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John McDermott

Sector Chair Human Powered Craft, Chicago Harbor Safety Committee

As Director for the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee and Sector Chairman for the Human Powered Watercraft since 2020, John serves in a fully volunteer capacity to build a closer bond between Commercial and Tug & Barge traffic and his Sector’s Rowing Clubs, Kayak Tour Operators, Canoists, Outrigger Canoes and Dragon Boat paddling organizations. With an estimated 200,000 paddlers on the Chicago River during the congested Summer period, the attention on safety is exceptionally demanding.

John is a senior member of the leadership team and Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications for Yale Cordage - Slingmax Rigging Solutions manufacturing. He oversees all aspects of Corporate Communications, Commercial Execution and Product Management where the company's products serve the Tug & Barge - Inland Waterways, Electric Utility, Off-Shore Wind, Safety in Arboriculture and Department of Defense (Bath Iron Works and Norfolk Naval ShipYards) locations. 

While at Thermo Fisher Scientific, John led the $100M Safety Specialist organization as Director, Fisher Healthcare Distribution business. His expertise in General Industry safety, safety products and laboratory safety uniquely qualified him to support safety practices in labs during COVID-19’s endemic.

As Senior Consultant for Productive Strategies, Inc. John’s workshop on “Reconnect Disconnected Disciplines within Sales & Marketing” improves sales and internal communications for businesses of all sizes.

John led Brady Corporation’s Workplace Safety Division (NYSE: BRC) as Director of Marketing where he was part of the turn-around leadership team responsible for reversing nearly a decade of sales erosion by using sound brand architecture, curating technical safety content for web, digital, social, and print medias, sales training on safety regulations and applicable product applications as well as sales process management for two expanding sectors - contractors and manufacturing.

While at W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE: GWW), John served with distinction for over eleven years holding various positions including serving as Sr. Director, Customer Segments leading the business’ segment, product and pricing strategic development activities designed to bring transportation, distribution and other target customers Maintenance, Repair and Operating products; Director Strategic Marketing department, where he honed aligning Marketing campaigns with the Sales Department’s processes; Senior Strategy & Go-to-Market Manager for Grainger Safety Solutions and Service programs growing sales from $560M to $1.1B over six year period by aligning sales and marketing activities to create greater impact in the market. He completed his QSSP (Qualified Safety Sales Professional) examination and OSHA-30 General Industry training in 2012-13 while in senior leadership for their safety group and initiatives.

While at Nicor, Inc (NYSE: GAS) Commercial & Industrial business division, John was the Senior Manager on the leadership team responsible for go-to-market campaigns, market planning, and program development activities for one of the nation’s largest natural gas energy distribution companies. He earned his Masters in Business Administration in 2003 from Keller Graduate School of Management while working there.

John began his career in sales of manufactured calendared plastics, commonly known as “simulated woodgrains” as North American Market Manager at Forbo-Commercial Plastics (SWX: FORN SW), after graduating from Drexel University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management.

In his spare time, John is a father to twin adult children, spouse to his wife Kathy for almost 34 years, founder, Chief Safety Officer, and former Head Coach of GCDBC (Greater Chicago Dragon Boat 

Club) a 501(c)3 registered non-for-profit organization supporting community organizations by enabling human-powered water sport activity to spread the healthy benefits and lifestyles from dragon boat racing. John’s wife is a Guinness World Record holder for most kilometers continuously paddled in relay in 24 hours. John is a member of the United States Dragon Boat Federation (USDBF) Team USA. He is the second steersperson in the USA beginning his steering in 1984 in Philadelphia.

About Yale Cordage - Slingmax Rigging Solutions (Private): Yale Cordage began in 1950 with a belief in how synthetic material and high quality braiding techniques could transform the cordage industry. Our continued commitment is to remain grounded in this objective - to provide innovative end-user solutions through superior approaches to the design, manufacturing, and fabrication of synthetic rope and rope systems. Slingmax Rigging Solutions was acquired by Yale Cordage in April 2023 and is recognized worldwide for local service, quality and innovative solutions for the heavy lift and material handling market. Currently, Slingmax holds over 50-patents and 100 trademarks worldwide, which include Check-Fast® inspection and Rifled Cover® Technology. Best known for our Twin-Path® roundsling, but we have numeros other patented rigging solutions including machinery, rigging hardware and electronic warning indicators.

About Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO): Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. is the world leader in servicing science, with annual revenues over $40 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, increasing productivity in the laboratories, improving patient health through diagnostics or the development and manufacture of life-changing therapies, we are here to support them.

About Brady Corporation (NYSE: BRC): Brady Corporation is a world leader in complete identification solutions that help companies improve productivity, performance, safety and security. As a manufacturer of products for identifying components used in workplaces. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Brady employs 6,600 people in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Brady Corporation was founded as W.H. Brady Co. in Eau Claire, Wis., in 1914 by William H. Brady.

About W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW): W.W. Grainger, Inc, with 2018 sales of $11.4 billion is the leading broad line supplier of facilities maintenance products serving businesses and institutions in Canada, China, Mexico and the United States. Through a highly integrated network including more than 600 branches, 18 distribution centers, and multiple Web sites, Grainger's employees help customers get the job done. Grainger shares are traded on the New York and Chicago stock exchanges. Grainger is positioned to deliver attractive growth as the leading provider of indirect materials solutions to businesses, building on its reputation for integrity, unparalleled service, innovation, partnerships, and technology leadership.

About Nicor Inc (NYSE: GAS): Nicor, Inc. has been part of the fabric of the communities in northern Illinois and the Chicago suburbs for five decades. The corporation's largest subsidiary, Nicor Gas, was founded in 1954 as Northern Illinois Gas and today is one of the largest natural gas distribution companies in the country, serving more than two million customers in 641 communities.

About Forbo (SWX: FORN SW): As a global leader in flooring, bonding and movement systems, Forbo is in many cases an interface with daily life. Our business is about connecting materials, perfecting surfaces and the transport of goods. The materials that make everyday objects, and the surfaces people move around on and which move people and goods where they need to be.

John McDermott
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