CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has inducted eight industry veterans into its Hall of Honor at a recent induction ceremony for the Hall's inaugural class.
The initial class of honorees features inventors, engineers, and business leaders, including three past ALI board chairmen and its first president.
The honorees are:
- E.K. "Chic" and Anne Fox of The Parker Organization;
- F.G. "Rick" Heath of Heath and Associates;
- Curtis Joseph "Joe" Matthews Sr. of Rotary Lift;
- Jim "J.R." Williams of ETL Testing Labs;
- Gary Kennon of Vehicle Service Group;
- Jerome "Jerry" Lentz of Challenger Lifts; and
- Joseph L. "Joe" Gray of Gray Manufacturing Co..
"For more than 75 years, ALI and its members have watched over the automotive lift industry to help ensure operator safety," ALI President R.W. "Bob" O'Gorman said at the Hall of Honor ceremony, held Oct. 24 at ALI headquarters in Cortland. "The men and women we're honoring here today played crucial roles in the evolution of ALI, their companies, lift technology, and the industry," Gorman said. "On behalf of all lift operators, we thank them for their service and dedication."
Chic and Anne Fox dedicated 43 years to the ALI, guiding it through lean economic times and onto the path of redefining lift safety requirements. During their tenure, the ALI moved to a performance-based safety standard, developed requirements for third-party lift testing and certification, introduced the ALI Gold Certification Label, and created the first lift safety materials. Chic was ALI's original president from 1974 until 2005. He died in 2020.
Rick Heath was instrumental in every major ALI lift safety undertaking for more than 50 years, serving the ALI as a member, committee chair, board chair, and technical consultant. His significant contributions to the ALI Engineering Committee (later the Safety and Standards Technical Committee) included preparing the initial drafts of the three current ALI-sponsored lift safety standards ANSI/ALI ALCTV, ANSI/ALI ALOIM and ANSI/ALI ALIS. He also helped develop the ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program and served as a subject matter expert for the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program.
Joe Matthews had an unwavering dedication to automotive lift safety in North America. As Rotary Lift's representative to the ALI for more than 30 years, he managed the organization's technical matters and standards activities through the evolution from a national design standard to the introduction of the first lift safety performance standard in 1974. He died in 2022.
J.R. Williams was instrumental in the development of the ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program, the first and only accredited independent third-party lift testing and certification program in North America. He introduced key product safety requirements during the process, including electrical product listing, labeling, and testing by an OSHA-accredited nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL). He died in 2007.
Gary Kennon served on the ALI board of directors and many committees over 25 plus years of service. His vision of a modernized ALI representing a larger segment of the industry was instrumental to the launch of the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program and the development of the ALI Associate Class in 2013.
Jerry Lentz served the ALI for 26 years, including three terms as board chair. He provided a sound strategic and financial presence and unwavering support as ALI experienced significant growth and relocated twice under his leadership. He helped bring the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program to fruition.
Joe Gray, an inventor and mentor in the lift and jack industry, founded Gray Manufacturing in 1952. He was passionate about making the industry safer through product design, manufacturing, and ease-of-use innovations. He died earlier this year.
Founded in 1945, the ALI states its mission is to promote the safe design, construction, installation, service, inspection and use of automotive lifts. In 1947, the institute developed the first Commercial Standard covering vehicle lifts published by the National Bureau of Standards.
For a recap of the ALI Hall of Honor induction ceremony, including additional photos, see the ALI blog at autolift.org.