2006 Distinguished Alumnus: W. Donald “Don” Johnson
W. Donald “Don” Johnson was selected as the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus by the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS). He was recognized at a university-wide awards program and at the PAMS Awards dinner, surrounded by family.
“Don is an esteemed alumnus of our College, a distinguished figure in his profession, and a leader at the highest levels of one of the world’s most prominent, innovative companies,” said Daniel L. Solomon, dean of PAMS.
Johnson was raised on a farm in Buies Creek, North Carolina. He attended Campbell University for two years before transferring to NC State in 1967. He graduated summa cum laude in applied mathematics in 1969, and went on to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1971, and a PhD in mechanical engineering in 1974.
He began his career with DuPont in 1974 at a plant in Kinston, and has been with the company ever since. He has held numerous positions in management, and has held key positions associated with several of the company’s key product lines, including Dacron polyester, Tyvek and Teflon.
Johnson held corporate strategy and business development assignments at corporate headquarters in Wilmington , Delaware , before relocating to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1992 where he had responsibility for the European Nonwovens and Advanced Fiber Systems businesses. In 1994 he became global business director for Kevlar and relocated to Richmond, Virginia.
Two years later, Johnson became managing director and general manager for DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems, and in 1997 he became vice president and general manager of this same unit. Later that year, he became vice president and general manager for DuPont Nylon in North America with responsibility for all of the DuPont nylon fiber and intermediates business in North America and for the DuPont Flooring business worldwide.
In 1999, he became group vice president – Nylon Worldwide. In 2001 he was named group vice president for DuPont Operations & Services. In 2004, he was named group vice president for DuPont Global Operations & Engineering, which consolidated all global operations and engineering into one unit.
Johnson was named to his current position in April 2006. He now serves as chairman and representative director for DuPont – Japan.
Johnson has played an active role in serving his community. He has held positions on the boards of directors for the Delaware Heart Association and the Delaware United Way. He has served his profession through director and chair positions with the American Manmade Fibers Association.
Always remaining close to NC State, Johnson has served as vice president, and currently as president, of the NCSU Physical and Mathematical Sciences Foundation board of directors, and has been a member of the board since 1998. He also is a member of the Chancellor’s Circle and has given generously to programs of the College.