When Louisiana Tech’s Dr. Donna Johnson earned the 2019 Young Professional of the Year from the Young Professional Initiative (YPI) of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce in December, she said she was “honored” and “in shock,” that winning “was a huge surprise.”
And probably it was. For her.
But it wasn’t to most of those who know her or who’ve worked with her in her position as Assistant Vice President for Academic Advancement and Partnerships at Tech. She joined the University in 2018 and was placed in charge of overseeing the Academic Success Center in Bossier City, the Tech Barksdale Program, and the Tech Shreveport Center, a key role as Tech grows its brand, its services, and its support westward.
“Being selected as the top professional in the 2019 40 Under Forty class brings a spotlight to the advancement efforts I’ve been able to accomplish for higher education in our area,” Johnson said.
Tech is steadily growing its availability to serve the northwest Louisiana population, the Department of Defense (DoD), veterans, and the University’s many industry partners in Shreveport-Bossier City.
“Because Louisiana Tech is a strong educational provider in the North Louisiana region, we are able to bring information and perspective to many initiatives across the community,” Johnson said. “The scope of our capacity to serve is broad. From our involvement related to the I-20 Cyber Corridor, to working with the DoD, to supporting industry partners, to our work with our K-12 partners, Tech seeks to serve the Shreveport/Bossier area in various sectors.”
Tech’s most recently opened location in the Cyber Research Park in Bossier City has quickly become a hub for student support, advanced academic offerings, and community engagement.
“That space, along with Tech Barksdale and our Shreveport Center, are physical locations where Louisiana Tech has created a footprint in this community,” Johnson said. “It’s rewarding to me to manage those spaces as we seek to serve.”
Tech is more than a place to get an education. The University is also a strong business partner, a reality most recently illustrated with the announcement — through a partnership between Tech, the state of Louisiana, and the University Foundation— of plans to build Tech Point II on campus since Tech Pointe I was such a successful educator and job creator. And several years ago when the cyber industry quickly began to emerge and opportunity knocked, Tech was prepared with the Cyber Training Center at the National Cyber Research Park.
Not all partnerships are as dynamic as others, but all are important and play a necessary role in Tech constantly improving its position to be both a servant and an economic driver for the area.
“Tech works with both the Shreveport and Bossier Chambers of Commerce to support business development and community enhancement initiatives,” Johnson said. “Our increased focus on the Shreveport/Bossier area has been advanced through relationships like those we have with the area Chambers.”
The 40 Under Forty awards recognize entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and professionals in public, private, or nonprofit sectors. Winners are chosen based on such values as achievement, vision, leadership, community involvement, and experience and innovation.