Business

Former Rockwell Collins CEO dies

John Cosgrove started with Collins Radio

John Cosgrove
John Cosgrove

CEDAR RAPIDS — John “Jack” Cosgrove, whose first job after graduation was at Collins Radio and who went on to become CEO of Rockwell Collins, died at his home on Jan. 23.

Since then, comments on social media from former employees and co-workers at what today is known as Collins Aerospace — Cedar Rapids’ largest employer and a division of Raytheon Technologies — spoke of Cosgrove’s ability to connect with them.

“He knew everyone’s name and always had a smile for you,” one Collins Aerospace Facebook post read. Another recalled Cosgrove would “sit down in your office and ask for your input, suggestions and feedback.”

“If you had a conversation with him, he’d remember your name forever,” wrote a third.

Kelly Ortberg, former Rockwell Collins and Collins Aerospace CEO and now special adviser to United Technologies’ Office of the CEO, echoed that sentiment.

“Jack was amazing with people,” Ortberg said in an email. “He knew everyone in the company by their first name and always met them with words of encouragement.

“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Jack. He was a true gentleman.”

“Jack Cosgrove’s influence on Collins Aerospace will be felt for generations to come,” CEO President Stephen Timm said in an email. “He created a company culture based on respect, collaboration and a genuine interest in the success of everyone at Collins.

“And it was that culture that allowed our company to thrive and solve our customers’ biggest challenges together. We owe Jack a debt of gratitude for the legacy he leaves behind. We are all better for it.”

Born in Cedar Rapids in 1934, he spent his entire professional career in the city, according the Iowa State University Foundation’s website.

After graduating from ISU in 1956 with a degree in electrical engineering, he started work at Collins Radio.

Two years after the company was acquired by Rockwell International in 1973, Cosgrove was named the Defense Division’s vice president and general manager.

He became president and CEO of Rockwell Collins, as well as senior vice president of Rockwell International, in 1996. He retired in 1999.

Cosgrove served on several boards as well advisory committees and with fundraising campaigns for the ISU Foundation, according to his obituary.

Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Cedar Memorial Funeral Home. Social-distance requirements will be in place.

Mass and interment will be private.

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