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1975 Horatio Alger Award Winner

R.J. Foresman*

Michigan General Corporation

"If you compromise your ideas in any way, you cannot achieve any real measure of success."

R. J. Foresman grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with his parents and a brother. His father suffered from alcoholism and Foresman lied about his age to secure a job with Mid-West Abrasive in Detroit, claiming to be 18 when he was actually only 16. On the advice of a coworker, he took a correspondence course in traffic management. He worked his way up at Mid-West Abrasive to vice president, but quit when the company wouldn't provide pension benefits to its hourly employees. After working as vice president of marketing for American Lincoln Corporation in Toledo, he and a friend purchased Michigan Abrasive in Detroit. Two Dallas investors purchased the company while retaining Foresman as president. Other companies were added, and the company's name was changed to Michigan General. After these mergers, its annual sales were $180 million.

* Deceased