Jon Huntsman’s biography provides a look at a plastics icon

10/17/2014

Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., a name that everyone in the plastics industry should know, has just come out with a new memoir titled, "Barefoot to Billionaire: Reflections on a Life's Work and a Promise to Cure Cancer" (Overlook Press, $35). While I've not read this recently released book, I certainly plan to as I've long admired Huntsman and his successful entrepreneurship in the plastics and chemical industries.

I remember the day many years ago, when I was a journalist for another plastics industry trade publication, that I met Jon Huntsman Sr. at his office in Salt Lake City, UT, for an interview. I loved doing "people" stories, and have always been fascinated with knowing how people got to be where they are.

A t the time Huntsman was the president and CEO of the world's largest privately-held chemical corporation, Huntsman Chemical Corp. that specializes in upstream polymer chemicals that go into making plastics and other products. Huntsman began his career in plastics after being employed as VP of Operations by Olson Bros. Inc., a commercial egg production business. The company was experiencing losses from egg breakage due to insubstantial packaging. In 1965, Huntsman contacted the polystyrene group of the Dow Chemical Co., and was key to helping to develop the first expanded polystyrene (EPS) egg carton.
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