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'Cheers' TV Star John Ratzenberger Explains Why We Need an American Manufacturing Revival

Cheers actor John Ratzenberger offers advice for future entrepreneurs, and shares recent projects including Elite Aerospace Group and thegiftbox.com.

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Our country was built on hard work and problem solving. John Ratzenberger, the postman from the popular television series Cheers, tells us about the skills that made him a successful actor, serial entrepreneur and the voice of American manufacturing: an unyielding work ethic and inquisitive mind. Ratzenberger currently keeps himself busy as an active member of the Elite Aerospace Group, a treasured Pixar voiceover artist and founder of subscription box company, thegiftbox.com. Ratzenberger offers tried and true advice for new entrepreneurs looking to build a successful future. Listen now.

John Ratzenberger
  • [00:00:00] John Ratzenberger: From Actor to Entrepreneur
  • [00:05:28] Small Factory Town to Hollywood Big Screen
  • [00:11:30] Raising Next Generation Entrepreneurs
  • [00:18:20] Ratzenberger Calls for Manufacturing Renaissance
  • [00:26:52] Coming Soon: The Second Golden Age of Aviation
  • [00:33:21] John Ratzenberger’s Investment Strategy

Related: Team Building Techniques, NewFronts, and Entrepreneur Network

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] John Ratzenberger: Actor and Entrepreneur

Ratzenberger is now a successful entrepreneur, but we first new him as Cliff Clavin, the know-it-all postman on American television show Cheers. We take a journey back to Ratzenberger’s early acting days where he parlayed his background as an improvisational comic to become a beloved character and household name. Ratzenberger says his ability to ad-lib on set prepared him for a career of entrepreneurship as he had to think quickly on his feet and take control of his own destiny. 

[00:05:28] Small Factory Town to Hollywood Big Screen

Growing up in a factory town like Bridgeport, Conn. has much to do with Ratzenberger’s ability to creatively problem solve. Before launching his iconic film and television career, Ratzenberger paid his dues as a carpenter, all the while honing his improv acting chops. This time gave Ratzenberger a unique perspective on success -- he stays eager to tackle new challenges, never resting on his laurels. From hand-building the original Woodstock stage, to working with the cast and crew of Cheers, and eventually becoming an elemental voiceover actor for Pixar, Ratzenberger chronicles a sampling of his storied career.

[00:11:30] Raising Next Generation Entrepreneurs

Want to raise a future entrepreneur? Ratzenberger offers this essential parenting tip to nurture the next generation of business leaders: Let them struggle. Okay, we know that seems harsh, but a measured dose of strife is crucial for teaching problem solving skills and critical thinking -- tools entrepreneurs need to achieve success. As the American workforce continues to make a dramatic shift away from the manufacturing sector, make sure your little business-dynamo is prepared to find out-of-the-box solutions. 

[00:18:20] Ratzenberger Calls for Manufacturing Renaissance

Ratzenberger has a passion for manufacturing and is calling on listeners to once again get their hands dirty. Our current infrastructure was built by the hard work of our grandparents and great-grandparents -- it’s essential that future generations are instilled with a similar work ethic as our country’s job market evolves. How can we teach perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness? To start, Ratzenberger says we should revive shop classes in schools to get kids excited about building something with their own hands. We also need to pay tribute to the people and innovations that have allowed this plucky country of ours to be successful; Ratzenberger aims to open the American Museum of Manufacturing in Bridgeport, Conn.

[00:26:52] Coming Soon: The Second Golden Age of Aviation

Technological innovations are constantly reshaping the aerospace industry and Elite Aerospace Group is at the heart of the transformation by providing individual vendors with a bird’s eye view of the supply chain. EAG has made it their mission to actively engage vendors and thoughtfully invest in other game-changing companies in the field. Ratzenberger, chief advisor, says this fundamental shift will lead to the second golden age of aviation, a prospect that has him flying on cloud nine. 

[00:33:21] John Ratzenberger’s Investment Strategy

Working for yourself ain’t easy -- it means taking financial risks and frequently stepping outside of your comfort zone. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re cut from the entrepreneurial cloth, Ratzenberger has some important advice: Determine your niche and find contemporary solutions to solve their unique problems. Along your journey, embrace the adventure and never lose your edge. This philosophy has led Ratzenberger to become involved with many companies, including monthly subscription box company, thegiftbox.com.

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Alan Taylor

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Alan Taylor is an award winning radio and television host and a 30-plus year broadcast professional. As a founder of Benchmark Entertainment in 1995, Taylor pioneered the business of creating radio shows as an extension of the magazines and brands they represent. Benchmark orchestrated innovative partnerships with leading publishers to replicate their content on-air, bringing their brands alive to a much larger audiences. Today, Taylor partners with the nation’s largest publishing houses. He is, on behalf of the Entertainment Right Now, the host of some of the most popular weekend talk shows in radio today: The Drive with Alan Taylor and Entrepreneur Radio. Taylor produces and co-hosts a new video series, Business & Burgers, in partnership with Microsoft and serves as a consultant and content marketing partner for USA Today Network.

Taylor’s expertise and quick wit entertain millions and he has been a featured automotive expert on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and others, including 15-plus years on daytime’s No. 1 morning talk show, LIVE! with Kelly. Taylor is also an in-demand guest speaker where his up-beat presentations provide both insight and motivation. Taylor is also the co-host of Motorz TV, seen in over 200 million TV households in the USA and Canada.