What is your educational background?

B.B.A. in Marketing from ACU.

M.B.A. in Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. The company I worked for was based in the Bay Area. When I moved from the field office in Denver to the corporate headquarters, the company paid for me to get my M.B.A. This was very convenient. Golden Gate University is located in downtown San Francisco, but their East Bay campus was located where the company I worked for, Triad’s Systems Corporation, was based in Livermore, CA. Triad paid for all my tuition and books. I went to courses at night, while working full-time.


Tim Johnston

Tim Johnston


What is your work background?

Originally I worked for Triad Systems Corporation in customer service, then sales, and later became a Regional Manager for our Education Services. I had a team of 12 people, working in 10 cities. This team took care of the system configuration and training for all of our customers.

Eventually we moved to the headquarters in California. I held several positions over the years, including Marketing Analyst (putting together our service offerings), Sales Trainer, and Sales Development Manager (responsible for training our training team for industry training, system training, sales training, and supporting regional manager hiring and coaching programs).

At ACU, I worked as the Chief Enrollment Officer for 11 years and then moved to the Career Center. I have worked in COBA for the last 6 years as the Assistant Dean.


What do you do at ACU/COBA?

First of all, I work with the Connections team to ensure we have a good advising process and career development program to come along side the academic coursework required for each major.

A key tie-in with the Career Development work is our partnership with ACU’s University Relations Managers, who live in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. These managers are critical to our efforts to help students connect to starting career opportunities.

ACU’s alumni provide us with scholarship dollars to help improve the affordability of the COBA experience. This is another area of work I help to coordinate.

As one of the co-founders of Leadership Summit, I serve as the leader of our management team to ensure our enrollment, satisfaction, budget and connection goals are achieved through this program.


Tim and crew at Leadership Summit 2015

Tim and crew at Leadership Summit 2015


What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?

Rick Lytle and I met in Denver.   After earning my master’s degree, he encouraged me to consider working for ACU. Rick’s statement of, “Not everyone goes to church but most everyone goes to work”, really resonates with me.   It’s challenging to be a Christian in the workplace. It’s difficult to be competitive and honorable. It’s important for our graduates to bring hope to their workplace. I wanted to help equip students for this challenge.


What’s the best part of working with students?

It’s great to see students understand how they can prepare to make a valuable contribution to an organization, both in terms of their business ability and their character. It’s exciting to see where they will have a place to live out the mission. A job search is difficult, it takes a lot of effort to put yourself out there in an effective manner. It can be hard on your psyche. This is where my coaching comes in. I like helping students face the challenge and win.


Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

Mountains, mountains and more mountains. I like to snow ski and hike whenever I can. Plus the mountain biking at Buck Creek trails here in Abilene is a lot of fun.   A few years ago I bought a shotgun and joined the Sporting Clays Club here in Abilene. COBA students have tried to help me improve my shooting. It’s a work in progress. The students tend to shoot 70 – 80% out there, but I’m usually in the 40% range.



What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

I remember working for a client in Steamboat Springs, CO. After a few days it was time to return to Denver. I was on a “puddle jumper” – we called it Rocky Mountain Scareways. As I was sitting on the plane watching them plow the runway as the snow kept coming down and the plane received multiple de-icings, I really questioned my career choice.


Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

Currently I am commander of the armies of the north communion team at Highland CoC, (northside of the building) at second service. Over the years I have been very involved with our church Teaching class, or running the Habitat for Humanity Building project or Bus Ministry. Also, I am very passionate about supporting missions and really appreciate the work of World Vision and Compassion International.


Who is your role model and why?

At ACU I have had several including Jack Rich who was my boss for many years. He never got rattled and he always took the high road. And be careful if you are meeting with Jack and you criticize a team member. He will get them on the phone right away and ask them to address the complaint you just levied. That helps you learn quickly. Dr. Terry Pope is so wise and a man of integrity. If you haven’t heard Terry’s 10, you need to, it’s wisdom to guide your life. Rick Lytle is the most enthusiastic, hopeful Christian I have ever met. His positive energy constantly gives me a boost. My mom and dad were awesome.  My dad was an Electrical Engineer and Elder at our church. Together they raised 5 children, one of which had special needs. I don’t think he ever wasted any time. Mom was a great communicator who would pour good Biblical wisdom into me, whether I wanted it or not. I could go on and on …


The Johnston Family

The Johnston Family


Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

In graduate school, I had an economics professor who BELIEVED all problems are pricing problems. When the price goes high enough, people will solve the problem. I could tell his academic discipline was his belief. We disagreed, but he really made me think.


If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

My initial thought was to say that I really wish I could fly. But this is a selfish desire. What I really think would be most useful would be to be able to listen to people like Jesus listened to the women at the well. I wish I could tune into someone’s spirit.


What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I wanted to be an artist. But being an art major (courses are double blocked) and being a baseball player did not coincide well. So I switched to accounting. I really swung the pendulum on that decision. Ultimately I landed on marketing. This helps me be patient with our students. It can take a while to find your sweet spot.