Born in Steubenville, Ohio, he grew up during the Depression in northern West Virginia and Fredericksburg, Va. His education at the Houston School of Business was interrupted when he joined the Active Force Reserve unit in Pittsburgh, Pa. His served in the Army from 1951 to 1954, including serving on a combat signal team in the Far East with great distinction.
Rangos began his career with Rockwell Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, where he distinguished himself by becoming the youngest general agent in company history. He formed several companies in the 1960’s, and pioneered technological advances in the transportation and disposal of industrial waste. He founded Chambers Development Inc. in 1971, a firm that provided waste treatment services; developed commercial recycling programs; and broke ground with specially lined, layered landfills to protect groundwater supplies.
Together with his sons, Alex and John Jr., Rangos advocated standards for regional sanitation sites that resolved many environmental concerns nationwide. In October 1991, Chambers Development owned and operated a number of large regional landfills, worth a reported market value of $1.7 billion. Chambers went public and, in 1995, was merged with USA Waste, then the country’s second largest waste management company. Rangos served as vice chairman of USA Waste, during which time Waste Management Inc., the country’s largest trash hauler, acquired USA Waste. That merger in 1998 has proven to be a major continued success.
Rangos also founded U.S. Utilities in the mid-1960s. A precursor to Chambers Development, USU was part of a conglomerate, which eventually became part of Chambers. USU subcontracted with Stone & Webster (now part of the Shaw Group), a major engineering services firm, to help build atomic energy plants.
Together with his partner Ian McLennan, a respected FBI agent, Rangos cofounded Security Bureau Inc., one of the most prominent security companies in the country, in the mid-1970s. SBI guarded everything from banks and shopping centers to industrial and atomic energy plants. It grew into a company with a license in every state in the Union, and was eventually sold for more than $40 million.
Rangos has three children and three grandchildren. He founded and directs the John G. Rangos Sr. Family Charitable Foundation. He is also the former president and founder of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and the founder and chairman emeritus of International Orthodox Christian Charities. He sits on numerous boards, and the Rangos Foundation supports medical research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of the world’s finest pediatric care centers, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he established an innovative new program which invites and challenges the brightest young minds at Johns Hopkins to find a cure to metastatic cancer.