The California region of an international engineering society has named Riverside County’s second-ranking administrator as the 2014 outstanding civil engineer in California’s public sector.
George A. Johnson began his career with Riverside County in 1991 as a civil engineer in the Transportation Department. He later headed the county Transportation Department and directed all county transportation and land-use functions before taking over the No. 2 spot in the county Executive Office in May 2012, chosen by Executive Officer Jay Orr.
His nomination for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) award notes that Johnson’s enthusiasm and collaborative style in land-use planning, transportation infrastructure and habitat protection have helped the county maintain a quality of life that residents expect and deserve.
“George’s engineering skills and common sense help him deal with people on a personal level in order to solve problems and be innovative,” said John Rogers, 2013-14 vice president of society’s branch in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. “Most importantly, his efforts help advance projects that are always geared toward improving the community.”
Through the years, Johnson’s work has focused on a multitude of projects. He oversaw construction of freeway interchanges and the replacement of aging bridges throughout the county. He was the lead county staff member in creating the Temecula Wine Country Community Plan, which serves as a guide for developing Temecula Wine Country into a world-class wine region. He helped develop an education building at the Riverside County Medical Center and implement a county general-plan overhaul that established new transportation corridors and a created a nationally recognized multispecies habitat conservation plan. He now helps oversee expansion of the county's jail system and master plan, which includes construction of a $300 million, 1,600-bed jail in Indio.
Johnson received the award Friday (March 6) in San Diego at a ceremony the society held in conjunction with a statewide infrastructure symposium on water-supply and transportation issues. He received the award at the local and regional level before being honored statewide. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1984, and earned a master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from California Baptist University, Riverside in 2014.
ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society, founded in 1852, and has 145,000 members in 174 countries.