With his trademark yellow outfit, it would be hard to miss 86-year-old James Johnson, one of CONEXPO-CON/AGG's long-time attendees.
Currently a resident of Columbus, Georgia, Johnson got his start in heavy construction in 1948 when he began to help his father who worked as an electrician. He then graduated from the University of Illinois and worked for C.S. Johnson, division of Koehring Corporation, in Chicago where he designed and setup concrete plans.
“I’ve been in construction in one form or another all my life,” Johnson said. Johnson attended his first Road Show – which would later be named CONEXPO – in 1957 in Chicago where he presented to attendees about the basics of engineering using a pen and piece of paper.
Since then, he’s contributed to a number of projects around the country including the Oroville dam in California and the Illinois Toll Road Highway system. And, he’s attended almost every CONEXPO show that has followed, making him one of the show’s most passionate attendees.
The constantly-changing construction industry is what Johnson says keeps him coming back each year. “You’ve got to keep track of what’s happening and what’s new in the industry.”
Johnson takes a particular interest in the production methods of concrete and how they have evolved over the years. When asked what caught his eye at CONEXPO-CON/AGG this year, as compared to previous years, Johnson said, “It’s humongous!”
He continues to have a passion for construction – concrete plans, specifically – and now consults for a number of companies through his firm, Johnson Consulting LLC.
“Concrete plants are like donuts,” he said, “They all look good in the case and they’re all a little bit different.”
Johnson’s head-to-toe bright yellow attire – a ritual for him when he attends each CONEXPO-CON/AGG – makes him impossible to miss. That and the yellow flag he waves that reads, “Road Show 1957 Chicago to CONEXPO 2017 Vegas.” He did make one exception with his attire this year and substituted his yellow shoelaces with neon green ones.
“I went to two Wal-Mart’s and two Targets,” he said. “There are no yellow shoelaces!”