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When the General Motors plant in Janesville ceased production just two daysbefore Christmas in 2008, many people and experts predicted it would put a perpetual lump of coal under the city’s business tree. 

Nearly 15 years later, that has not been the case.

Larry Squire Larry Squire is one of the people who helped make sure that didn’t happen.

Squire is the Regional President for the Southcentral region of Johnson Bank Wisconsin.

He has held the position since 2004. On Wednesday, Squire will retire. Mark Gregory, who has been with Johnson Financial Group since 2005, will take his place.

Larry Squire


Squire has supervised Johnson’s banks in Janesville, Fort Atkinson and Mukwonago while regional president. Sitting behind a desk does not begin to describe his job responsibilities.

“Grow the business, take care of our clients, take care of our associates, be part of the community,” Squire said when asked about what his job entails.

Johnson Financial Group is based out of Racine and is split into six regions throughout the state.

One of the financial group’s most challenging times in the Southcentral region came when GM closed its Janesville production plant. The factory-based community lost 2,800 factory jobs and at least 3,000 additional jobs at GM suppliers like Lear Corp. and retail businesses the depended on local consumers.

“We were fortunate that we were part of the Johnson family that owned S.C. Johnson, Johnson Wax,” Squire said. “We fought through it; we stayed solid as an organization and came out the other side ready to rock and roll.”

Squire said Johnson Bank had to understand what was going on in Janesville when the community was hit not only with the GM plant closing but the foreclosure crisis and recession.

“It was a difficult time,” the University of Wisconsin graduate said.

Squire earned the Forward Janesville Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. The native of Burlington who grew up in a farming family and graduated from the UW with a degree in agri-business, was honored for his work as a community leader.

“We can’t be successful if the community isn’t successful,” Squire said.

“We have to be part of the community. “We have to be part of solving the problems, looking for new opportunities. That is why a number of people here in Johnson Bank are involved in community organizations like Forward Janesville.”

One of the projects Squire is involved in is ARISENow, a private-public partnership formed in 2016 that has produced many improvements along Janesville’s downtown riverfront.

“It’s enjoyable to be part of projects that transform a community,” Squire said. “To reshape it, give it energy. That is what you want to be part of.”

Squire and his wife, Cindy, plan to continue to do that after he retires from Johnson Bank on Wednesday. The couple will observe their 41st wedding anniversary Aug. 7.

“This is still our home without a doubt,” Squire said. “We have a son (Joel) and granddaughter here; a daughter (Laura) in Milwaukee and a son (Greg) and his family in central Michigan.

“We’ve been here for 33 years, so this home. We’ll just pick our spots where we want to continue to be involved in the community.”

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