William “JB” Johnson retires after 39 years in Water Resources

–Submitted by Kevin Saunders of Water Resources and Hannah Lubbers, director of the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) and the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District

Staff recently celebrated the retirement of a valuable employee of the Clermont County Water Resources Department after 39 years of service. William Johnson was hired by Clermont County Sewer Laboratory where, back in the 80’s, there was an abundance of William Johnsons employed with the county.

Since a William and Bill were already employed by the Laboratory, he selected JB as his moniker and the beginning of a legend began!

JB was educated at Miami University and obtained a BS in Chemistry and BA in English. This dichotomy in education led to a very unique individual who can, in his own words, “speak to the symbolism in Paradise Lost or describe how a polymerization reaction proceeds due to metal catalysts.”

JB started working in the Laboratory as a technician and rose to the role of Laboratory Manager. He will be retiring with the title of Chemist, but he is the true heart of the Wastewater Lab and we will be losing a technical expert, teacher, and historian.

The one thing JB excelled at was teaching everyone to be a critical thinker and installed a desire to never stop learning. During his tenure, the Laboratory was approved as one of the only Ohio EPA-certified labs in the state and currently services 15 different treatment facilities running analytical chemistry on 14 different tests.

In addition to his practical work accomplishments, JB always brought humor and wit to the workplace. He is a great conversationalist and a fascinating person.

JB has practiced scuba diving, sailboarding, and more recently can often be found practicing his Tai Chi on the banks of the Little Miami River. He’s always prepared to chime into to any conversation with an obscure, but related fact. For example, when discussing best management practices, JB educated us about how in the 1950’s they parachuted beavers into the Idaho backcountry as a conservation effort.

He’s skilled at making mundane work tasks entertaining by bringing levity and interesting pieces of information to the task at hand.  JB’s knowledge, dedication, and sense of humor will be sincerely missed at the wastewater laboratory.