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The U.S. Small Business Administration named Charles L. “Wick”Johnson III '70, president and owner of Kennebec Tool & Die in Augusta, the 2002 Maine State Small Business Person of the Year. Johnson spent four days in Washington, D.C. with fellow honorees from other U.S. states and territories for an awards ceremony and events featuring officials such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and SBA administrator Hector V. Barreto.

Kennebec Tool & Die manufactures flap actuators and other complex, high-precision components for commercial and military planes, as well as machine tool parts for the semiconductor and other high-tech industries. The company is a major supplier for Curtis Wright, the firm that manufactures flap actuators for Boeing Aircraft's 757, and its parts have been used on space shuttles.

“I have non-traditional credentials for everything I've done,” says Johnson, who taught all subjects for a self-contained six-grade class for five years before starting a construction company that made log homes and post-and-beam homes. He used the skills gained there to join Kennebec Tool & Die in 1982, assuming ownership of the company in 1984.

Johnson is chair of Maine Science and Technology Foundation, president of Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, a trustee of University of Maine, and an active member in United Way and Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility. He has received the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce President's Award, the Governor's Award for Business Excellence, and the Curtis Wright Vendor of the Year Award for 2001.

A history graduate, Johnson says that despite the disruptions caused by Vietnam War tensions during the end of his last semester, he benefited greatly from his time at Lafayette.

“I received a liberal education that I feel was very valuable,” he says. “I formulated thought processes there that I carried out in the future.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles