Manufacturer appoints first diversity officer


Joe Matthews. Courtesy Gentex Corporation

A diversified manufacturer in the region has named its first diversity officer.

Zeeland-based Gentex Corporation said this week it appointed Joe Matthews, VP of purchasing, to the role.

Matthews will also retain his purchasing position.

“We want to ensure that Gentex’s culture is supportive and welcoming to all, which is essential to becoming a world-class organization,” said Steve Downing, president and CEO, Gentex Corporation.

“The ideal environment is one in which every team member can be their best while making a positive impact corporately and in the lives of our employees and the community. Joe’s background and passions make him uniquely suited for this new role.”


Matthews will be responsible for the development and implementation of Gentex’s diversity, equity and inclusion, or DE&I, initiatives — in addition to his current duties in purchasing.

Matthews will also provide leadership to Gentex’s newly formalized DE&I Council, a group that is comprised of members from various levels and corporate functions throughout the organization.

The council’s primary role will be to help implement diversity programs, training courses and awareness initiatives throughout the organization, while supporting the human resources department in recruiting and community engagement.

It will also guide additional internal affinity groups, such as Women at Gentex, which “champions and supports” women in the workplace.

Matthews’ background

Matthews joined Gentex in 2010 as a purchasing manager. In 2013, he was promoted to purchasing director, with additional responsibilities for supply chain management.

He was promoted to VP of purchasing in 2014 and remains responsible for all direct and indirect material goods and services, as well as supplier diversity.

Prior to Gentex, Matthews held supply management roles at Delphi and Whirlpool. He also worked for Management Engineers (now PwC Strategy&), helping to expand its presence in the U.S.

He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as an M.B.A. and a master’s degree in engineering, industrial engineering and operations research from Cornell University.


Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (Nasdaq: GNTX) is a maker of automatic-dimming rear-view mirrors and electronics for the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for the aviation industry and fire-protection products for the fire industry.

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