GREG JOHNSON: EARLY EXPERIENCE LEARNING WHAT MAKES ENGINES WORK CARRIES THROUGH TO TODAY

GREG JOHNSON: EARLY EXPERIENCE LEARNING WHAT MAKES ENGINES WORK CARRIES THROUGH TO TODAY


Greg Johnson, Manager of North American Powerpacks
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  • Greg Johnson is the manager of North American powerpacks, responsible for the North American-engineered I-4 and V-6 powertrains (engine, transmission, powertrain controls, calibration and more) in all vehicle applications
  • When he was 12, Johnson helped his father rebuild the engine of the family car. That sparked his fascination with engines and at 16 he purchased a 1967 Pontiac GTO Convertible and spent the rest of high school rebuilding it into a beautiful classic car, which he still owns
  • Johnson plays guitar in his spare time and also enjoys Michigan’s abundant lakes with his wife and children

Raised and educated in Iowa, Greg Johnson, manager of North American powerpacks, actually hopes one day to be on a beach instead of a farm.

"When I retire, I hope to spend my time playing and singing Jimmy Buffett tunes in a beach bar in Florida," said Johnson.

The relaxed style of Buffett and his "Parrot Head" followers will have to wait, however. Johnson and the powertrain team are on an accelerated pace that’s delivering 30 new powertrains over the next two years, including the all-new 305-horsepower 3.7-liter Mustang V-6.

Coupled to a new six-speed automatic transmission, the V-6 engine helps the 2011 Mustang coupe achieve up to 31 mpg on the highway – the first production vehicle ever to produce 300-plus horsepower and get 30-plus mpg.

More powertrain choices with improved performance
"The new Mustang V-6 is really the essence of our ‘no compromises’ powertrain strategy," said Johnson. "Nowhere else can customers get the combination of power and fuel economy we’re offering, especially in a vehicle that looks and drives as good as the Mustang."

The new Mustang utilizes Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) to boost overall engine efficiency. Ti-VCT technology creates precise, variable timing control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts, which control the valve opening and closing events. Each of the two camshafts is controlled independently. Ti-VCT uses the intake camshaft phasing to advance the intake valve opening and closing events and the exhaust camshaft phasing to retard the exhaust valve events from their base "engine off" positions.

This ability to vary the overlap between the intake and exhaust valves helps eliminate compromises in the two processes: fresh charge induction and exhaust gas discharge. The result is greater efficiency through reduced gas exchange pumping work, which leads to better fuel economy – approximately a 3 to 4 percent improvement from this strategy alone compared with non-VCT engines.

Ti-VCT technology is one example of the powertrain team’s mission to find solutions that can be applied to a wide range of vehicles to deliver uncompromised performance with class-leading fuel economy, something that stokes Johnson’s pride.

"The thing I enjoy most about working at Ford is seeing what you work on drive down the road or pulling into your neighbor’s driveway," he said.

Tinkering with engines started early
Johnson became interested in engines early. When he was 12, he helped his father rebuild the engine of the family car. That sparked his fascination with engines and at 16 Johnson decided to tackle an entire car, purchasing a 1967 Pontiac GTO Convertible. He bought basically a pile of parts and constructed a car, building or rebuilding all the mechanical parts, finished and painted the exterior and redid the interior. It was a long, arduous process. "I finished the car just in time for my senior year prom," said Johnson. Johnson still owns the car today and enjoys summer cruising with the top down.

After high school the Marion, Iowa, native went to Iowa State for his undergraduate work and to the University of Iowa for his master’s degree in mechanical engineering, becoming one of those rare "Cy-Hawks" who holds degrees from Iowa’s two main universities – and heated rivals. He joined Ford in 1992 in engine engineering and has spent the bulk of his career in powertrain.

On weekends, Johnson and his family enjoy Michigan’s abundant lakes and waters. "We’re an active family," said Johnson. "The kids are busy with dance, basketball, track and football. We like boating, kayaking, waterskiing, sailing and biking.

"I guess my ideal weekend is kayaking down a river at sunrise, waterskiing in the afternoon and playing guitar around the campfire at night."

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

  • Johnson has been married to Diane for 20 years. They have three children, Allison, 17; Jacob, 15; and Kelli, 14. They reside in Pinckney, Mich.
  • Johnson’s favorite auto-themed movie is "Bullitt," especially the famous car chase scene. "That beautiful Dark Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback really gets the adrenaline going," said Johnson
  • In the Johnson garage you’ll find a 2008 Mustang convertible, 2010 Taurus, 2008 Expedition and 1967 GTO convertible

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

March 25, 2010

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