Happy 60th Anniversary HAROLD B. JOHNSON
The year was 1950, Charles Schultz created the Peanuts comic strip, the first self service elevator was installed, Xerox machines were fired up for the first time, and Harold Johnson went to work for Surface Combustion.
It is now 2010, Peanuts continues on in re-runs long after Charles Schultz. Elevators and copy machines make our lives a little easier, and so does Harold Johnson, as he celebrates 60 years of working with Surface Combustion.
It is quite an anomaly to see someone reach 60 years service with one company. "Today you don't see many people with 60 years", says Harold, "and probably won't because most companies aren't even around for 60 years."
Harold attended a Toledo area high school that has been closed now for nearly 20 years. When he attended there, the emphasis was on vocational training, and he chose to study mechanical drafting because he liked drawing and his father had done drawing at one time.
The vocational staff of the high school helped students locate jobs. Surface Combustion was close to where Harold lived, and that was his first priority in finding work. "If something happened to my car, I knew I could walk to work if I had to", says Harold. Just a few weeks out of high school, Surface had a need for his mechanical drafting skills and had him start as a Proposal Draftsmen.
After only a few months on the job, Harold knew that he wanted to be an engineer. He enrolled at what was then Toledo University. He told his supervisor that he was going to have to quit work to go back to school. "They told me that they didn't want to lose me," says Harold. "They told me that if I could schedule the majority of my classes at night and work a minimum of 20 hours a week, then they wanted me to stay on."
Harold did stay on. He received his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from what is now The University of Toledo and went on to acquire a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering, as well as a Professional Engineer's Certification. After graduation, he interviewed with a few other companies to see if the grass was any greener, "but it wasn't", Harold says.
When Harold commits to something, he sees it through all the way. While working on his degree, he met his future wife, Nancy on a blind date on Valentine's Day. The following June they were married, and are still to this day.
Even in the climate of business casual dress, Harold still wears a tie to work. It's part of his professional ethic. An ethic that has helped him grow with the Company through many advances in different aspects of his career, including field service and sales. Harold's travels for the Company have taken him to far off reaches of the world including adventures that allowed him to help teach others about industrial furnace equipment.
Although Harold retired in 1996, he continues to work for Surface on a project basis because it is not only what he knows best, but what he takes pleasure in. He says, "I'm still here because I've seen a lot of guys retire, not stay active. And be dead within 2 years. I don't like that option. Keeping active, both mentally and physically is what you need to maintain your health and sensibility and I enjoy it."
Surface Combustion began operating under private ownership in the late 1980's and soon after built a new corporate office in Maumee, Ohio. Harold stayed with the company, becoming a walking encyclopedia full of industrial heat treating information. He has a memory that often retrieves information that was long ago lost in paper files.
As he walks through the halls of the Surface Combustion offices, his smile brightens everyone's day, even those he works with who weren't yet born when he started his employment those oh so many years ago.