Larry Johnson was born and raised in the Chicago area and received a degree in business administration from Quincy College in Quincy, Ill. He attended the U.S. Army's Officer Candidate School and served in the military for nine years, mustering out as a captain. His assignments included a tour of duty in Vietnam seeing major combat action, and he served as a general's aide in South Korea.
The service helped shape his character, according to a longtime business associate at Vanguard Plastics Inc.
Mike Sullivan of St. Louis marvels at Johnson's ability to remain ``cool as a cucumber'' amid chaotic situations. At one time, Johnson counseled Sullivan that such business problems were small in comparison to the stark human devastations of war that he personally observed and painfully absorbed.
``Larry despises procrastination,'' Sullivan said. ``He has an unshakable ability to get things done, and he has accomplished everything he has set out to do.''
In 1971, Johnson joined Mobil Chemical Co.'s plastics division as a packaging department sales representative in northern California.
>From 1978-83, he was a principal architect of Mobil's entry into the biaxially oriented polypropylene films business in Europe. Based in Arlon, Belgium, he held senior sales, marketing and general management positions and established a base for an operation that is now one of the largest PP manufacturers in Western Europe.
Johnson left Mobil in 1985 and held other positions, including Ivex Corp. senior vice president of sales and marketing. In 1989, he joined three industry players - including Seanor - at Vanguard with the key assignment of taking charge of a new Jacksonville, Fla., plant extruding high density polyethylene and making and printing grocery sacks.