Junior Achievement | Central Illinois Business Hall of Fame
John Wieland

John Wieland

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MH Equipment

John was born in Fort Sill OK, as his dad served as a doctor in the United States Army. John’s childhood was centered in Jerseyville IL where his mom decided to retire from nursing to invest all her time to raise their four children. John went to college at Western Illinois University where he majored in accounting and passed the CPA exams before graduating. Two more significant events happened to John while in college. He met a young lady named Julie Rahn, and he became a follower of Jesus Christ. After college, John spent 1½ years working in the Quad Cities, before moving to Peoria in the hopes of convincing Julie to marry him. The gamble paid off. Julie agreed to marry John and he continued his accounting career with Peat Marwick (KPMG) as an auditor. John spent 8 productive years at Peat Marwick where he audited the company he would ultimately buy. In 1988, John accepted Tom Spurgeon’s invitation to become the CFO of Lincoln Office. Tom was gracious to John and gave him an opportunity to be a minority shareholder which turned out to be the seed money he would need for a future opportunity.

John and Julie purchased MH Equipment, a small, virtually bankrupt, company in 1994. Since then, MH has grown from a small material handling dealer with 50 employees to of one of the largest dealerships in North America with close to 1,000 employees. Starting with 3 branches in 2 states, MH now serves customers from over 30 branches in 10 states. Following in Tom Spurgeon’s footsteps, John has given ownership opportunities to a dozen of his leaders.

John recently wrote a book – Uncommon Threads – Weaving a Life Through Family, Business, and Faith. The book is a powerful combination of storytelling, honest self-deprecating, and informative illustrations taking readers on a journey that details John’s experiences and thoughts when it comes to family, business, leadership, faith, community, kindness, and humility. John shares his business principles; unabashedly shares the mistakes he’s made along the way and asks useful questions that will serve as a primer for anyone wanting to live a successful and fulfilling life without losing their perspective on what success really means.

John is the President of His First Foundation that is funded through 10% of the net income of MH Equipment. John also serves on several boards, teaches college graduates how to handle money responsibly, is a speaker and guest preacher from time to time, is an Elder at Grace Presbyterian Church and enjoys teaching Sunday School. He and his wife Julie have four adult children and one granddaughter. John promotes that he still plays basketball, but considering he doesn’t run, jump, or cut, his friends question the validity of the word “play”.

John is deeply appreciative for the support and grace he receives from Julie, his children, his forum group, extended family, the MH Team, and friends. But more than anything he appreciates the Grace, Love, Mercy, and Peace he receives from being a follower of Jesus Christ.

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