Lonnie Johnson is a former Air Force and NASA engineer who invented the massively popular Super Soaker water gun. He currently oversees Johnson Research and Development, a company which commercializes technologies with a recent emphasis on alternative energy.  He studied at Tuskegee University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in nuclear engineering.  He lives in the Atlanta area.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he created one of the world’s top 20 all-time best selling toys.
  • He made his own toys from a young age including a go-kart he built from junkyard scraps.
  • He was told by his high school counselor that he shouldn’t aspire beyond a career as a technician but he didn’t let that advice deter him from his goal of becoming an inventor.
  • “The only thing that really leads to success is perseverance.”
  • His original goal with licensing the super soaker was simply to generate enough income to allow himself to become a full time inventor.
  • His latest invention, the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter, is a game changing technology that can dramatically improve the efficiency of alternative energy sources.
  • “Excellence is setting goals that are tough so you can wake up every day knowing that you’re doing something worthwhile.”

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