Thursday, November 12th, 2015
Executive Expertise, An Executive Touch
A nameplate perched on the edge of Scott Johnson’s desk in Aliber 208 announces him as the office’s occupant via bold, block letters. But Johnson beats the nameplate at its own game most of the time; he’s quick to welcome newcomers at the door with a smile, introductions, and a handshake.
As the College of Business and Public Administration’s (CBPA) first Executive in Residence, Johnson serves as a mentor and advisor to students, helping them evaluate career options and connecting them, along with faculty, to community business leaders.
“I have a personal passion for helping young adults determine what their career path might be and for helping them develop skills and experiences while in school that can better position them for that first job opportunity,” said Johnson, who retired in 2013 from his position as the Iowa-Illinois regional president for Wells Fargo Bank after spending 34 years with the company.
He now splits his time between Des Moines and southeast Iowa, where he and his siblings run the family business. Johnson earned his MBA from Drake and later served on the CBPA’s National Advisory Council and then the Board of Trustees.
“Drake is a very valuable resource and partner in this community,” Johnson said. “The CBPA has created an environment for students to not only get a functional degree but to also gain the skill sets that are necessary to be successful and the skill sets that the business community is looking for.”
Johnson spends about 12 hours a week on campus, meeting with students and faculty, guest lecturing classes, and developing an understanding of CBPA curriculum. He’s also met with the presidents of the campus business fraternities and assisted them with programming and lining up area business professionals as speakers.
Since the program began in late August, Johnson said he’s met one-on-one with 20 students and six faculty members. Any student can pull up Johnson’s Outlook calendar and block off time to meet with him. The most popular request so far, he says, has been helping students connect with business professionals in their specific career path.
As for whether or not Johnson will be back next school year, that’s to be determined.
“I told the [National] Advisory Council that, at the end of May, they should evaluate the program and then move forward from there,” Johnson said. “But two months in, it’s exceeded my expectations. I love it. I hope to do this as long as I add value. ”
—Students who wish to meet with Johnson can stop by his office hours on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 5:30 p.m