Citizen LAX

Citizen LAX – Roger Johnson

Citizen LAX

You may never meet Los Angeles World Airports Deputy Executive Director Roger Johnson, but if you travel through LAX, Johnson certainly has something to do with your trip. His job duties help keep LAX on track, infrastructurally speaking!

“I am sitting in two jobs right now,” he says, when asked to provide his exact title. “I am the Deputy Executive Director for Facilities and Environmental Planning. I am also the Deputy Executive Director for the LAX Development Program. So, I suggest we use the Title Deputy Executive Director: Planning and Development.” It’s a word soup of a title and Johnson’s day-to-day responsibilities are quite hefty. Johnson earned an engineering degree in college, which eventually lead him to where he is today. “I am similar to a lot of people in the aviation industry,” he admits.

“I fell into it. My engineering degree focused on water resources. I started working on airports as a consultant.

In fact, the first airport I worked on as a consultant was LAX.” Once he was immersed in a job at the airport, he admits, “I was hooked. I have been working in aviation for over 20 years now and enjoy this field as much today as I did 20 years ago.

It is one of the most dynamic and complex environments anyone can p ossibly work in.” Some of the dynamics and complexities he speaks of come from juggling two jobs with massive responsibility. It’s a handful for anyone, but Johnson has things under control. Some of his main tasks include discussions and/ or decisions related to the LAX Development Program, which relates to a number of issues including terminal design, construction phasing and sequencing and Construction methodology. Johnson also participates in discussions and/or decisions related to long-range and strategic planning including the Implementation of the LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study. “In this study we are looking at alternatives to the LAX Master Plan to address North Airfield safety issues, ground access and transportation problems associated with growth at LAX,” he says.

That means growth and evolution, in layman’s terms!

Additionally, Johnson reviews and prepares environmental documents that support capital projects at LAX as well as LAWA’s other airports. But Johnson’s gig isn’t just about forward thinking and planning. There’s a human element to the job, where he gets to “interact with community members, public interest groups, elected officials and other government agencies on an almost daily basis. I can honestly say I never have a boring day.” With 50 million passengers passing through LAX every year — there’s approximately 140,000 people moving through LAX in a single day — one can see how Johnson’s job never elicits a yawn.

There are so many things that passengers might not realize about the airport they are shuffling through. Johnson is more than happy to shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes, beyond the hustle, bustle, baggage, rushing and going from here to there!

“I don’t believe most passengers appreciate the incredible size and complexity of the infrastructure required to keep an airport functioning,” Johnson theorizes. “LAX is a small city into itself. The infrastructure required to keep this place functioning is astounding.

The oil companies dispense approximately 3 million gallons of jet fuel a day through the hydrant system at LAX. That’s over a billion gallons a year. There are almost 50,000 employees working for the airlines, tenants and concessionaires. This traffic requires an amazing amount of infrastructure. We have millions of square feet of buildings with literally miles of baggage conveyors running beneath our terminals. We have hundreds of miles of piping, electrical cable, fiber cable. At the same time, the environment we operate in is continually changing. Whether it is new security requirements for checked baggage or new aircraft sizes and configurations, the infrastructure must change to meet the current demands. These changes have to be done while continuing operations.” Think about how all that comes into play next time your grumbling about long lines at the newsstand or wondering why your gate changed last minute! Remember that Roger Johnson is one of the many people working to keep you and LAX moving!

– Amy Sciarretto

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