This article was originally posted in HuffPost Business by Stacey Alcorn. Click here to read the full article.
There’s a good chance you know him as Cliff Clavin, the know-it-all postman onCheers. Or maybe you know him from his hit show Made In America on the Travel Channel where he showcased the people behind the products made in the USA. He has worked on feature films like Superman and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, as well as independent films like The Woodcarver. He’s also the only actor to voice a role in every Pixar film with such beloved characters as Mack the Truck and Hamm the Piggy Bank. John Ratzenberger has been listed as the 6th most successful actor of all time in terms of box office receipts and there’s no slowing him down. In addition to an average of 5 speeches a month, regular visits with Congressional leaders on issues that affect American manufacturers and another Pixar film release this summer, he’ll be launching 1-2 minute syndicated vignettes called “It’s a Little Known Fact” on radio stations nationwide starting this month.
Successful? No question.
Self-made? You bet. He started his acting career while working part-time as a carpenter to pay the bills.
Ambitious? Let’s just say that in between his acting, vocal talents, and screen writing, he is also an avid entrepreneur with his hands in several businesses. Ambitious is an understatement.
Passionate? Without a doubt. And that’s what brings us to today and this article.John Ratzenberger loves acting, writing, and entrepreneurship. But his absolute passion is America. He’s a fascinating person to talk to, rich with knowledge of history and how things work. He could talk for hours about the infrastructure of America and how highways, tunnels, and cities were meticulously built during a time when the only manpower was true man power; the blood, sweat, and tears of laborers. Ratzenberger is an aficionado of learning, a connoisseur of understanding the mechanics of how things work, and an advocate for re-introducing trade, mechanics, shop, and carpentry skills back into schools so that we can truly marry human talent and skill to today’s innovative society in order to create a better America. He says that he hopes his legacy, when people fall upon his name one hundred years from now, is not that he was Cliff from Cheers, or Mack the Truck in a Pixar film, but that he was that guy who advocated for empowering individuals to leave America better than it was found. Here are John Ratzenberger’s four simple strategies for putting the most powerful brand in the world back into the hands of the people to make Made in the USA mean something again: