The Kohrt file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

Birthplace: Normal, Ill.

Education: B.S., chemistry, Furman University; master’s degree in management, MIT; doctorate, physical chemistry, University of Chicago

First job: Hoeing corn out of soybeans. The better-paying job was being the only newspaper boy in a town of 1,800 people. I had a monopoly.

Greatest business challenge: The toughest one was figuring out how to transition a business where the technology changed. We had to still maintain leadership while the technology was changing. That was the biggest intellectual challenge. The biggest physical challenge was negotiating the acquisition of and development of an industry in China.

Most important business lesson: Respect for people, in the long term, will never serve you wrong. Diversity in people is a strength, not a weakness. It’s a competitive advantage.