Renewing American Leadership
As prepared by Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE
For delivery to the United States Military Academy at West Point
Distinguished Leader Series, Black and Gold Forum
December 9, 2009
Three West Point graduates from GE join me today. Dave
Ferguson, Class of 1990; Alonzo Ford, Class of 1998; and
Steve Mumm, Class of 2002.
Dave leads all of GE’s military recruiting. Dave served as a
Scout Platoon Leader, a Tank Platoon Leader, as a Battalion
Supply Officer, a Company Commander and as a Major, with
his last duty as a Battalion Executive Officer.
Alonzo has been with GE four years and served as an
armored cavalryman for seven. After being promoted to
Captain, Alonzo served in combat with 3rd Brigade, 3rd
Infantry Division in the initial attack on Baghdad in 2003.
Steve is now a project manager at GE’s Oil and Gas business
in Houston. Steve spent five years as a Combat Engineer
Officer and deployed to Tikrit, Iraq to support combat and
reconstruction efforts throughout the province.
Dave, Alonzo, Steve and all our other Academy graduates
learned something profound and rare in their education here
by the Hudson River. It is their commitment to the values of
Duty, Honor, and Country. And my point today is to tell you:
it’s something every person in the United States – from
business and from government – can learn from.
A recent Gallup poll asked Americans: “Who do you admire?”
It will please you to know that the military finished first, with
a 77 percent approval rating. Conversely, big business and
congress received approval from only 20 percent of our
fellow citizens. People have lost faith in many big institutions.
We sit in a very unique moment in the history of our country.
We are at war. I know that the President was here last week
to commit more troops to Afghanistan. Please know that you
have the respect and prayers of a grateful nation.
At the same time, there is economic and social unrest inside
our country. Unemployment is at 10%; we have endured
the worst financial crisis since 1940