As auto industry thrives in the state, Tennessee Tech alumnus, Nissan VP reflects on experiences | UCBJ

COOKEVILLE – When David Johnson came to Tennessee Tech College and begun researching civil engineering, he experienced no idea it would direct to a 20-year job with Nissan North America or his present-day posture as senior vice president of production and offer chain management with the business. 

“In my civil engineering background, I did a whole lot of common infrastructures, and I always experienced this aspiration to perform for NASA. It was a aspiration, but I claimed I was likely to go back again to school and study aerospace, but as I explored close to on what I really desired to do for NASA, it led me again to Tech,” he claimed. “It sooner or later allowed me to function with NASA through exploration, which ultimately propelled me into the automotive area.”

Johnson graduated from Tech in 1998 with a bachelor’s diploma in civil engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2002. He went on to acquire an govt master’s diploma in business enterprise from Vanderbilt University.

Now he is passionate about the automotive field and in which the industry is headed. He stated that STEM (Science, Know-how, Engineering and Math) capabilities perform a important element in driving where by the industry is headed in electrification and autonomous attributes. 

“We’ve got to commence STEM instruction young we got to get men and women hooked on science, technological know-how, engineering, and math. Why? Since it is interesting it enables you to make matters it permits you to transform technologies to assistance mankind as we go forward,” Johnson claimed. “For me, it is just the enthusiasm to support make the earth a superior position to be a section of the know-how that is heading to generate that is the cause people today really should be in STEM.”

When speaking about the degree programs that Tech delivers in STEM, Johnson said Tech supplies the critical to achievement is understanding the sensible application of understanding. 

“Tech is not an institution that is intensely based mostly on just providing you idea. It’s how is it applied, how is it applied in a practical sense in the serious world so you can go and do a little something with it,” he said. “You do not get that in each institution that you go to.” 

“Tech is functional. The analysis that is carried out from Tech, from my encounter, is extremely practical as nicely, which definitely positions you good to go into the marketplace, any sector, to make a favourable impact from working day a single. You previously have some of the main techniques that are going to enable just take that classroom studying and convert it into action to make what ever it is you are functioning on productive, and a minimal bit far better tomorrow than it was the future working day,” he said. 

He obtained this STEM skillset and has been capable to switch it into a lifelong vocation at Nissan. Immediately after owning 20 many years of expertise in world-wide manufacturing, sophisticated technology and people-centric leadership. Johnson is now accountable for running all aspects of Nissan’s manufacturing and supply chain operation in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

“In the automotive marketplace, a single of the factors that helps make it so wonderful is I can get validation of the team’s efforts every single working day just by going for walks throughout a parking ton. Why? Simply because our solution is there. I can have immediate conversation with our customers and see the smile on their faces that they are satisfied with the merchandise that we pour a large amount of electrical power and time into,” he explained. “There is a sense of pleasure that I just really do not assume you can get in mass in the way you get in the automotive industry.”