In Memoriam: Dr. Mark Johnson

By: Eric Miller
– December 10, 2014

Mark_Johnson_PADT_Equations
A picture of Mark in his office at PADT. The equations on the white board were not put there for the picture. This was taken after a meeting where he and members of his team solved a tough rotor dynamics problem for a customer.
It is with incredible sadness that we must inform you that our friend and co-owner of PADT, Mark Johnson, passed away on November 25th from complications due to melanoma. He was with his wife, resting comfortably when he left us. This is a huge loss to anyone that ever knew Mark.

He joined PADT in the early days with the goal of building the company’s product development capability.  His focus and the focus of his team was using engineering to make the world a better place.  They did this directly through their work in alternative energy and medical devices and indirectly by helping companies from a wide range of industries.  There are hydrogen powered cars and buses today humming down the street using pumps and blowers that were Mark’s creations. Doctors are using devices every day to treat patients that Mark helped to design and test.  He also participated in the Startup and Medical Device engineering community in Arizona, serving as a judge, mentor, and board member across multiple organizations.  And as a co-owner of PADT, he helped direct the company, contributing strongly to our culture and reputation in the community.

Before joining PADT, Mark had a similar impact at Garrett (AlliedSignal, Honeywell), The University of Arkansas, and Ballard.  Few people in our industry had such a strong understanding of engineering fundamentals and his ability to apply that basic knowledge to help customers across industries will be sorely missed.

Outside of work, Mark was a loving father and husband, who always took time to be with his wife and two children.  Those of you who knew him outside of work know how important they were to him, and he to them.  

Since his passing many people have asked how they can honor Mark or share their thoughts on him.  We are recommending that those who wish to honor him simply follow his example.  Look for the good in people, help others when you can, and always ask questions.  Mark was a master questioner and often answering those questions revealed more to the person he was asking the question of than anyone else.  He often began meetings with new customers and partners with a simple statement: “I want to warn you, I like to ask questions, lots of questions.”

In that this blog is mostly read by people in technology, the best way you can honor his memory is to carry on his mission of using technology to make the world a better place. Help a startup, develop a more efficient system, commercialize a new technology that improves the lives of the less fortunate, enhance patient care, or help to explore and understand our universe.  There are so many ways that those of us involved in engineering and science can make a huge difference, just as Mark did.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts about Mark in the comments below. If you would like to send a note or card to his family, please mail it to:

Mark Johnson Memorial
PADT, Inc
7755 S Research Dr, Suite 110
Tempe, AZ  85284

The family has asked that any donations be made to Heifer International or Hospice of the Valley.

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