By Beth Altena
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney chose a home-grown success story to promote his own promise of business and job growth. On Monday, February 27, on the eve of the presidential primary election, the Republican contender for the country’s highest office praised Norm Byrne and his vision of entrepreneurship during a grassroots rally at Byrne Electrical Specialists, 725 Byrne Industrial Drive, Rockford.
With national news cameras filming, Romney compared his own business experience with that of the local family, founded by Norm and Rosemary Byrne, and said he too is a person who understands what makes job growth happen. “Did Norm’s success make any of us less successful?” Romney asked a supportive crowd of hundreds. “No, his success has made others successful.”
Romney was introduced by Rockford State Representative Peter MacGregor, who also stressed his opinion of the importance of having a leader in Washington who understands the needs of small business.
Pat Lomonaco, spokes-person for the Byrne family, said it was certainly an honor to have a presidential frontrunner and governor visit the Byrne manufacturing and engineering facility. “It’s a true testament to their involvement at civic and community involvement. They do things quietly.”
Lomonaco said Romney’s choice of Byrne family facilities for the rally was “pretty impressive.” He said the family spent some time with Romney and guests prior to the rally and Romney really seemed to understand the business philosophy. During the rally both Romney and his wife talked about the Byrne family with enthusiasm. “He and the Byrnes seem to have the same values, putting people to work and helping community,” Lomonaco said.
Byrne Electrical Special-ists was founded in 1970 in the basement of Norm and Rosemary’s home. The company has become a leader in their industry over the past 40 years, holds over 100 patents and currently employs over 250 people in Rockford. Dan Byrne, Managing Director, said the company remains a privately held, entrepreneur-based company with the philosophy of being a local partner providing global value to its customers.
“We are extremely humbled and honored to have Governor Mitt Romney visit our company as he works toward victory in the Michigan Presidential Primary,” Dan Byrne said. “The recognition is a true testament to Norman and Rosemary and their focus on finding ways to continue to improve the West Michigan community and living its values in our everyday lives.”