CO-WY Climate Resilience Engine Welcomes Brian Johnston as Director of Workforce Development

The Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Johnston as the new Director of Workforce Development. With a distinguished career in both the military and the private sector, Brian brings a wealth of experience and a passion for sustainability to our team.

Brian Johnston attended Cornell University on an NROTC scholarship, majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He served as a Naval Aviator, participating in operations such as Desert Storm, Counter-Narcotic Operations in the Caribbean, and Hurricane Katrina. After retiring as a Commander in 2008, Brian joined Lockheed Martin, where he served as the Lead Systems Engineer for the USCG HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

He also completed a Master of Science in Systems Engineering at Colorado State University, focusing on Transportation Electrification. Brian has played a pivotal role in startups such as Lightning eMotors for the past decade.

“I was intrigued by the position at the CO-WY Climate Resilience Engine because I view climate change as the biggest challenge facing the planet, and I wanted to apply my skills to provide solutions,” said Brian Johnston. “As a resident of Colorado, I have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of wildfire, flood, and extreme weather in my own community. These complex problems require a systems-oriented approach to resolve them. Workforce Development, a cornerstone of the CO-WY Engine’s mission, is critical to its success.”

Brian highlighted the unique regional approach of the CO-WY Engine. “What sets the CO-WY Engine apart in my mind is the regional approach to solving a global problem as envisioned by the NSF. Bringing together the full strength of our National Labs, Research Universities, corporate partners, and State and Local governments is paramount for both our communities and our nation as a whole. I am proud that our region was honored with this selection.”

Mike Freeman, CEO of the CO-WY Climate Resilience Engine, expressed his enthusiasm for Brian’s appointment. “We are thrilled to welcome Brian to our team. His extensive experience in systems engineering and his dedication to climate resiliency align perfectly with our mission. Brian’s leadership will be instrumental in developing innovative solutions and building the required workforce for the future to grow the two-state region.”

Brian Johnston is eager to begin his new role and is excited about the opportunities ahead. “What most excites me is the opportunity to build a workforce in technologies and industries that do not yet exist. The transition to climate-resilient communities will demand a new way of thinking and working. I look forward to leading those efforts.”

About CO-WY Engine: 

Led by Innosphere Ventures and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the CO-WY Engine is a collaborative initiative focused on driving innovation in climate resiliency and sustainability across the Colorado-Wyoming region. The CO-WY Engine brings together a diverse network of partners to develop and commercialize technologies that address critical environmental challenges, foster economic growth and enhance community well-being.

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