Wednesday 3 May 2017

Dare to Imagine - EO Johnson's 60th Anniversary

Posted at 9:12 AM

EO Johnson Business Technologies turned 60 years old on May 1, 2017.  On May 1, 1957 when Emery O. (E. O.) Johnson opened the doors of his business, The E.O. Johnson Company, he dared to imagine.  His dream was to own his own business and 60 years ago that dream became a reality. 

Copiers were a new business in the 1950s, and E.O. recognized the sales potential they presented.  A successful Milwaukee salesman for Victor adding machines, E.O. became interested in copiers when he came upon a secretary at a trucking company making copies.  Soon after he sought out 3M and became their dealer for north, central, and western Wisconsin.  He had a true entrepreneurial spirit and built his company on the value proposition of treating customers the way he would want to be treated. 

On May 1, 1957 did E.O. ever think his business would be described as an innovative industry leader and highly respected by his peers and community? Did he think his successful business would beat all the odds of second generation business failures and thrive under his daughter’s leadership? Did he think the copier industry would evolve to the technologically advanced business it has?


Being ethical and honest in everything was a way of life for E.O. and a guiding principal of his business.  He demonstrated it and instilled it in all those he hired and worked with.  E.O. had many statements that painted quick ethical thoughts to live by, and those who knew him call these statements “EOisms”.  Here are a few of his most memorable:

  • Do the right things and the right things will happen.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep going, don’t stop.
  • Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. 
  • Treat everyone the way they like to be treated.
  • Count your blessings.

Second Generation

Mary Jo Johnson, daughter of E.O., joined the company in 1985 after working outside the industry.  She very much worked her way up through the ranks of the company her father founded, working in telemarketing, sales, color, faxes, and training before being named CEO in 1999.  

Growth and Change

From one employee in one office to a company with seven offices in six markets and 280+ employee, EO Johnson’s growth has been steady.  Past President Roger King describes it this way:  “Our growth has been compounded managed growth, and that is very powerful over time.  There aren’t always a lot of bells and whistles with this type of steady growth – no big spikes on a graph.  There aren’t going to be big swings of rapid growth and then downsizing when the line swings the other way.  We’ve never had to lay people off and that really is a testament to our steady and planned growth.” 


The industry has changed over the past 60 years.  Copiers and printers are now sophisticated machines loaded with software that manage documents, are networked, and keep businesses running.  Business process improvement, document scanning, and managing IT networks round out industry product offerings. 

Making a Company Special

What makes a business special for six decades?  What gives it that edge that provides unmatched customer loyalty and employees that want to be part of it through to retirement?  It’s the people and how they are valued.  “Our employees and retirees are truly our family, and I am so grateful that each and every one of them has chosen to be part of our EO Johnson family,” said Mary Jo Johnson, CEO/Owner.  “Our employees are the blood running through the veins of this company. They are the sparkle in the eyes of our happy customers and vendors.  And they are what will take us on into the next 60 years of helping businesses be successful.”

Happy Anniversary EO Johnson – here’s to the next 60 years!