Edward A. “Ed” Johnson ’79 was named VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer in October 2022. He will begin his post in November 2022. Johnson served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years as a nuclear trained submarine officer and spent 16 years as a federal civilian employee. During Johnson’s Navy career, he served as assistant professor of joint military operations at the Air War College, as well as deputy commander for training Submarine Squadron 6 in Norfolk, Virginia. He retired from the Navy in 2006 at the rank of captain.
Johnson graduated with distinction from VMI in 1979, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He earned his Master of Strategic Studies degree from the Air War College in 2000. He commissioned in the Navy upon graduation as an ensign and commenced nuclear power and submarine officer training. Johnson served at sea on ballistic missile and attack submarines and commanded Navy Recruiting District, Columbus, Ohio. One of his career highlights was participating in an under-ice ranging exercise while embarked on HMS Tireless, including a U.S./U.K. surfacing at the North Pole.
Johnson has served on the Keydet Club Board of Governors since 2013. He most recently served as vice president for nominations and awards. He recently developed detailed procedures for onboarding new members, ensuring their seamless integration into the organizations.
As chief operating officer, Johnson will be responsible for the direction of a comprehensive, self‐governed Alumni Association of nearly 26,000 graduates. Johnson reports to David Prasnicki, VMI Alumni Agencies chief executive officer, and also provides support to Anthony Moore ’78, VMI Alumni Association Board of Directors president. Moore stated, “It was a pleasure to work with David and the team to choose the new Alumni Association chief operating officer. I look forward to working with Ed to serve VMI alumni.”
Johnson will also oversee Alumni Association programs and staff to ensure they meet the goals and objectives of the Association’s strategic plan as it aligns with the VMI Alumni Agencies. In this position, he will work collaboratively with Institute leadership, VMI Athletics, and across the VMI Alumni Agencies to develop and execute programs that benefit the VMI alumni network, fundraising efforts, the Corps of Cadets, and VMI mission.
“Ed has done tremendous work as a member and leader of the Keydet Club Board of Governors over the years. Combined with his vast work experience, he brings a unique set of talents to this position that will help him serve our alumni well,” said Prasnicki.
“Ed has done tremendous work as a member and leader of the Keydet Club Board of Governors over the years. Combined with his vast work experience, he brings a unique set of talents to this position that will help him serve our alumni well.”David L. Prasnicki, VMI Alumni Agencies chief executive officer
The hiring process for the new Alumni Association chief operating officer began Friday, Aug. 15, when an email to alumni from Prasnicki announced the resignation of Thomas A. “Thom” Brashears ’95, who left the post to pursue another opportunity.
“Thom will be greatly missed here,” Prasnicki wrote in the email. “His support of the VMI Alumni Association, the staff of the Alumni Agencies, the Institute, and the Corps of Cadets for almost six years demonstrated a level of strength and commitment that served us well. I am grateful for his service and his leadership.”
In that email, Prasnicki invited alumni to apply for the position of chief operating officer if they were interested in doing so. A position description was included in the email, and prospective applicants were instructed to apply by Sept. 1 with a resume, cover letter, three professional references, and a list of all Alumni Agencies-sponsored events they had attended in the past three years.
“I have every confidence that our search process will ensure the perfect fit for this important role,” wrote Prasnicki. “It is important we have a broad pool of prospects for a successful search.”
Next, Prasnicki formed a committee made up of members of the VMI Alumni Association Board of Directors to help him review the applications received and select the best candidates to interview. Scheduling conflicts slightly slowed the interview process, but in the end, Prasnicki and the other committee members selected the candidate they felt was best suited to the position.
“We were pleased with the number and the quality of those who applied,” said Meade King ’85, VMI Foundation chief operating officer and interim VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer.