Richard L. Johnson, Sr. (BS '55)
Distinguished Entrepreneur 1994
In 1957, Dick Johnson began Johnson Oil Co. as a small distributorship of Shell Oil petroleum products, delivering fuel oils, gasoline, and lubricants in the Columbus, IN, area.
In the 1980s, many service stations were converting to convenience stores selling gasoline. At the forefront of this movement, the Bigfoot food chain was developed and became one of the largest privately owned convenience store/gasoline chains in the United States with 150 Bigfoot convenience stores selling Shell, Amoco and private-brand gasoline products. In 2001, the Johnson family sold the Bigfoot chain of convenience stores to Couch-Tard Inc.
In 1998, Dick and his wife Ruth provided a gift in support of the IU center which now bears their family's name. He also funded the Kelley Entrepreneur-in-Residence program and serves on both the Kelley School's Dean's Advisory Council and the IU Foundation Board of Directors. In 1994, Dick Johnson received the Kelley School's Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.
Dick is currently Chairman of the Board, Johnson Ventures Inc., which is an equity investor in three Indiana companies: Indiana Limestone Co. Inc., One Call Communications, and 1st Books Library.