Our Founder

We learned from the best.

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"I don't wonder how I will be remembered. That doesn't matter to me. What has made this whole journey worthwhile is that the way we have led Worthington Industries for 50-plus years is, plain and simple, the right thing to do."

                                                                              - John McConnell, 1923-2008
Born in 1923, John McConnell grew up the son of a steelworker in West Virginia. He served in World War II and then studied business at Michigan State University.

After he graduated, McConnell got a job in the steel industry, but he soon saw a need for custom steel processing. He used his 1952 Oldsmobile as collateral for a $600 loan and started Worthington Industries in Columbus, Ohio.

Under McConnell’s guidance, Worthington Industries grew into a $3 billion global organization, often recognized for employee-based philosophy. Later, Worthington Industries would be named one of the Best Companies to Work for in America.

As CEO, McConnell often walked through our buildings and struck up conversations with employees he knew by name. His views on open door policies and two-way communication were a stark contrast to the way other large manufacturers ran—but these practices soon became the basis for company success.

It wasn’t long before McConnell became widely recognized as one of Columbus' most generous citizens. His donation to OhioHealth funded the McConnell Heart Hospital at Riverside Methodist Hospital, which provides treatment and prevention services for heart-related illnesses.

McConnell also led the charge in bringing an NHL team to Columbus. As the owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he promised community enrichment when he established the Blue Jackets Foundation to help improve the lives of central Ohioans.

Since his death in 2008, employees, customers, shareholders and investors have held John McConnell in their hearts. We remember his people-centered philosophy and strive to live it every day.