WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Senate confirmed William G. “Woody” Sutton as assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing and services, a position sometimes referred to as the manufacturing “czar.”

Sutton, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral, most recently served five years as president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), the association that represents manufacturers of more than 90% of North American-produced central air- conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment. He was an officer of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations, which plays a lead role in NAM policy development and legislative advocacy.

“Our manufacturers are the best in the world. The manufacturing and services sectors need practical experience and a strong voice in Washington to continue their success in the global market place,” says Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. “Woody Sutton understands the challenges facing both sectors and knows what it will take to help them grow and create jobs. His extensive knowledge of both sectors as well as a thorough understanding of Washington will help him to deliver on the Bush Administration’s commitment to help the manufacturing and services sectors.”

Sutton holds a Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Naval Engineering from the United States Naval Academy.