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ASCEND Speaker Dexter Johnson

Dexter Johnson

NASA Technical Fellow for Loads and Dynamics

Dr. Dexter Johnson is an Engineer, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Minister. He was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Johnson is the NASA Technical Fellow for Loads and Dynamics, supporting the NASA Engineering and Safety Center. Technical Fellows are NASA’s senior technical experts. They assemble and provide Agency Leadership for the Technical Discipline Teams, and as such, they sponsor discipline-enhancing activities and educate the Agency. His duty station is at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio, though employed by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He previously served as the Chief of the Structural Dynamics Branch at GRC and worked there since 1990. He graduated from the City Honors High School (Buffalo, NY) in 1982, the University at Buffalo (UB) with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1987, and a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, in 1989 and 1995, respectively. His current engineering interests involve overseeing Structural Dynamics work focused on Launch Vehicle and Spacecraft Loads and Dynamics applicable to Flight and Ground Hardware Design, Development, Test, and Evaluation, as well as Aeronautics Research and Technology Development. As an Aerospace Research Engineer, he was involved in the development and application of Magnetic Suspension Technology to Advanced Aerospace Turbomachinery. He is the inventor of the Adaptive Variable Bias Control method for power-saving operation of Active Magnetic Suspension Systems.

Dr. Johnson received numerous awards and recognition, some of which are noted as follows: In 1998, Dr. Johnson was one of six individuals selected nationwide to participate in the prestigious NASA Administrator’s Fellowship Program. In the program, he served as a visiting professor at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, worked at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, and was a visiting researcher at several industrial organizations. In 1998, Dr. Johnson received the esteemed “NASA Honor Award – Exceptional Service Medal” for his magnetic suspension systems research and development. In 2003, he won the National Technical Association (NTA) “Technical Achiever of the Year – Technologist Category Award”. In 2006, he won the Science Spectrum Magazine “Trailblazer Award”. In 2006, he was selected as an UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences “60 years of Excellence – Distinguished Alumni”. In 2008, he won the “NASA Honor Award – Group Achievement Award” for contributing to the design and development of the NASA Ares I-X Upper Stage Simulator. In 2010, he received the Inaugural “Celestial Torch Award – Aerospace Pioneer of the Year” from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Aerospace Systems Conference. He was awarded the 2012 UB Alumni Association Achievement Awards – “Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award”, and the 2012 City Honors High School “Alumni Award”. In 2014, he was selected for the inaugural NASA Leveraging Agency Supervisory Excellence and Resilience Pilot Program, and was awarded the 2014 “NASA Honor Award – Equal Employment Opportunity Medal – For outstanding commitment to the diversity and inclusion values within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields while executing the NASA mission.” Dr. Dexter Johnson, was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow status in 2018. AIAA Associate Fellows are individuals of distinction who have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences, or technology of aeronautics or astronautics.

Dr. Dexter Johnson served on the Board of Directors of the NTA as the National Treasurer from 2002 through 2004. He is also an active member of the NSBE and AIAA. Recently, Dr. Dexter Johnson was elected as the AIAA SDTC Vice Chair in 2018, which automatically progresses to Chair in 2020. The technical areas addressed by the SDTC are the interactions among aerodynamic, dynamic, elastic, damping, inertial and control forces acting on vehicles and structures. Included are response and stability investigations of linear and nonlinear systems using analytical, empirical and experimental techniques. The SDTC, through its various subcommittees, participates in organization and planning of national technical conferences and conference sessions, development of education and training aids, information gathering, assessment, and distribution, promotion of cross-disciplinary activities, and promotion of candidates for awards and recognition in the structural dynamics field. The SDTC also produced an award winning outreach DVD for which he was a contributor. He initiated SDTC engineering outreach programs for their annual conference. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NSBE Professionals Space Special Interest Group (SIG) as the Proposals and Collaborations Director. His NSBE involvement spans 30 years inclusive of membership, student leadership, professional leadership, mentorship, and corporate recruitment. He was a founding member of the UB chapter. He served on the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) at UB from 2009-2015. In 2015, the UB DAC received the Alumni Association “Dr. Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award” which is given to an individual or group that has contributed to and advanced the UB for a specific purpose, or served UB in a voluntary capacity for a significant period of time. He was selected to the serve on the UB Alumni Association Board of Directors beginning July 1, 2017.

Dr. Johnson is the co-founder, along with his wife, of PHIDEX Enterprises, LLC. PHIDEX is an educational research and professional development company whose mission is to “Passionately Help Individuals Develop Excellence”. PHIDEX is famous for their popular “Cost of Success TM” workshop. They have conducted numerous workshops promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career exploration. In 2013, they launched the “Brilliant Mind Marriages and Relationships TM” conference. They are Certified Prepare-Enrich Marriage Coaches/Instructors. His involvement in the Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness Program (BEAM), at UB, as a junior in high school led him to pursue a career in engineering. He has the distinction of being the first BEAM student to graduate with an engineering Ph.D. from the UB. He and his wife previously served as the Family Life Pastors at Church on the Rise, in Westlake, Ohio, and are extensively involved in ministry leadership development. He led prison ministry outreach programs and was recognized as the Grafton Reintegration Center, Grafton OH, “Volunteer of the Year” for 2013. Dr. Johnson is a frequently requested Keynote Speaker as “Dr Dex” focusing on a range of topics involving STEM, faith and inspiration, personal excellence, building healthy relationships, and career success.


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