Born and raised in Chicago, Jeanette Bradley always knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the business world. Little did she know that she would make her mark in the moldmaking industry after 30 years of tireless efforts to raise awareness about industry issues through her work with the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA)—a trade organization serving U.S. mold builders. As she settles into retirement, here is a look back on her remarkable career.
She attended Northern Illinois University (Dekalb, IL)—graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. After working at a legal firm for one year and spending three years at IBM, she decided to leave the working world and devote her time to raising her children.
That all changed in 1977. What started out as a small favor for her husband Olav Bradley, co-owner of PM Mold Company (Schaumburg, IL)—a manufacturer of prototype and high cavitation molds in predominately the electronics and automotive industries—would become her new career and her passion. “Olav came to me and asked me if I could help write a letter for a group of mold shops,” Bradley recalls. “That was my first assignment with a group that became known as the AMBA. I discovered that AMBA needed someone to organize and handle the daily affairs of this young association. And so it started—first out of my home and then several other offices—before we settled in the location that the AMBA currently occupies in Roselle.”
An Ambitious Undertaking
“To watch an association expand its membership from 35 to its highest at 450 over the years was truly a remarkable experience,” Bradley notes. “There was never a dull day, and each day held different opportunities. It was amazing to watch as other mold shops in other states wanted to become affiliated with the AMBA. The association currently has 11 chapters plus non-chapter members in various states.”
Embracing Your Career
According to Bradley, her position as Executive Director was never a job. “It was a passion that I thrived on each day,” she enthuses. “The changes in the industry over the years—especially the recent global issues—offered a challenge to every member. Shops had to learn to work smarter, not harder. The AMBA offered opportunities and information to all its members to help compete.
“The most important message I can give to others is to love your work,” she continues. “I have stated many times that I always had a pin on my desk that said ‘I love my job.’ Courtesy to others, a positive attitude, and a smiling face go a long way.”
Bradley retired from the AMBA this past June, but does serve as Senior Advisor to help the organization transi-tion into its new leadership. In addition to this, she is facing a challenge of a more personal nature. “Some of the people in the industry know that I have been ill for the past year with a condition known as Myelodysplasia,” Bradley says. “I am currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant. All thoughts and prayers will be appreciated during this difficult, but encouraging, time.”
Moldmaking is better because of the service Bradley has given to the AMBA and the industry as a whole. AMBA President Chris Jones says that finding someone to fill Bradley’s shoes is impossible. “The best that we can do is to try to find good leadership that can help us move to the next level and help us be all we can be as we strive to serve our many member companies in this great industry,” Jones comments.
“I will cherish every memory I have of life with the AMBA for many years to come,” Bradley says. “It was a wild ride and I am thankful I was privileged to be a part of it.”