Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Spring 2007

Retired professor returns to the academic world to spark entrepreneurial fires

Because a retired entrepreneur and educator was coaxed out of retirement by Dean Douglas D. Anderson, more Utah State graduates may be able to stay and work in Utah.

John D. Johnson

John Johnson

John D. Johnson was recruited to head the Department of Management Information Systems last summer. He was drafted, however, in part, because of the entrepreneurial ideas he could bring to the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business .

Dr. Johnson was a tenured professor at the University of Mississippi when he and three others founded FNC, Inc., in 1995. The company develops software that streamlines loan processing for some of the nation’s largest lenders. By 2005, the company had produced $29 million in sales and was employing more than 300 people.

"We created a new market, a totally new market," Dr. Johnson said. "We changed the way banks think about collateral and that was a focus. We really wanted to be the Bloomberg of the mortgage industry."

Dr. Johnson had retired but this summer was asked to meet with Dean Anderson, USU Professor David Olsen and Darwin John at the New Yorker Club in Salt Lake City. Dr. Johnson said Dean Anderson has a great reputation. Darwin John is chairman of the BIS Advisory Council.

"Once I met him, I figured we had a lot of common interests, especially this focus he had on entrepreneurship," Dr. Johnson said of the dean. "We talked about the fact that one of the problems we have at Utah State is that the students who go here often want to stay in the state of Utah but have to move out of state to get work."

Dr. Johnson explained that students who graduate with strong entrepreneurial skills will be better prepared to create new businesses and to fuel the success of smaller local established businesses. Dr. Johnson’s entrepreneurial ideas and expertise have already sparked discussions about some significant new initiatives that the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business can launch to fuel the entrepreneurial fires within students.

"The immergence of high-tech industry in the area can help provide jobs," Dr. Johnson said. "Essentially what we do at the university is build human capital, and human capital is the foundation of a startup company."

Dr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Weber State University in 1983 and his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1987.