On May 6, President Biden visited United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio, to tour the facility and speak in support of the Bipartisan Innovation Act, legislation that would invest in U.S. research, boost domestic manufacturing and reinforce supply chains. The President was joined at the event by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, as well as officials and elected leaders from the surrounding community, including Mitch Rhodus, president and CEO of WIT Promo, an affiliate of HALO, and mayor of neighboring Fairfield.

Rhodus is an active member of the promotional products industry, having served on the board of the Tri-State Promotional Products Association and on the PPAI Government Relations Action Committee. A prominent industry representative at PPAI’s Legislative Education And Action Day in Washington, D.C. every year, his personal relationship with former House Speaker John Boehner elevated the Association’s exposure and influence on Capitol Hill. In November, Rhodus, a former city council member, was elected to a four-year term as mayor of Fairfield.

At the event in Hamilton, Rhodus was invited by the White House to meet with President Biden. They spoke for several minutes, one-on-one on the importance of additive manufacturing—3D printing on an industrial scale—a specialty of United Performance Metals, to the area, and other subjects. They met again after President Biden’s address.

During their conversation, the President told Rhodus how he started his career as mayor/county commissioner of a small town in Delaware and noted, “Man, as mayor you are in the gutter working hard! Your residents know where you live and will come to your house if they are upset!” Rhodus replied “Mr. President, we know where you live too!” He laughed, saying “Yes, but I have these guys all around that house protecting me!”

Rhodus is a Republican, but says, “I represent the entire city, the Republicans and Democrats, and was honored to attend and meet the sitting President regardless to what political party he is from. … We need to work together now more than ever!”

Rhodus also met with Sen. Portman at the event. Rhodus recounts that Sen. Portman came up to him and said, “I heard you are the mayor now?” Then we chatted about being the only two Republicans there.

Portman, who is retiring in the fall, said to Rhodus: “I remember meeting you about 20 years ago when I ran for the Senate. Thank you for the support over the years.”