The truth about Ron Johnson and PACUR

Courtesy of Jud Lounsbury comes this little gem about Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson:

PACUR was actually a spin-off company of another plastics company called Curwood, which was co-founded by Howard Curler (Ron Johnson’s father-in-law) in 1958.

Howard Curler was a giant in the plastics industry. In the late 1960s, he led a merger with the huge multinational corporation, the Bemis Company, but stayed on as president of Curwood. From 1978 to the early 1990s, Howard Curler would be CEO of Bemis. (Today, Howard Curler’s son, Jeffrey Curler is president and CEO of the Bemis Company.)

Howard Curler’s other son, Pat Curler, headed-up the spin-off company, which started in 1977 and was named PACUR, as a shortening of Pat Curler’s name. For many years PACUR’s only “client” was “selling” plastic products to parent company, Curwood.

In 1979, when Ron Johnson was 24, he accepted an offer to join his wife’s family’s plastic business, moved to Wisconsin, and worked in the PACUR company under his brother-in-law, Pat Curler.

This is exactly how it happened, but if you just learned about Johnson from media coverage and Johnson’s campaign, you would be led to believe (as I was) that an entreprenurial Johnson was a “self-made man” that started a plastics company in Oshkosh.

For example, the NRSC likes to refer to Johnson as an “entrepreneur” and a on a recent campaign trip to LaCrosse, GOP State Rep. Mike Huebsch introduced Johnson as someone that “built a successful manufacturing company from scratch.”

This is simply not true.

The reality is that Ron Johnson lucked-out by marrying Howard Curler’s daughter, but that doesn’t make him an entrepreneur and a business-dynamo, that makes him lucky.

So here’s two incontrovertible facts about Ron Johnson and PACUR:

  • PACUR was founded in 1977 in Wisconsin by Pat Curley
  • Ron Johnson and his wife (Pat Curley’s sister) didn’t move to Wisconsin until 1979

So if PACUR was founded in 1977 in Wisconsin and Ron Johnson didn’t move to Wisconsin until 1979, how could Ron Johnson have “founded” PACUR, as his official bio indicates?

I’d love to hear someone explain how Ron Johnson could have founded a company in a state he didn’t move to until two years after the company was supposedly founded by a completely different person.


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62 thoughts on “The truth about Ron Johnson and PACUR

  1. Lefties hate successful business owners? That’s just silly. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I think successful business owners benefit society most by staying where they are. They are profit-oriented and good at maximizing profits – let them keep at it. Government is not about profit in the monetary sense. Its about balancing interests and writing and enforcing the rules that maintain that balance. If you let the most profit-hungry people write and enforce the rules, well, the results will likely be very beneficial for them, but not for everybody else. The Ron Johnsons of the world will continue to do very well… Russ Feingold is about as principled and honest a politician as you’ll ever find.

  2. “Russ Feingold is about as principled and honest a politician as you’ll ever find.”

    Amen to that. I can understand people being upset with many things about this country and its politicians, but why would you vote for someone about whom you know virtually nothing? You would do less harm by simply staying home on election day than voting for Johnson. How much do you think a guy who can spend 15 million bucks on his own election has in common with the little guy? He really hasn’t explained this at all nor has he given any concrete plans as to how he would change the policies with which he disagrees. Is it enough to form a platform, if one can call it that, on negativity alone? How about an actual idea? Feingold is indeed a lawyer but he is also a constitutional scholar. I have to wonder whether Ron, who has a mere bachelor’s degree in accounting, has ever read the Constitution. But alas they never ask questions like this during debates.

  3. This is how family businesses have been grown and handed down for generations. Example: Pabst Brewing Co was not founded by Captain Frederick Pabst, but by his wife’s grandfather, Jacob Best, as Empire Brewery. In a series of direct transactions, Empire Brewery became Best and Company, then Pabst.

  4. In response to the picking yourself up by your own bootstraps comments, If you take time to really pick apart how anyone becomes successful , no one has ever become successful by themselves, even Jesus had connections. Think about it if a person makes it in this world it is due to some sort of fortune. Supportive family, DNA, luck, or affirmative action what ever.
    The one thing that scares me the most is the haves keep getting richer , more -more-more, and the have nots are holding steady,just barely.The haves keep upping their profit at any cost. It is sorta like a tree, if you don’t feed the roots the rest of the tree will die. The haves will kill themselves and everyone else with their greed. It was noticible when folks who thought they needed two or three houses couldn’t find anyone to buy the extra’s . Oh well. Yes we need profits companies need to grow, but how much is necessary ? Yes we need living wages but how much do we need to live on? Somethings got to give.

  5. Hopefully people will go to and make calls for Senator Feingold. For anyone who missed the debates between Feingold and Johnson Feingold was very precise in detailing what he would support as a senator and what he has done for Wisconsin and the country. Johnson could not offer any specific solutions and had no handle on some of the questions and issues beyond remouthing the same old Republican stance about lowering taxes (didn’t mention whose taxes would be lowered), going after social security (tell those retirees how well wall street has performed for them, and getting rid of those pesky regulations (oil drilling in the great lakes anyone?)
    Not only is his hypocrisy astounding but his non-policies are very disturbing.

