Ronald Johnson

Adjunct Professor of the Practice


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  • EdD Higher Education Management in Leadership (2023), University of Georgia
  • M.S. Strategic Planning (1990), School of Advanced Military Studies
  • M.S. Operations Research (1985), Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering ; Mathematics (1976), United States Military Academy at West Point


Ronald L. Johnson is a Adjunct Professor of the Practice in ISyE.

Prior to joining faculty at Georgia Tech, Retired Major General Ronald L. Johnson was the National Basketball Association’s first Senior Vice President, Referee Operations from July 2008 until July 2012. He was responsible for all aspects of the NBA’s officiating program, including recruiting, training and development, scheduling, data management and analysis, and work rules enforcement.

Prior to joining the NBA, General Johnson served as the deputy commanding general and deputy chief of engineers (COO), the second highest-ranking senior engineer staff officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). He retired in April 2008 after serving 32 years of military service.

From October 2005 until his retirement, 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). As the largest field-operating agency in the Army, the IMA manages all of the Army’s 181 installations worldwide with over 80,000 military and civilian personnel. Johnson was responsible for executing Headquarters; Department of the Army policy, guidance, and programs; and exercised authority for an $8 billion annual budget for all agency functions.

Johnson also served as the commander of USACE’s Gulf Region Division (GRD) and U.S. deputy director of the Program Management Office (PMO) in Iraq, where he was responsible for $18.4 billion of reconstruction in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was responsible for approximately 2,000 Soldiers, seamen, airmen, Marines, civilians, and Iraqi nationals who were involved in executing the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund Program.

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 Army’s Military Construction, Real Estate Services and Environmental Programs. He provided expert architectural engineering and design services to USAID, Department of State, and other agencies.

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; Battalion Commander in both Fort Lewis, Wash. and Fort Ord, Calif; and Assistant Professor and Course Director Freshman Mathematics (Calculus) at West Point.

Johnson’s 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.

Ron is the former Managing Director of the Tennenbaum Institute of Enterprise Transformation at Georgia Tech. 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. Ron Johnson serves on the Georgia Tech President’s Strategic Planning Advisory Group, the Tennenbaum Institute’s Advisory Board, the Executive Advisory Council of Mission: Readiness, the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board and is a Trustee for the Georgia Tech Foundation. He has two scholarships endowed in his name at Georgia Tech and one at West Point, which he named in honor of a friend who passed, and a room named for him in the Clough Student Center at Georgia Tech. Ron also served on the Board of Directors of Leave No Veteran Behind and as an Advisor to the Rushman-Micah Foundation, both 501 (c)(3) nonprofits. General Johnson is the former Secretary of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries, International and is a current board member for the organization. He was recently selected as a National Trustee for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

A native of Chicago, Ill, Johnson currently resides in Atlanta, GA. He is the proud father of a 26-year-old son named Ian.

Awards and Honors

  • Black Engineer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award 2008
  • Virginia Tech Vecellio Distinguished Lecturer 2005-2006
  • Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni 1985-2005