[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E470]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. GUS M. BILIRAKIS

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, April 15, 2019

  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor a local leader 
who has made a tremendous impact in the Tampa Bay area through a 
lifetime of public service. Colonel Jerry Custin USAF (Ret.) prouldy 
served our nation in the United States Air Force during which he 
received advanced training, flew 130 combat missions over Laso and 
Vietnam, and conducted defense analysis. He earned both the Defense 
Superior Service Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross while serving in 
the United States Air Force. He also worked with the National Security 
Agency, and completed his thirty-year career in public service as the 
Director of the Office of Electronic Intelligence, and the Chairman of 
the National Electronic Intelligence Group.
  After retirement, Jerry continued to serve our community. He worked 
as an Outreach Counselor for economically disadvantaged youth through 
the Pinellas Workforce Development Board. He then became the Business 
Assistance Specialist for the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce, where he 
helped expand its footprint into Hillsborough and Pasco counties 
reconstituting the organization as the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of 
Commerce. He later served as President/CEO of the Chamber and developed 
the Florida Suncoast Manufacturing Association (FSMA) which effectively 
serves Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Both 
organizations endeavor to enhance the regional workforce and ensure 
that students are trained for post-secondary success. With a fervent 
belief that the robust manufacturing sector in the community--
comprising nearly a third of area jobs and tax base--could benefit by 
more technically oriented services addressing current manufacturing 
practices and standards, increasingly skilled workforce requirements 
and a more comprehensive understanding of the availability of the 
varied products and services offered across our local manufacturing 
base, Colonel Custin has been instrumental in meeting those needs 
through his work at FSMA.
  On a personal note, Jerry is a trusted friend and advisor. Whether in 
the Florida Legislature or my time in the U.S. Congress, Jerry has been 
my go-to guy on issues related to workforce, manufacturing, and the 
federal budget among other subject matters. His unrivaled work ethic, 
strength of character and commitment to service is why he is held in 
such high esteem in his beloved Oldsmar community. I am honored to have 
him as a constituent.