Downtime with Greg Johnson

Unwinding with the program administrator of the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program

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What are you reading?

I’m currently reading The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, which speaks to past discriminatory policies of governmental agencies that still have ramifications today. I’m also reading a novel that takes place in Boston in the 1970s called Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane.

What are you watching?

With the writers’ and actors’ strike, I took the time to catch up on some series like Lessons in Chemistry on Apple TV. I also recently watched the last season of Picard, and I enjoyed Yellowstone. I also watch a lot of sports; I’m a Detroit Lions and University of Michigan football junkie.

What are you listening to?

I listen to everything from jazz, country and hip-hop to classic rock. So, on my walks to work I listen to SiriusXM Classic Vinyl, and whatever they’re playing, that’s what I’m listening to. I also plan to listen to the podcast “The Big Dig.”

What is your biggest extravagance?

I don’t mind spending dollars on having a good meal, and El Gaucho on the Vancouver waterfront is the place to go. So, for me, a good steak dinner is my go-to.  

What motivates you to come to work?

Helping to transform the concept of equity as it pertains to transportation is what primarily motivates me. I’m enamored with transportation and how people and goods are moved. With the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, our nation undertook one of the greatest public-works enterprises in the world. Now, our generation is going back and correcting some of the errors and flaws that building the interstate brought about, and that interests and excites me. 

Who is your professional role model? 

One of the first was a gentleman named Lee Kinney — my first boss at the Michigan Department of Transportation. My father was my original role model; he taught me the value of hard work. It was my mother who gave me my people skills and sense of empathy.

What ambitions do you still have? 

I want to see this program through to a point where it is well on its way to being completed. Eventually, I’m going to land back in Michigan. I want to help my home state become a better transportation state by using things I’ve seen work across the country, including lessons I’ve learned here in Oregon and Washington. 

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