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John H. McConnell lived his life following a simple, successful philosophy that puts people first and follows the golden rule. A native of West Virginia, John J. McConnell served aboard the USS Saratoga during World War II. He returned from that conflict to attend Michigan State University on the G.I. Bill. After graduation in 1949, he entered the steel business, arriving in Columbus in 1954. in 1955, recognizing that there was a growing need for steel processing services, McConnell borrowed $600 against his car, bought a load of steel, and starting Worthington Industries. Today that corporation is an international manufacturing company with sales of approximately two billion dollars annually.
John J. McConnell has created jobs and a successful career for himself and others in Columbus. His philanthropic philosophy is the same as OSU legend, Woody Hayes, who said, “you can never pay back, you can only pay forward.” Paying forward is what McConnell has done in his creation of the McConnell Heart Health Center, the Blue Jackets Hockey Team and a variety of civic programs too numerous to name.
John H. McConnell’s leadership has long been recognized in Columbus and throughout the nation. He is the recipient of the Horatio Alger Award, the Ohio Governor’s Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Outstanding Chief Executive Award, National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Gold Metal Award and more. The spirit of leadership is also found in McConnell’s view of how organizations grow and prosper. “We’ve only scratched the surface” is the motto that moves Worthington Industries forward. The same can be said for Columbus. It too, has only scratched the surface of its potential. A potential strengthened by the contributions of John H. McConnell.