The Puget Sound Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (PSHFES) presented Dr. Pete Johnson, an ergonomics researcher at the University of Washington, with the Ergonomics Professional of the Year award at the annual PSHFES Ergonomics Symposium in September. Dr. Johnson was recognized for his work in mentoring students and professionals, and for his support of local ergonomics organizations such as PSHFES and the Pacific Northwest Ergonomics Roundtable. Dr. Johnson is a frequent presenter at meetings of both groups, and has provided technical advice to many of the ergonomics professionals in the area.
Dr. Johnson has been a faculty member in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington since March 2001. His current research interests include hardware and software technologies to assess work-related physical exposures; the design and production of female and child proportional computer input devices; and engineering interventions to reduce whole body vibration exposures in professional vehicle operators such as bus and semi-truck drivers.
Dr. Johnson earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then worked at Hewlett-Packard, where he observed firsthand the adverse musculoskeletal effects of intensive computer use. Inspired by an appearance on NBC’s Today Show by Dr. David Rempel, a UC Berkeley ergonomics researcher, Dr. Johnson enrolled as one of Dr. Rempel’s first ergonomics students, earning first his Masters and then his PhD at Berkeley. During this time he worked as a visiting researcher at the national institutes of occupational safety and health in the U.S., Sweden, and Denmark.
Dr. Johnson has practiced ergonomics in the Seattle area since 1998, starting out as an independent ergonomics consultant and researcher, working on projects with Microsoft, Harvard University, and the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has held a faculty position in Ergonomics at the University of Washington since 2000. Upon receiving the award, Dr. Johnson remarked: “For the past 12 years, I have had the good fortune to live and work in Washington, making good friends, establishing long-lasting professional relationships and sharing my passion of ergonomics with PSHFES colleagues. With the same energy, I look forward to spending the next decade continuing to work on ergonomic-related projects at the UW and with the PSHFES.”