Howard Johnson returned to the card table and took the mike to introduce his little brother, Carl. This is the fellow who was whooped 900 times by HoJo in their driveway basketball games; but Carl learned from those defeats and went on to become an amazing entrepreneur, with a story that took us back to our Physics 101 course.
Carl Johnson founded II-VI (pronounced: “two-six”) in 1971, a company that would combine the elements from column II and column VI of the Periodic Table to grow proprietary crystals to be used in advanced optical systems to focus laser beams. The efficiency of the II-VI lenses increased the output power of the laser from say, 200 wants to 500 watts.
The company went public in 1987, but not until growing with acquisition of additional technology companies to expand their capability to operate in other bands of the optical spectrum besides infrared, such as the visible and near infrared.
The Brothers Johnson: Carl and Howard
Carl also discovered that to be competitive, he was forced to move manufacturing operations to areas with lower labor rates. An example cited was an hour of fully burdened time in Ho Chi Min City at $2.01 vs. $21.77 in Saxonburg, PA. This has resulted in an Asian work force of 5,188 vs. a US workforce of 687. This is a strong message for all United States-based companies. To be in the global marketplace, we must be aware of the true cost of doing business in the global marketplace, and act appropriately to bring product cost to competitive levels.
This also presents the challenge of doing business in 13 different countries and understanding and obeying the laws and cultures of those countries.
Carl also introduced the BRRC to the concept of solid state refrigeration, using thermoelectric devices to cool everything from car seats to lasers. Known as thermo electric cooling, or TEC, this technology was acquired when II-VI purchased Marlow Industries.
Carl Johnson talks with BBRC members after the program.
Carl left the BBRC with his blueprint for success: “do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, at the right cost,” combined with, “delivering a product that answers a real need in a real market.”
Now, dear BBRCers, you know all that is necessary to set foot on the world stage without the boring necessity of Physics 101. (Editor’s note: I think it is time for some beer.)
President John presented Carl with a thank you indicating that 1,000 pounds of fresh produce will be donated via RFH for his talk.