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1985 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Jack D. Sparks*

Chairman of the Board, Retired
Whirlpool Corporation

"Always be yourself."

At a young age, Jack Sparks was interested in American history and aspired to become a history teacher. However, his father died when he was 16 and he was forced to abandon college and a teaching career so that he could earn money. He went to work on the assembly line of a small local appliance manufacturer, the 1900 Corporation, earning 30 cents an hour. After joining the Army Air Corps during World War II, he advanced to the rank of captain before returning to his job at the 1900 Corporation. Within a few years, Sparks was moved into personnel work and labor relations. Later, he moved into sales and marketing, where he became producer of a strong Whirlpool product line. In the Whirlpool sales department, he was promoted to director of marketing, and later became chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the Whirlpool Corporation.

* Deceased