Gen Irie, the vice-chairman of Lyndex-Nikken, died Dec. 4 of an apparent heart attack near his Schaumburg, Ill. home at the age of 59, according to company officials.
“It is hard to put into words how important he was to our company,” said Jun Hayashi, president of Lyndex-Nikken.
“Through his strong leadership, focus on providing a quality product, marketing know-how and organizational skills, he built Lyndex-Nikken into the company that it is today,” Hayashi said.
Born in Osaka, Japan, Irie emigrated to the United States shortly after turning 18 years old and began his lifelong career in the manufacturing industry as a warehouse employee at Yamazen, Inc. He ascended through several positions in the company to become one of Yamazen, Inc.’s top salesmen. While serving as district sales manager, Irie was credited with pioneering Yamazen, Inc.’s West Coast distribution network for its Mori Seiki product line.
In 1978, Irie left Yamazen, Inc. to start his own machine tool distribution company, Machinex Corporation. Irie turned the company into the world’s top selling distributor of Hitachi Seiki machine tools before selling the company in early 2002.
After a brief retirement, Irie moved from California to Illinois to take on the role of president of Lyndex-Nikken, Inc.
As the company’s head, he helped complete the U.S. tool holder distributor’s merger with Japanese tool manufacturing giant Nikken Kosakusho Works, Ltd. Over a four year period, he more than doubled Lyndex-Nikken, Inc. sales.
On Dec. 1, 2006, Irie assumed the role of company vice-chairman, handing over responsibilities of president to Jun Hayashi.
“He will be missed on both a professional and personal level,” Hayashi said. “His teachings will be with us in our hearts and minds forever.”
Irie is survived by his wife of 38 years, Yoko, his son Susumu, a daughter Ayako, son-in-law Miles and a grandson Jack.
Lyndex-Nikken is a leading supplier of machine tool accessories, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Nikken Kosakusho Works, Ltd. Japan.
For more information, visit ( www.lyndexnikken.com), or contact Lyndex-Nikken Inc., 1468 Armour Blvd., Mundelein, IL 60060, Phone: (800) 543-6237.