The Michigan Engineer News Center

Memorial to Bill Johnson

U-M IOE Professor and Chair, Brian Denton, recognizes the passing of Bill Johnson, an extraordinary IOE alum and a long-time supporter of the department.| Short Read

This semester the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department received the sad news that Bill Johnson, IOE alum, past advisory board member, and long-time supporter and friend of the department, passed away. Bill was an extraordinary person who will be missed by many, and our thoughts are with his wife, Nadra Johnson, and their family.

Bill was very successful in business, and he was an extraordinary leader. He served our country as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces after completing his degrees. He later had a very successful career as a businessman, ultimately serving as the President and CEO of Chandler Industries.

Bill was generous with his time, expertise, and gifts in support of many organizations. He and Nadra created the Clyde W. and Nadra S. Johnson Fellowship to support our graduate students studying healthcare engineering and the Clyde W. Johnson Scholarship to support our undergraduate students.

Our former department chair of IOE, Mark Daskin, got to know the Johnson family after he selected Bill’s father, Clyde, as the person to honor with the Collegiate professorship he holds. In remarks shared during Bill’s memorial service, Mark summed up Bill’s perspective very well:

“I do not think that Bill measured his success by conventional terms. Rather, success to Bill was measured by the number of people whose lives he could touch, the number of individuals he could help, and the good he could do in the world. By those measures, Bill was also amazingly successful. He took great pleasure in being a member of the department’s advisory board and in being able to return something to the department and the college.”

"...success to Bill was measured by the number of people whose lives he could touch, the number of individuals he could help, and the good he could do in the world. By those measures, Bill was also amazingly successful."Mark Daskin, Clyde W. Johnson Collegiate Professor, U-M Industrial & Operations Engineering

In my own interactions with Bill, I was struck by how incredibly humble he was in light of his many career accomplishments. He was a great example of an IOE alum, combining his strong technical skills and talents for leadership with humility and a drive to help others.

You can read more about Bill and the impact he made in this obituary, which includes details for those wishing to make a charitable donation in his memory.

The family has asked that any memorial tributes or messages for Nadra and the Johnson family be sent to If you have any photos of Bill that you would like to share with the family, I know they would appreciate that as well.

Bill will be missed by many in the IOE community. Our thoughts are with Bill’s family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.


  • Brian Denton

    Brian Denton

    Professor and Chair of Industrial and Operations Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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