Name: Rear Adm. (retired) James A. Johnson Jr., M.D.

Organization: San Diego Military Advisory Council.

Title: 2012 president.

No. of members: 142 corporate and 300 individual.

Year founded: 2004.

Education: Oberlin College 1965, B.A.; University of Rochester 1970, M.D.; UCLA 1977, general surgery.

Birthplace: Wilmington, N.C.

Age: 67.

Current residence: La Mesa.

Family: Spouse, Susan; children: David, Todd, Jeffrey, Alicia; grandchildren: Solomon, Amira, Jack.

James Johnson is president of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, or SDMAC, a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, whose mission is to support, promote and represent the common business and other interests of the military, members’ quality of life issues, and the defense industry community in the San Diego area. Rear Adm. Johnson spent 28 years on active duty in the Navy as a medical officer and surgeon. He also spent five years in private practice in San Diego, and he is a former CEO of Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego.


Essential professional philosophy: Empower the people in the organization, and remove roadblocks to success.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Have everyone in the organization committed to continuous quality and value improvement.

Guiding principles: Always strive to be the best, personal accountability.

Yardsticks of success: Delight the customers, members and the public.

Goals yet to be achieved: Legacy of service.


Best professional decision: Leaving private practice and returning to the active duty Navy.

Worst professional decision: Not pursuing a vascular surgery fellowship, although, everything still worked out well.

Toughest professional decision: Clinical medicine versus executive medicine, because I love both.

Mentor: My parents and extended family. From my earliest age of recollection, they set high bars and expectations for education, work ethic and achievement, honesty and integrity.

Word that describes you: Driven.


What you like best about your job: Working with people and the opportunity to be of service.

What you like least about your job: Not enough hours in a day.

Pet peeves: People who never find fault when they look in the mirror.

Person most interested in meeting: President Barack Obama. I never thought I would see a person of color reach this status in my lifetime. Regardless of one’s political views, he demonstrates the family values on which I was raised.

Three greatest passions: My family, work, sports.