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Embracing Positive Change Leads to Success at Gentex Corporation


Leveraging a 125-year history of product development and manufacturing innovation, quality, and performance, Gentex Corporation is dedicated to improving personal protection and situational awareness for global defense forces, emergency responders and industrial personnel operating in high performance environments. The company’s product portfolio includes helmet system platforms and capability upgrades sold under the Gentex, Ops-Core, ALPHA, Argus, Aegisound and Cromwell brands; PureFlo industrial respiratory protection systems; Dual Mirror OEM aluminized fabrics; and Filtron OEM light management technology. Privately held, Gentex supports its global customers through a worldwide distributor network and facilities in Carbondale, PA (headquarters); Boston, MA; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Manchester, NH; Letchworth Garden City, Herts, U.K. (European Headquarters); and Stranraer, Scotland.

Gentex Corporation’s products have been used to protect American servicemen and women dating as far back as WWI and WWII. During WWI, Gentex Corporation was known as a silk fiber manufacturer that also produced silk cartridge bags and high-performance textiles. During WWII, the company aided in the war effort by manufacturing parachutes for the U.S. military. In fact, it became the country’s largest manufacturer of high payload parachutes. The company manufactured its first hard shell helmet using its textile composite technology in 1948.

As the years passed, Gentex Corporation started producing aircrew respiratory products and has become the global leader in their manufacture. Additionally, Gentex Corporation’s product line has grown to include the following: military helmet microphones, ballistic protection products, laser eye protection products, chemical and biological protective fabrics, military vehicle intercom systems, advanced helmet vision systems, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) masks, integrated ground helmet systems and hearing protection products.

The Challenge

Gentex Corporation needed to ensure that its front-line leaders could drive and sustain improvements to the manufacturing process among operators and technicians on the plant floor.

We have worked with NEPIRC for many years and consider them a valuable resource. I would absolutely recommend them to other local businesses.
— Todd Smith, HR Manager

MEP's Role

NEPIRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP and the MEP National Network™, proposed to provide one two-hour Change Management coaching session for production employees participating in the “Built-in Quality” initiative. During this engagement, participants were coached to embrace positive change and develop skills so that they could act as effective agents to implement new initiatives devised by Gentex Corporation’s Manufacturing Improvement Team. Participants also learned about adverse reactions to change, as well as strategies and methods that would help them overcome change resistance from subordinates.

Created July 16, 2021