Greenville, Ohio officially retired (much to the chagrin of the Knox Machinery elves!!!)

 100_2508In addition to being a master tool maker and production wizard for Kitchen Aid, Kent is best known as a regular fixture (pun intended) at the Knox Machinery Christmas Open House every December.

Kent and his lovely wife Marilyn (“Mrs. Claus”) have assured us that Santa will still make time during his busy month to swing the reindeer over to Franklin, Ohio for the annual Knox Christmas Bash.

In parting, Greg Knox (who is never without an Irish toast) lifts a homebrew with the following heartfelt “sediments” for Kent;

“Merry Met, and Merry Part, I Drink to Thee With All My Heart”

Following are excerpts from an interview with Kent:

What year did you start @ Whirlpool?


What did you like best about your job / career?

I have always enjoyed making things, especially tooling that produced items that are used in everyday life. It has also been very rewarding to train apprentices in the trade and watch them grow in knowledge.

What are you gonna miss the most?

A lot of great people that I have worked with.

What are you gonna miss the least?

When you must get to work on those snow covered roads in the winter.

Where do you go from here?

Catch up on work that I have been putting off on the farm, some fishing and I will be doing some consulting/sales work from time to time.

What are you most looking forward to in your “retirement?”

Shutting off that 4:30 alarm clock!

What do you think about the future of American manufacturing?

I am concerned that manufacturing has been given a bad name in this country; bright minds are not encouraged to associate with manufacturing. If the 536 elected officials in Washington don’t wake up to the fact that the United States needs manufacturing jobs we will soon have no “value added” operations left. If everyone stands in a circle and does the laundry of the person next to him, no one makes any money. Manufacturing in this country is very resilient; it can bounce back if we can level the playing field and encourage manufacturing jobs. I am retiring from the LAST counter-top kitchen appliance manufacturing plant in the United States. We have worked hard to stay competitive in today’s economy, but if something should happen then we would become like the Passenger Pigeon, gone forever.

Any parting “words of wisdom”?

I just about used up my soap box on that last bit, but how about “Integrity” is doing what is right when no one is watching.

God bless you and all yours, Kent – you will be sorely missed!