The American Knife & Tool Instituted recently awarded Bill Raczkowki with an Honorary Life Membership in the organization. Bill Raczkowski, former Category Manager for Gerber, recently left his position there to start a new life adventure and job in Australia.
Bill represented Gerber on the Board of Regents from 2009 until 2017, serving as Vice President, President, chair of the Membership Committee, a member of the Legislative Committee, and co-chairing with his wife Pam the first fundraising event at the Blade Show.
“Bill has been a tremendous ambassador for AKTI,” said Jan Billeb, Executive Director. “I will him, miss working with him miss his enthusiasm and always eager willingness to help not only promote AKTI’s value and initiatives, but stepping up wherever needed.”
“I am deeply humbled to receive an American Knife and Tool Institute Lifetime Membership,” said Bill Rackowski, on learning of the honor membership.
“Although I was at Gerber when AKTI started in 1998, I was not involved until 2008 when Gerber President Jason Landmark asked me to attend for him. Each and every member treated me like family right away. Soon after I became the official Gerber representative on the AKTI board in 2009, we had the incredible news that spring assisted knives were at risk to import and sell. It was remarkable to see each and every AKTI member, most of whom are competitors, step up to not only defeat this measure but also to revise the long-standing (and some thinking untouchable) federal switchblade law with objective language defining spring bias towards closure. It was done respectfully and swiftly – focusing on the larger picture and leaving all egos behind. Goldie Russell was president and when the then-vice president left his position, I was “blown away” to be accepted into that position, knowing it might I was expected to become president after Goldie’s turn – a big role to step into after her!
After 8 years on the AKTI board, I have seen a lot of great things happen, most specifically having more brands participate on the Board and lead committees with a clear strategy to educate and legislate. Albeit sometimes slow to make decisions, we have kept to our strategy, worked with consensus and great things have happened.
I truly believe AKTI will last many years as it’s a team of like-minded members with a very powerful and conservative voice. I am blessed for what I was involved with and look forward to keeping in touch while living just shy of 10,000 miles away.”