The Kansas Technology Center had just opened when Jack Johnson chose to be a Gorilla in the late 1990s. He was excited for the hands-on learning it provided. The Columbus, Kansas, native has put that education to good use since graduating in 1999 with degrees in both automotive and engineering technology.

In 2009, Johnson led the launch of Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture, responsible for the $250 million capital development of the nation’s first large format automotive focus lithium-ion plant in Holland, Michigan.

A few years later, Johnson used his knowledge and experience to launch two businesses: Volta Power Systems and Jolt Energy Storage Technologies. Volta Power Systems provides advanced energy systems for the RV, marine, and heavy equipment markets. Jolt Energy develops and engineers sustainable energy-storage technologies.

Johnson credits his PSU educational experience with preparing him to succeed in the engineering industry. “I’m a hands-on learner,” he said. “At Pitt State, we get our hands dirty. We take things apart and put them back together. That’s one of the most valuable aspects of a PSU education. The focus on application-based knowledge is essential. By the time you’re ready to enter the workforce, you’re so far ahead of the game because you’ve already done a lot of what you’re asked to do.”