JASON JOHNSON: MAKING THE MAGIC OF FORD SYNC A REALITY FOR CONSUMERS
Jason Johnson, Product Development Engineer
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- Jason Johnson is a key member of the team bringing SYNC® and MyFord together, making Ford’s all new vehicle environment a reality
- One of Johnson’s key responsibilities is refining the interaction between people and their Ford vehicles with usability a top priority
- Johnson, a Texas native, now lives with his wife and young son in Dearborn, Mich., where he enjoys travel, interior design and photography
As Ford rolls out MyFord, its next-generation vehicle environment, engineers who have been working on the project for years are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts. Jason Johnson, user interface design engineer, SYNC Product Development, is a key member of that team, working to ensure the next generation of SYNC, the “brains” behind MyFord, lives up to its promise.
“I love being an engineer on the SYNC® program, which has really revolutionized the way people communicate in their vehicles,” said Johnson. “I often feel that I work for a technology or consumer electronics company that just also happens to make great automobiles.”
Johnson has wanted to be an engineer ever since laying his hands on a Lego® set at the age of 2. And he has been involved in technology and software since writing programs for his TI-82 graphing calculator during high school. After three college internships with Ford, Johnson was hired by the company. He graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2002 with a B.S. in electrical engineering.
From electrical engineer to infotainment specialist
Johnson’s first Ford assignment involved working on the electrical system for the 2003 Lincoln Town Car. It was there he discovered a passion for infotainment systems.
“The Town Car’s Lincoln navigation radio sparked my interest in infotainment systems and architecture, which ended up being my next assignment,” said Johnson. “After five months at the Kansas City Assembly Plant working as a member of the plant vehicle team, I returned to Dearborn to join the navigation systems development team.”
He spent more than three years developing the award-winning 2006-08 Ford navigation radio, followed by the critically acclaimed 2009 next-generation navigation radio featuring SIRIUS Travel Link™. When the opportunity for SYNC development came along, Johnson couldn’t resist.
“I’ve spent the last 18 months working with a cross-functional team,” said Johnson. “Everyone –from engineers, usability specialists, graphic designers and ergonomists – has taken part so we can integrate these really innovative features in a way that will be usable too. It’s been an incredible experience.”
For Johnson, the best part about working on the next generation of SYNC is observing people’s reaction to the system. “I most enjoy watching the reaction of people who use next-generation navigation and SYNC for the first time,” said Johnson. “It is very rewarding to know you contributed to a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring user experience. I can’t wait to hear the feedback when people begin to get their hands on this new system.”
Learning to unplug
When Johnson isn’t working on human-computer interaction, his passions include interior design, photography and traveling.
“I love to pretend that I am a trained photographer by taking hundreds of photographs while traveling internationally,” said Johnson. “Some of our destinations included Costa Rica, Greece, Japan, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica and Germany, and trying to capture the essence of those incredibly different places is a great challenge.”
Interior design and photography endeavors both share elements with his professional life as well; composition, aesthetics and usability factor into both hobbies and help Johnson better appreciate the interaction between people, objects and their surroundings.
Johnson is currently in a graduate program at DePaul University, working toward an M.S. in human-computer interaction.
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Jason has been married to his wife Aisha for four years. They have one child, Langston,
5 months old
- Dearborn, Mich., is where Jason calls home; his family enjoys the metro Detroit area for summer art and music festivals and for the city’s creative environment and its people Jason and his wife were featured on a 2008 episode of HGTV’s My House Is Worth What?
- A 2008 Ford “Drive One” television commercial also featured Jason explaining how cool his job is; the ad ran during prime-time shows like American Idol, NFL football games and the NBA playoffs
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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 200,000 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.
Jan. 7, 2010