Presentation Ceremony for Mr. John Lina
Louisville (KY), le 7 juin 2012. Discours prononcé par le Consul général à l’occasion de la remise de décoration à M. John Lina.
Louisville (KY), June 7, 2012. Speech given by the Consul General on the occasion of the presentation ceremony for Mr. John Lina.
Dear Mr. John Lina,
Dear Ed Webb, Honorary Consul of France in Louisville and Kentucky,
Dear Family and Friends,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today in Louisville, a city historically bound to France, a city founded by George Rogers Clark, who was at one point an officer in the French Army. He named the city Louisville, to pay tribute to King Louis XVI of France who offered military and financial aide to young America during the time of the Revolution. French immigrants were instrumental in the progress of Louisville as a major shipping point on the Ohio River.
The French-American relationship remains deeply rooted in our common histories, cultural heritage and robust democratic values. From Yorktown to the beaches of Normandy, our two countries have always stood side by side to promote freedom and democracy, values they introduced to the world over 200 years ago. France and the US have today a unique relationship based on multifaceted cooperation, shared principles and mutual fascination. France continues to attract and intrigue American audiences as shown by the recent Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris” or the book “The Greater Journey” by American historian David McCullough. Half of the foreign movies presented in the US are Francophone, and 30% of books translated into English for Americans are of Francophone origin. French is the second most frequently taught world language in schools and universities in the U.S.
On the economic front, investment rather than trade is today the engine driving our bilateral relations. France is one of the top 4 largest foreign investors in the United States, with more than 4.000 French companies supporting 600.000 jobs. The US is France’s largest trading partner outside the EU as well as the first foreign investor in France, and the first destination of French investments abroad.
Dear Mr. Lina, I know you understand this language as a businessman.
It should now be clear that representing France in the US is a significant undertaking. I have the honor today to present John Lina, our former Honorary Consul with the medal of the National Order of Merit. It is an expression of the gratitude of the French government to Mr. Lina, who has served as honorary consul in Louisville from January 2000 to December 2009. I would like to commend the work done during his mandate and to recognize that John Lina has been instrumental in helping the French citizens of Kentucky, promoting links between France and various local authorities, institutions and businesses, and in representing France at official events and public functions. This is a demanding job as your successor Ed Webb could confirm, and as the term “honorary” denotes, Mr. Lina has voluntarily dedicated his time and energy to serving France. During those years, the French community of Kentucky has relied on his dedication and enthusiasm in successfully representing France. We are thankful for all that he has done as honorary consul of France.
Mr. Lina’s history of service and hard work extends far beyond this time frame, though.
From 1963 to 1985 he was Director of Computer Services at Newport News Shipbuilding, responsible for computer systems, computer operations and telecommunications. The organization consisted of more than 300 employees meeting the computer and telecommunications needs of design, manufacturing and administration for the world’s largest privately owned shipyard. The company employed 30,000 people engaged in the design and construction of navy aircraft carriers and submarines.
He was then assigned to the headquarters of Tenneco, Inc. in Houston, Texas where he led a group of 15 professionals in the oversight of systems and computer services for the entire company.
Prior to the foundation of his own company, he served as Executive Director of JI Case, International Systems. His final assignment was with JICase in Europe where he managed computer systems and operations for data centers in Doncaster, England, Neuss, Germany, Le Plessis-Belleville, France, as well as 7 other French plants. He was also responsible for advising affiliates in Australia and Brazil on matters concerning computer technology. And his main office and residence were in Chantilly, France.
Presently, he is the President and sole shareholder of Lina Enterprises, Inc., and has been providing management training services and performance in Kentucky since the company’s incorporation in 1992. In addition, although he claims to be mostly retired, he has remained involved in Management training and Theater and Film acting. He has used his time in retirement to follow classes at the University of Louisville in French language and in acting, to act in local theatre productions, to travel the world, and to practice his favorite hobbies of golf, pool, and horseback riding. Mr. Lina is a proud husband, father, and grandfather with a well-known passion for France. There are even rumors that he has hopes of going back to France one day to live.
Mr. Lina, in recognition of your contribution to the development of French-American relations, and for your distinguished service to the French nationals of Kentucky, the President of the French Republic is pleased to award you the National Order of Merit.
Mr. Lina, in the name of the President of the French Republic, I have the distinct pleasure to present you with the medal of knight of the National Order of Merit. Monsieur Lina, “Au nom du Président de la République, je vous fais Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite”. Congratulations, Félicitations./.