Architect Ryan Johnson Named to ENR National Top 20 Under 40 List

Ryan Johnson is named to the 2021 ENR Top 20 Under 40 We are pleased to announce that Clark Nexsen architect, Ryan Johnson, was recently named to Engineering News-Record’s list of the Top 20 Under 40 design and construction industry leaders from across the United States. This elite group of professionals includes contractors, engineers, architects, technology experts, academics, and owners within the AEC industry.

Earlier this year, Ryan was among the honorees named to ENR Southeast’s Top Young Professionals list. A new panel of judges examined the highest scoring regional candidates from the Top Young Professionals lists to choose the top 20 individuals who represented the “pinnacle of leadership skills, community service and diversity of the construction industry.”

Ryan leads as a “doer,” setting the example and advocating to transform design on an individual, firm, and industry level.

Ryan, who is 39, uses technology to not only transform the design process, but also transform the built environment. His interest in technology and drive to try new things stems back to his childhood. With early access to computer technology, he loved the challenge of plugging code into MS DOS over and over until he got the result he wanted. Ryan graduated Cum Laude from Appalachian State, earning a BA in industrial drafting and design. After earning a Master of Architecture degree from NC State University, he joined Clark Nexsen in 2008. As a design intern, he was the first to produce renderings in Revit and was instrumental in the firm’s early adoption of BIM and Revit.

Ryan rapidly progressed from design intern, to architect, to associate, and most recently became the firm’s computational design specialist in early 2020. He has used computational design to impact multiple projects, including Hunt Library at NC State University, Parking Deck 2 at Wake Tech in Raleigh, NC, and the new Fitts-Woolard engineering building at NC State.

He is involved in the building industry as a frequent speaker and through his involvement with the AIA. In 2020, he served as the chair of AIA’s Technology in Architecture Practice (TAP) national Knowledge Community, which is a resource for the architectural profession and the public as emerging technologies become increasingly critical to practice, planning, and building. He ​was​ ​first asked​ ​to​ ​be a TAP at-large advisory group member in 2017 and was appointed to serve on TAP’s leadership group in 2019. ​Ryan was appointed to the AIA COVID-19 Business Task Force, which was created in 2020 to provide resources for architects focused on resilience and strategies for business continuity.

Outside of the firm, Ryan is an active member of Oak City Church where he nurtures his love of music by playing in the church band. Several years ago, he was struck by the homogenous racial makeup in his church being predominantly white with a predominantly Black church right across the parking lot. Ryan and his wife, Whitney, spearheaded connections between the churches, leading to joint services and social events where members of both churches can build relationships. Ryan and Whitney also led the formation of a group that has held a series of classes on racial reconciliation. The classes are centered on open dialogue and inspiration on becoming bridge builders. Ryan believes that by being intentional about broadening our perspectives with authentic connections, we can create real change and more effectively combat issues such as racism.

Ryan talks about how he uses technology to impact the AEC industry: