The epicenter of global economic change in America has been in the Midwest. To those of us with roots in Ohio, this economic cataclysm has been the challenge of our time in personal and public ways.
Great people are attracted to great challenges. Dr. John Logue of Kent State University is a shining example of this kind of greatness. Arriving in Kent in the mid-seventies from Texas - by way of Princeton and Europe - Dr. Logue's credentials, charm, optimism and moxie could have taken him anywhere to teach and work. He chose northeastern Ohio. His life's work has addressed our challenges.
John was diagnosed with a particularly virulent cancer on December 6 and was gone by December 9. He touched so many of us in a personal way that the e-mail list serves cannot possibly reach everyone. It is a measure of his contribution to the community that it takes an editorial to reach all who need to know.
Long-time Director of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center and professor of political science, John burned the midnight oil with workers trying to buy their closing plant. He worked with the same intensity, the same mix of pressure, charm, counsel and insight, as he taught their sons and daughters at Kent State University. He made his students stretch: he taught us to travel, to interview, to observe and to participate. He made us write for publication and he got our work published. He took us with him into the plant; he forced us to be equal, to speak, to testify. We became journalists, labor leaders, civil servants, political scientists, marketing directors, business owners. We were better for having studied with him.
He taught the parents of his students on the shop floors of industrial plants. His life's work with employee ownership touched Ohioans affected by plant closure from communities across the state. He made them stretch - to explore options, to learn business strategies and finance, to lead, to cooperate, to facilitate. His work was beyond the social safety net. He worked with displaced workers as investors. They became investors. From the closure of the steel mills through the departure of DHL from Wilmington, for the past 25 years the reaction to economic disaster in Ohio has been: "Call John Logue!" In the face of difficulty, he gave us a sensible course of action. He is uniquely optimistic, uniquely American - but his optimism is born of faith in us, faith in our ability to stretch and to succeed.
In the last two years, John's work moved to employee ownership in the community through Cleveland's new cooperative green venture, the Evergreen Laundry. He brought the same expectation of high achievement to the workers and investors in the new enterprise. His vision of a cooperative and egalitarian workplace is the right vision for our future. Not only has it been embraced by hundreds of Ohio companies and cooperatives and thousands of workers, but major institutions – the United Steelworkers, for example – are moving to a model of economic progress based on employee ownership, worker participation and investment in community.
Great challenges bring hardship and yield progress. John Logue has provided steady, sure, insightful and lasting progress in our economic storm. We are grateful for his contribution.by Wendy Patton, former student and OEOC colleague, and most importantly, close friend.