New AGTA CEO Wants to Give Group a “Higher Profile”


John W. Ford Sr. (pictured), the recently appointed CEO of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), wants to give the Dallas-based group a “higher-profile,” he told JCK in an interview Monday.

“I want to make the AGTA not just relevant to the colored stone business,” he says, “I want it to be the flagship organization for the jewelry industry as a whole.”

His plans include “solidifying AGTA as a corporate entity”; promoting its trade shows, including its flagship show in Tucson, to a larger audience; and increasing its number of retail members.

That’s a lot on his plate, he admits: “It’s a challenge. That’s why I took the position.”

He also wants to make AGTA the leading voice for industry ethics.

“We want to let consumers know the benefits of buying from an AGTA member,” he says.

As far as chain of custody issues, he notes that it is “inevitable” that the industry is moving in that direction.

“We will be looking at those issues and addressing them in a proactive manner,” he says.

He also wants the industry’s to know the benefits of AGTA’s Spectrum Awards.

“That’s a great competition that allows up-and-coming designers to get exposure,” he says. “It promoted me from a regional jeweler to a national brand.”

Photo courtesy of the American Gem Trade Association

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By: Rob Bates

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