On Friday, September 27th, 2019, Dan Johnson passed after a battle with cancer. To say I am saddened by the news would be a massive understatement. Dan was a foster parent and the founder of Pathways Youth and Family Services. And that is just the beginning of his reach. The number of lives across Texas and beyond that he positively affected can’t be calculated. The announcement from Pathways can be found here.
In many ways, Dan is responsible for Anderson Technology Group.
I first came into contact with Dan 20 years ago. In 1999, I was working with a company that was a software vendor of Pathways. As such, we were constantly being invited to San Antonio to volunteer and support the families, children and staff. It was always a pleasure. Dan was always inspiring, always positive.
Some years later, Dan acquired the rights to that software. Since I had developed a significant part of it, Dan offered me a job at Pathways. Dan was an innovator. He was proud to be pushing the industry into technology. My time working with him taught me more than it is possible to express. It those years, I matured considerably both personally and professionally. The lessons I learn… most of them taught by Dan… I still keep with me.
The article above mentions that he was always challenging with “we must be better, we must do better, and we will”. That wasn’t a big picture kind of thing. The sentence sticks out to me because that is how Dan was always. He sometimes gentle and sometime starkly pushed me to be better. A better developer and more importantly a better person. There was no “try”. It was “will”. Hours and hours of conversations about both personal and professional matters all re-enforced this will.
I worked with Dan at Pathways for about 6 years. At that point, I was faced with a career choice. It was a very long and hard decision to make, but I finally decided to leave Pathways, sort of. Dan was super supportive! He encouraged me and gave me advice and was a stellar reference. And he was the first to suggest that I should work on a contract basis for Pathways.
Several years later, I was preparing to make another move. This time, I was going out completely on my own. Again, Dan was encouraging. He helped me know that I was good enough to be successful. And his insistence on being better and doing better was a guiding principle for me. The company that I was working for was not living up to that principle. My new company would have that principle, in my way, in the name: Integrity Oaks.
Integrity Oaks eventually became Anderson Technology Group.
I consider Dan to be my friend and my mentor. As has been said, he was a charmer and a comedian and a challenger. In short, he was a GREAT man.