Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha has taken extraordinary risks for his country and his fellow soldiers, exemplifying the best of the modern military character. Drawing on his lauded service as a sergeant in the War in Afghanistan, Romesha emphasizes how the capacity for leadership and bravery resides within every one of us. Following the Keynote, West Michigan Family Business Leaders will participate in an open forum to share their insights on assuming leadership in difficult times.
Clinton Romesha is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant noted for his heroic actions during the Battle of Kamdesh, a key moment during the War in Afghanistan. On October 3, 2009, Sergeant Romesha took quick and selfless action while under aggressive fire from the Taliban. Despite taking shrapnel wounds to his neck, shoulders, and arms, he carried out a counterattack that not only eliminated Taliban machine guns, but allowed for wounded soldiers to be taken to an aid station. Throughout the 12-hour battle, Romesha told himself he was merely doing what any soldier would have done for his comrades; everyone else, however, saw him as a hero.
Romesha’s valor and humility have been widely celebrated. In 2013 he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama, making him the fourth living recipient of the honor for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the same year, he was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. Since receiving these accolades, Romesha has carried his Medal of Honor with him wherever he goes – not out of pride, but as a constant reminder that within every single person lies the same qualities responsible for Romesha’s own heroic actions.
His 2016 memoir, Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, was immediately recognized as an instant classic. It is not only admired for providing a clear-eyed account of one of the most crucial battles in recent military history, but also as a powerful account of how one person, committed to doing the right thing, can make a bigger difference than they ever imagined. Romesha revisited the story of the battle that made him a hero in the Netflix original series, Medal of Honor.
As a speaker, Romesha not only reminds audiences of the power of ordinary people have for extraordinary bravery but remains deeply committed to telling the stories of the soldiers who served with him, both living and gone. Romesha forges a connection between his audience and soldiers around the world, telling the stories of those who remain unrecognized, and who continue to make tough, brave choices in the service of others.
ADAC Automotive is a global, tier-one automotive electronics, exterior trim, mirror and door handle supplier that provides design, development, and manufacturing services to the automotive industry. ADAC employs more than 1,200 people in six manufacturing locations across West Michigan, and is a member of the Vehicle Access Systems Technology (VAST) alliance.
Peter serves as EVP and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of ADAC Automotive. He serves on the VAST LLC, the VAST China and the Minda-VAST (India) Board of Directors. He has served ADAC for over 20 years, holding leadership positions in sales, engineering, R&D, administration, and operations.
Being a strong advocate for manufacturing, Peter is a member of the West Michigan Manufacturer’s Council of The Right Place and has served as Chairperson. Peter has been a member of the Family Business Alliance, served as a facilitator for their “NextGen” program, and has been a guest lecturer for family business classes at GVSU. Peter supports the communities where ADAC operates through events involving Kid’s Food Basket, the Muskegon Promise, and the economic outreach of The Right Place.
Kevin Bassett is CEO of Spectrum Industries, Inc., a family-owned business located in Grand Rapids, MI. Founded by Jay Bassett in 1978, Spectrum specializes in providing protective metal coatings and decorative finishes for the automotive and industrial industries.
Kevin joined the family business in 1987 and, in 2004, with his brother Keith, successfully transitioned the family business to second generation leadership with the brothers working alongside one another, yet overseeing distinctive operating divisions of the company. Keith’s untimely passing in 2013 was difficult, both personally and professionally, for Kevin, his family, and the employees of Spectrum. Since that time, Kevin has led both divisions and continues to identify ways to honor Keith within the Spectrum community, including the establishment of an employee scholarship fund in partnership with Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College.
In 2021, Kevin moved into the role of CEO of Spectrum with the on-boarding of a President to oversee the daily operations of the organization and to provide mentorship to the third generation of Bassetts that have now entered the business. In his CEO role, Kevin is responsible for working with the Board of Directors and Spectrum leadership to set the strategic direction of the organization, increasing visibility and profitability, and developing new partnerships to facilitate the growth of the organization.
A graduate of the School of Engineering at Western Michigan University, Kevin is a member of the Young Presidents’ Gold Organization, with prior service as a member of the Board of Directors and Membership Officer. He is a member of the Family Business Alliance and participates in forum activities, including service as a group moderator. A founding member of the non-profit organization, “The Source”, Kevin works with other business leaders to create positive work and home environments for Grand Rapids workers. Kevin is also a member of Talent 2025 West Michigan, an initiative comprised of 100 CEOs working to position West Michigan as a top 20 employment region by year 2025.