  6. This man would be just like the other Johnson from Green Bay who was a one term congressman.. LAME DUCK!

  7. Seems to me there is a lot of he said she said comments directed towards union or non-union shops. That’s not the point. The real truth is that some shops which recognize their people as assets and pay them as such don’t need unions. On the other hand some don’t and see their employees a nothing more then a number that can be manipulated and treated as nothing more then dog-shit with no real value to the Company do. Listen nobody cares to shell out $ for union dues but must to afford a decent working environment with their Company. Unions are a product of poor management!

  8. Sorry folks but you lost your a*s last November 2nd. Hopefully the new team will strip all the pork from our state government, stand up to the teachers union and clean up the DNR. I love my state but I’m tired of $500/month in property taxes. Time will tell…

  9. I’m sorry Doug. My exuberance got the best of me. I had enough of the rants about Republicans and thought I’d poke a stick in the eye of some ranters, apparently you included. As to your question, no, Senator-Elect Johnson probably won’t directly lower your Madison property taxes. But the GOP wins across the state, his included, has embolden those that set policy. So indirectly his win will be a positive for you, if you like lower taxes and less intrusion.

    1. And I’d love to hear you explain how the Patriot Act that Republicans supported so wholeheartedly didn’t constitute more government intrusion.

    2. Randy, I actually think taxes should be much more progressive – like back in the fifties, when the U.S. was an economic powerhouse, and we had a top bracket of 90%. We also had Glass-Steagall restrictions on the financial sector, and lots of tariffs (protectionism!), and strong unions. It was a real nightmare – a single person with a normal job could support a family and put a couple of kids through college. The Republicans are almost through with their thirty-year project of undoing all that. I will admit they’ve had plenty of help from the Democrats (the “far left,” most of whom would be conservatives in other western countries). And look at what its gotten us – The economy is in the toilet, extremes of wealth and poverty keep increasing, tens of millions of jobs have been shipped overseas by our patriotic business leaders…

      So, I guess I don’t care about low taxes. You wince a bit and pay them. The idea is that they will buy you a decent society. We’ve been cutting taxes for years, and society isn’t getting more decent. There are plenty of examples of countries with “high” taxes that have higher standards of living, better health, etc. There’s no reason the U.S. can’t be that way too, but we won’t get there through tax cuts.

      As for less intrusion, that isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat thing. What does it mean, anyway? Are speed limits intrusive? Is it intrusive to require doctors to have a medical license? Life is filled with intrusions, and they are overwhelmingly there to protect our liberty, as in people are not free to drive 50 mph on residential streets or dump toxic waste into a river. They are at liberty to drive 25, though, and to process their pollution in a legally acceptable way. Liberty is where its at, and it doesn’t emerge from the marketplace, no matter how often people insist that it does.

      To me, when a Republican says “less intrusive,” I take that to mean “we’ll put the needs of business at the center of everything, and give business the freedom to do what it wants, and then we’ll externalize the resulting costs.” I think business is great, but business needs to submit to the constraints of liberty just like everyone else. Sorry about the intrusion…

  10. Lower taxes and less intrusion… Lower taxes and less intrusion….

    Geez, if you repeat it often enough, you might actually start to believe that this particular mantra constitutes an actual idea, an actual policy.

    It will not be long before those who backed the “party of no” will have nothing themselves, and that includes jobs.

  11. If we get lower taxes and less intrusion as a result of the republican gains across the state, then I welcome that. It would however, go against what republicans have done for the last 40 years. So I hope they do change course, but forgive me if im not too optimistic!

  12. From PACUR website:

    In 1977, Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies (WISS) was established in New London, WI. WISS manufactured pallets and distributed other shipping supply products from its New London facility. In 1979 WISS was restructured and renamed Pacur, Inc. when it built its plastic extrusion facility in Oshkosh, WI. The shipping supplies portion of the business was eventually sold.

  13. I worked at Pacur and got paid $9.00/hr. They worked us 7 days a week 12 hour days(which was the only way to get by) and got off about 4 days a month.

  14. I know that Senator Johnson is a loving caring man. He started his own company and was kind enough to name it after his brother-in-law. If I were he, I would have called it Johnson’s, or RJ’s or Ron Johns but I would have never been kind enough to name it after my brother-in-law even though all of the money came from the father-in-law and I (Ron) started working there 2 years after the company was initiated. NOTE: Lucky to have your Father-in-law as your primary sales outlet.

    1. You might want to read a little more, because the company is called PACUR because it was founded by Pat Curley before Ron Johnson even lived in Wisconsin.

  15. Thanks for renewing this thread for those of us who are new to BB as well as for those who had forgotten how phony Johnson is. He’s a “rags to riches” guy by marriage.

  16. Pacur company is crap factory. Treats their employees like freakin dogs. I refuse to be treated like a dog . I don’t show up . TIT FOR TAT . See if I care . I don’t need a factory job as s reference. NO BRAINER SHIT U DO

  17. Thanks so much for the insightful truth about Ron Johnson. He came across to me as a phony Republican who likes to brag about his company. Most people who started something great, don’t feel the need to talk about it 24/7. I had a feeling that he married into his fabulous success.

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