Olivet names new chair for Department of Engineering
Monday, July 2, 2012
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Olivet Nazarene University announced the appointment of Kenneth E. Johnson as the new chair of the Department of Engineering, effective July 1. Johnson comes to Olivet from successful executive and research positions in the field of entrepreneurial engineering.

"Johnson’s wealth of technical and managerial experience will be great assets for our Department of Engineering and the university," said Dennis J. Crocker, dean of Olivet’s School of Professional Studies. "His natural curiosity and creative nature, combined with his people and presentation skills, are a winning combination to serve our students."

As a professor and department chair, Johnson will be in the classroom to bring the latest in technological innovations, as well as preparation for internships and careers, to Olivet students. He will also work closely with faculty members as they develop plans and strategies for curriculum, admissions, marketing, and other departmental activities. 

Johnson earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with emphasis in micro structures, additive manufacturing, and solid state joining, from the Wolfson School, Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. His Master’s of Engineering in manufacturing, with emphasis in lean manufacturing, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics, was granted by the University of Michigan. 

A native of Swaziland during his childhood years, Johnson has long had a heart for overseas missions. He served with several Work and Witness mission teams through the Church of the Nazarene and looks forward to leading mission teams for Olivet students in the area of engineering compassionate aid.

Most recently, Johnson was senior researcher and president of Solidica, Inc., in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Solidica is a developer of wireless systems that works with a variety of aerospace, automotive, industrial, medical, and construction companies. While at Solidica, he led a $20 million dollar product development expansion that culminated in new product launches in both advanced intermetallic materials and next-generation vehicle telematics. During his tenure, the company significantly expanded its customer base to a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to working with Solidica, Johnson served as commercialization executive for Delphi Corporation in Troy, Michigan. He was responsible for seven unique technology segments while also serving as technical program lead for a high profile spinout venture based on an advanced solid state joining technology for automotive and aerospace body structures known as deformation resistance welding.

Johnson also served as executive director for Technology Research Corporation; advanced technology program manager for the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences; and a principal investigator for several research and development programs sponsored through federal and state government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation. He was also a guest lecturer at Africa Nazarene University, Clemson University, and Eastern Michigan University.

A member of ASM International, he holds two patents related to ultrasonic welding technology. His awards include the 2010 Corp! Magazine Science and Technology Award; speaker recognition from the Society of Automotive Engineers in 2008; and recognition for valuable contributions by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 2007. His technology and business articles appeared in several publications, including Journal of Materials, Materials Science and Engineering, Crain’s Detroit Business, Welding Design and Fabrication, and Technology Business. He presented several times at AeroMat conferences and expositions, as well as several other professional meetings in England, Germany, Kenya, and the Philippines.

He and his wife, Jennifer, both received bachelor’s degrees — he in engineering and she in biology — from Olivet in 1993. They are the parents of four children: Sydney, Erick, Luke, and Bethany.
--Olivet Nazarene University
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