Charlie W. Johnson, Entrepreneur
Charlie W. Johnson is chairman and CEO of CW Johnson Xpress, a Louisville-based trucking company. A one-time professional football player with the San Francisco 49ers, Johnson is a former Ford Motor Company employee and a nationally renowned entrepreneur. His firm, Active Transportation, has been listed among the Top 100 Black-Owned Firms in the United States, as compiled by Black Enterprise magazine.
Since 1984, Johnson has built a quartet of businesses hauling everything from steel and turbines to heavy trucks. In 2000, Active Transportation had revenues in excess of $500 million, and Johnson successfully closed on the sale of his holdings. In his newest venture, C.W. Johnson Xpress, he has developed a team of transportation specialists that oversees the day-to-day operations.
In addition to his role as businessman, Johnson is a noted philanthropist and civic leader. He serves on several boards, including those of PNC Bank, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Benedict College.
Johnson also seems to have a bit of luck on his side. He won a $200,000 Powerball lottery—then donated the money to Benedict, a small historically black college in Columbia, SC. Johnson, who is chairman of the school’s board of trustees, also gave more than $1 million to help build a new football stadium. The facility was named for him and was dedicated in his honor on September 23, 2006.
- Program 123
- Branding Louisville, the Young Chefs Academy, Science Hill, the McAlpine Locks and Dam, and nationally renowned entrepreneur Charlie W. Johnson. (#123)