About John

My relationship with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) all began when I was 73 years old, happily married to Cherie, my wife for 50 years. After graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, I spent the next 46 years working in the steel industry. Beginning as a graduate trainee, I steadily progressed through various levels of supervision, and ultimately secured a senior executive position as Vice President of Manufacturing Globally.

John Hemmingsen - Giftes Life, A Healing Odyssey

The last 33 years of my career were with Esco Corporation where I was a senior executive in charge of manufacturing worldwide. I spent a major portion of the last 11 years of my long career working in China to establish the company there. The impact of those years inspired me to write a book with Cherie in 2009, 2000 Days in China (1998-2009), wherein we relate our memorable experiences during that time.

I found my work both challenging and rewarding. I worked at least 3000 hours per year over the course of my long career. That’s about 35% more than the usual 40-hour work week. In fact, in 1966 while managing a large project, I worked 12 to 14-hour days for 300 days in a row - without any time off!

Thinking back to those times, I wonder how much this “dirty industry,” as the steel industry was called then, contributed to my disease. It was not until the mid 70’s that the steel industry in North America began to clean up its act. The industrial pollution in China that I lived in for 11 years was far worse than anything I had ever known before. But China’s environmental regulations were virtually non-existent at that time.

The huge Thank You to my editor Lucretia Schanfarber who spend many long hours going over my notes and making me look good! Thank you Lu!