Cognex Chairman Launches 'Business Is Good' Initiative

Robert J. Shillman, Chairman of the machine vision company Cognex, has had enough of President Barack Obama’s anti-business rhetoric.

Shillman is launching a “Business Is Good” (B.I.G.) campaign to “counteract the ‘Big Lie’ that successful businesses and the people who run them are bad,” a sentiment attributes to Obama and his reelection campaign. 

“During his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama promised that he would bring fundamental change to our society, and, unfortunately, he has delivered on that promise,” Shillman wrote in a letter to his company's shareholders. “Since his election, a worrisome, anti-business movement has emerged that is harmful to our nation.”

Shillman wrote that Obama’s anti-business rhetoric “not only criticizes businesses and the people who run them, but it demonizes them. It is a divisive movement that pits our citizens against each other, and it could result in a destructive, downward spiral for our economy and our country.”

According to Shillman, the B.I.G. campaign will “spread the word about how business and free enterprise are at the core of America’s success.”

And though politicians on the left “shout about the need for government to ‘spread the wealth around,’" Shillman noted Cognex has never taken “money from the government to fund our growth.” 

“Instead, we turned to the capital markets... both independent and corporate venture capital firms to raise the necessary funds to grow our company until we reached profitability,” Shillman wrote. 

“We want everyone to understand that business not only creates wealth for those who work hard, work smart and take calculated risks, but it also creates jobs that provide opportunity and the means for a better life for everyone who is willing to invest time and effort to help their business succeed,” Shillman wrote. 

Shillman boasts Cognex "is a great example of the benefits of the free enterprise system" because "our company was founded on the dreams of three young people at a time in the United States when entrepreneurship was encouraged and success in business was praised."

"What began in 1981 as a startup funded by my life savings of $87,000 is now the largest and most successful machine vision company in the world, with a market value of over $1.5 billion," Shillman wrote. "When I was a boy, there was a common saying which was generally accepted to be true: 'What’s good for General Motors is good for America.' The essential meaning of that saying is still true today… what’s good for business is good for America."


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