Five years ago, US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine ran a story with a headline that's proving quite prophetic. "This Soldier Won't Fade Away" was the profile of Ronald Johnson, the kid from the south side of Chicago who grew up to be deputy commanding general of the US Army Corps of Engineers and head the world's largest public engineering and construction management agency with some 35,000 civilian and military employees.
Johnson retired in 2008 and went on to serve the National Basketball Association as the first senior vice president of Referee Operations from July 2008 until July 2012. Recently, the retired 2-star Army General was tapped for a new position.
Ronald L. Johnson, retired 2-Star Army General and graduate of the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE), has accepted a joint appointment at Georgia Tech. Effective January 2, 2013, he will serve as a Professor of Practice in ISyE, and the Managing Director of the Tennenbaum Institute (TI).
The Tennenbaum Institute, the first multi-disciplinary center of its kind, uniting academic, government and corporate experts to create industry-shaping business models to deal with real, large-scale enterprise transformation, is an integral part of Georgia Tech's Institute for People and Technology (IPaT). In Johnsonís role as TI Managing Director and member of IPaT's leadership team, he will provide overall administrative oversight for TI as well as engage and expand relationships with industry and government partners to provide knowledge and skills for enterprise transformation, engage in research and economic development, and coordinate with other Georgia Tech Interdisciplinary Research Institutes and their staff. Associate Professor Rahul Basole continues his role as Associate Director for enterprise transformation research where his principal objective is to define a research program for enterprise transformation that will grow interdisciplinary research in enterprise transformation at Georgia Tech and internationally.
As a Professor of the Practice in ISyE, Johnson will use his substantial experience and extensive background to assist the School in identifying teaching and research opportunities that support the public interest and societal needs. He will teach a couple of courses, advise students, and work with faculty on projects and research.
Johnson is well equipped to fulfill both roles. He received his bachelorís degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and his masterís in operations research from ISyE in 1985. Most recently, Johnson served as the National Basketball Associationís (NBA) first Senior Vice President of Referee Operations from July 2008 until July 2012. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of the NBAís officiating program, including recruiting, training and development, scheduling, data management and analysis, and work rules enforcement. Johnsonís quantitative skills in areas such as systems analysis, processes, and operations were critical in evaluating officiating performance and improving play-calling and the overall evaluation process. Johnson's has a deep passion for sports and sports analytics - - the use of data to improve performance and to gain a competitive edge.
Prior to his work with the NBA, Johnson held an illustrious 32 year career in the U.S. Army where he held the title of deputy commanding general and deputy chief of engineers, the second highest-ranking senior engineer staff officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
From October 2005 until his retirement in April 2008, Johnson was assisting the chief of engineers in maintaining Army Staff oversight for organizing, training, and equipping 70,000 engineer soldiers in the active and reserve components and USACE. He additionally served as the principal engineer advisor to the chief of staff of the Army.
Prior to his appointment to this command, he served as the director of the U.S. Army Installation Management Agency (IMA). Johnson also served as the commander of USACEís Gulf Region Division (GRD) and U.S. deputy director of the Program Management Office (PMO) in Iraq where he oversaw an $18.4 Billion reconstruction program in Iraq. In June 2003, Johnson was named director of military programs and G3 for the USACE in which he was directly responsible for oversight of the Armyís Military Construction, Real Estate Services and Environmental Programs. Additional previous command assignments included: Commanding General, Pacific Ocean Division, USACE; Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Engineer School/Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center; Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army; Brigade Commander, 130th Engineer Brigade, V Corps, Germany; Senior Aide to the Secretary of the Army; and Battalion Commander in both Fort Lewis, WA and Fort Ord, CA.
Johnsonís awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star, Legion of Merit (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters), Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, and the Recruiter Badge. He is also the recipient of the 2003 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement in Government Service, an inductee into the 2005 Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni at Georgia Tech, and the recipient of the 2008 Black Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award.
Johnson serves on the Executive Advisory Council of Mission: Readiness, the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board, and is a Trustee on the Georgia Tech Foundation. He is a past member of the Georgia Tech Presidentís Advisory Board. A devoted philanthropist, he has FOUR scholarships - - two scholarships endowed in his name at Georgia Tech, and another one at West Point, that bears the name of a fellow Soldier, who recently passed away. Johnson also has a room named for him in the Clough Student Center at Georgia Tech. Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of Leave No Veteran Behind and is an Advisor to the Rushman-Micah Foundation, both 501 (c)(3) nonprofits.