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GS1 US, the information standards organization, is mourning the death of Thomas S. Rittenhouse, who served as president and CEO of the organization from 1997 to 2004, when it was known as the Uniform Code Council.
Rittenhouse also served on the organization’s board of governors for four years prior to his joining the organization, while completing a 31-year career at the defunct Philadelphia-based department store, Strawbridge & Clothier. His industry knowledge was invaluable to the evolution of the standards group, which was created in the early 1970s to administer the UPC bar code system.
“We’re deeply saddened to hear of Tom’s passing,” said Bernie Hogan, SVP, emerging capabilities & industries for GS1 US. “Tom was the person most responsible for turning the UCC from a narrowly focused standards organization to one dedicated to supporting industry needs in multiple ways. He always stressed the link of standards to business benefits, and today we continue to build on his vision.”
Rittenhouse was also the first “to recognize the potential of radio frequency identification and the Electronic Product Code, and he forged our partnership with the MIT Auto-ID Center,” said Hogan, adding that his foresight has benefitted many companies “as they put EPC-enabled RFID tags on millions of products, giving them greater visibility, business intelligence, traceability, and efficiency.”
Rittenhouse further displayed vision in the creation of UCCnet, the predecessor to the 1SYNC Data Pool, which ultimately led to the formation of the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). Using these tools to share data for more than 8 million products, companies can collaborate with trading partners more quickly and with more accuracy.
He was also a strong supporter of the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions organization, a key partner of GS1 US in supporting industry initiatives.