Charles E. Wilson was born on July 18, 1890 in Minerva. After earning a degree in electrical engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1909, he joined the Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh before moving to General Motors in Detroit in 1919. By January 1941, Wilson had become president of General Motors, and during World War II directed the company's huge defense production efforts, earning him a U.S. Medal of Merit in 1946. While still with General Motors, President Dwight Eisenhower selected him as secretary of defense in January 1953. During his confirmation hearings, Wilson said, "What was good for the country was good for General Motors and visa versa," but was interpreted as saying solely, "What's good for General Motors is good for America." He served Eisenhower for four years, reorganizing the department of defense to effectively deal with missile and nuclear technology. He died in Norwood, Louisiana, on September 26, 1961.