The Grassroots Corner October 23, 2020

  • by:
  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 04/09/2021

This is the first in hopefully a series of presentations about FAIRtax warriors who are still with us but, due to health or other reasons, are no longer able to be active. One such warrior is John Collet of Leawood, Kansas. Here with me to talk about John is FAIRtax President and Chairman, Steve Hayes.

Jim Bennett: Steve, welcome.

Steve Hayes: Thank you, Jim. I’m glad to be here.

Jim Bennett: Steve, who first introduced you to John?

Steve Hayes: John was introduced to me in 1996 by Leo Linbeck, one of the principal founders of AFFT.

Jim Bennett: So, how did Leo and John meet?

Steve Hayes: Leo and John were good friends who had met when they were both members of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).  To be a member of YPO, you had to be under 45, the president or chairman and chief executive officer of a corporation with a minimum number of employees and minimum annual revenues.

John had served as president of YPO and knew many business leaders who built very successful businesses.   Since John had run successful companies and really understood how the FAIRtax would unleash businesses and benefit everyone, he promoted the FAIRtax all around the country.

Jim Bennett: How did you get to know John?

Steve Hayes: I really got to know John when he and I made several road trips across the mid-west promoting the FAIRtax.  We drove for hours and talked about everything.

Jim Bennett: What impressed you most about John?

Steve Hayes: John loved his family and told me all about them and their achievements. We spoke at different venues from hotel meeting rooms to senior centers.  We shared the presentations and John was always both witty and articulate.

Jim Bennett: Did Leo Linbeck, before he passed away, express any wish to you and John?

Steve Hayes: Yes, before Leo passed away, he expressed to John and me his desire that the FAIRtax continue under the leadership of grassroots leaders.

Jim Bennett: Tell us about the meeting in Houston.

Steve Hayes: Leo Linbeck III, Leo’s son, called a meeting in 2014 in Houston, and grassroots leaders from around the country paid their travel costs and came. At this meeting, it was agreed that we would have a transition committee that would work out all of the details of how the new AFFT was going to operate. John was there and John worked tirelessly to help ensure that the transfer of Americans For Fair Taxation to a board of governors elected by the states went smoothly.

Jim Bennett: What role did John play in the new grassroots organization of AFFT?

Steve Hayes: John was on the original board of delegates and served on the AFFT board as an active member for a number of years.

Jim Bennett: Is John still on the Board of Directors or Delegates?

Steve Hayes: Because of health problems, John, who is now 87, has had to leave the AFFT board of directors and also the board of delegates but he continues to provide help and assistance as he can.

Jim Bennett: What is your message to FAIRtax supporters about John?

Steve Hayes: All FAIRtax supporters owe John a debt of gratitude.  He stood up before it was popular and is still standing firm in his support for the FAIRtax.

Jim: Thank you, Steve Hayes, for sharing with us your insights into one of our most distinguished FAIRtax warriors, John Collet.

Here is some more information about John.

John is a native of Missouri. He earned a BS degree from the University of Missouri, and an MBA from Harvard University. He is married to his wife JoAnn. John’s time is divided among relationships with companies of friends, the golf course, duck hunting, the trout stream and Bible studies.

John retired from a variety of business interests. He was the Chairman of Collet Ventures (a private venture capital investment company) and Chairman and President of Rupert Manufacturing Company (a manufacturer of lighting and electrical equipment for the automotive OEM and aftermarket – subsequently sold to the Masco Corporation).

Some past financial involvements include a directorship and stockholder of Sigma Chapman Co. (a producer of petrochemical processing plants for the U.S. and foreign markets), Weld Wheel Company (a manufacturer of specialty automotive wheels and accessories), Newell Coach Company (a manufacturer of top-end custom motor homes), and Omnipure, Inc. (a manufacturer of patented water purification equipment).

Past business directorships include Price Candy Company, Grand Avenue Bank (United Missouri Bank) First Federal Savings & Loan, and the Kiger Company.

John has a lengthy string of past civic and government activities: Past International President, Young President’s Organization (Past International President), Past Chairman (appointed by President Ford and re-appointed by President Carter), President’s Commission for Executive Exchange – Past Chairman, Past Director, Kansas City Civic Council, Past Trustee, Midwest Research Institute, Past Director, Midwest Research Institute Ventures, Past Chair, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Past Board Member, Salvation Army, Past Consultant, U S Department of Transportation, Past Director, Center for Business Innovation, Past Member of Central Governing Board, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Past Trustee, Drury College, Past Trustee, Public School Retirement System of Kansas City, Past Trustee, Ottawa University, and finally Past Advisory Council, Nature Conservancy.

Yours In the FAIRtax Movement!

Jim Bennett
AFFT Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary


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