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Craig Harper, Johnnie Hunt and Good ChemistryLock Icon

2 min read

You might wonder how Craig Harper abandoned a career as a dentist and wound up in the executive suite of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell. 

Harper, born and raised in Little Rock, attended the University of Arkansas and majored in chemistry before attending dental school in Tennessee, where he quickly learned he had no interest in becoming a dentist. Harper, though, kept at dental school and graduated but never practiced.

Harper became a stockbroker instead and worked at numerous companies and was CEO of Rineco Chemicals Industries when a carrier the company used was bought by J.B. Hunt. J.B. Hunt, though, apparently didn’t get proper permits to handle hazardous waste in New York state and was faced with “service failures.”

Harper picked up the phone and called Johnnie Hunt, the founder of J.B. Hunt, and told him “you need to get somebody who understands the hazardous waste business.”

You can see the plot twist here: The man Johnnie Hunt chose was Harper himself.

“I was working here four weeks later,” Harper said. “It has been a great run.”

Harper proved a wise hire, eventually becoming the company’s longtime chief operating officer before taking the role of chief sustainability officer in 2020.

“Give Mr. Hunt credit, I got through to him,” Harper said. “Mr. Hunt, I don’t think he knew my name for a while when I worked here, but he called everybody ‘Easy Money.’ That’s like saying ‘Hey, you.’”

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