Fast 15: Zak Johnston

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 187 views 

Growing up on 72 acres in rural Benton had a big impact on Zak Johnston. The rising engineer at Crafton Tull said he was imbued with a respect for the environment, which in turn influenced his education.

Turns out, it was a huge influence.

Johnston holds a bachelor’s in biological engineering and a master’s in environmental engineering from the University of Arkansas. At Crafton Tull, his specialty is sustainable design.

Among his signature works are hydraulic engineering on three Interstate 49 bridges, design of infrastructure for the Walmart AMP and the Walton Arts Center, and lead project engineer for subdivisions in Fayetteville, Farmington, Rogers and Lowell.

“I’ve been part of Northwest Arkansas’ rapid expansion and have my name on something that will last for decades,” he said.

He’s been published in peer journals Ecological Engineering, Biological Engineering Transactions, Journal of Environmental Engineering, and The Sustainability Consortium Report. He’s also traveled to Canada, Italy, and Sweden for technical presentations.

“I’m a big advocate of science and academics and I want to contribute,” he said. “That’s how you do it, through publications and presentations.”

Johnston also teaches physical science at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.

“I love my students and really enjoy lecturing over basic scientific concepts,” he said. “It keeps me balanced and sharp.”

Johnston is the founder of the Crafton Tull Investor’s Club, which meets once every other week to toss around ideas for potential investments across a range of opportunities. The trick, he says, is to have participants consistently bring new information, and to have different members track different sectors.

Who knows, he said. One day they might take the plunge and form a joint investment fund. That’s down the road.

But engineering is the here and now. And at Crafton Tull, he’s flying high.

“I like to focus on sustainable design,” he said. “We’re building the world, so we need to make it environmentally sound.”