WMU News

CEO to speak on surviving outside of big corporations

April 15, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A former Upjohn Co. scientist and bio-tech entrepreneur will speak about life beyond the big corporation at a presentation Friday, April 23, at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business.

Rich Johnson, president and CEO of AvTech Laboratories, will present "How to Survive and Prosper Outside the Big Corporation" as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series. The presentation, which includes a continental breakfast, will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2150 of WMU's Schneider Hall. The free Haworth College of Business program is sponsored by Keystone Community Bank. Parking will be available in the Fetzer Center parking lot. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the business dean's office at (269) 387-5050.

Johnson co-founded AvTech in 1990 with partners Kathy Johnson, Jerry Miller and Ken Miller. The company provides full-service analytical testing and research to clientele ranging from small bio-tech companies to Fortune 50 multinational pharmaceutical companies. From its start with four founding members, AvTech has grown to include more than 50 employees today.

A native of Chicago, Johnson received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology and earned a doctoral degree in chemical physics from Michigan State University, where he studied under Max Rogers, a student of Linus Pauling. Upon graduation, Johnson joined the Upjohn Co., where he worked as a scientist and in management until founding AvTech Laboratories.

As part of the 2003-04 Keystone series, business leaders from around West Michigan are slated to discuss the triumphs and challenges of finding success in this area, and how they have grown and prospered despite tough economic times.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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