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John McConnell

by Academy of Achievement

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John H. McConnell (May 10, 1923 – April 25, 2008) was the founder and chairman of Worthington Industries, which manufactures processed steel products, pressure cylinders, and metal framing. He was also the founder and majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team. He left high school to work with his father in a West Virginia steel mill. After a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he went on to earn his degree in business on the G.I. Bill from Michigan State University, where he played football and worked the night shift on an auto assembly line. In 1955, as a young steel salesman for big steel companies, he scraped together $600 (as a loan on his car) to purchase his first load of steel for custom processing, and opened a steel brokerage in his basement. McConnell ran the business out of a file cabinet in the small apartment where he lived, and utilized a profit-sharing plan with his employees to spearhead its expansion over the next fifty years. His small operation became a multi-billion-dollar company with 69 facilities in 11 countries, one of the fastest growing companies in the nation, and "an All-American success story." After retiring, he led a group of investors to bring a National Hockey League team to Columbus, Ohio, and committed $120 million to build up the franchise. One the opening night, October 9, 2000, the self-made steel magnate got a standing ovation when he dropped the first puck. He was inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame. John H. McConnell participated in the 1982 Achievement Summit in New Orleans and spoke to the student delegates about his life as an entrepreneur.

John McConnell
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  • Category: Management
  • Language: English

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