Endicott Johnson Shoe Company
Harold McGowan was born in Pennsylvania in 1920. He graduated from High School at 15. Harold McGowan began his career with Endicott Johnson in 1946 in the accounting department at the Archibald, PA factory. After a brief stint in the army reserves during the Korean War, Mr. McGowan returned to work with Endicott Johnson and moved to the Southern Tier.
While in New York held many positions in EJ. He started in the accounting office. While there, he standardized the forms used by each of the factories. He also worked as the company controller. As controller, Mr. McGowan was in charge of bookkeeping, costing, quarterly reports.
Mr. McGowan was president of the company from 1969 to 1985. During his tenure, he made many changes to the company. He changed the medical from company doctors to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He realized that there were some areas where Endicott Johnson couldn’t compete with the cheaper working foreign workers. He believed that if you couldn’t compete, then you needed a new idea. So he ditched a line of uppers and started focusing on firemen’s boots. He also introduced spikeless golf shoes to the United States after seeing them in England.
As President, Mr. McGowan had two rules: 1) He answered his own phone and 2) Anyone who worked for EJ could come by and see him. He was the only president of EJ to retire. All the other presidents either died while still working or were fired. Sadly, Mr. McGowan died on December 1, 2006. He was 86 years old.