Get to Know Our New CEO
Last week we announced that Stephen Johnson, formerly the CTO of Olive Tree, had been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer. We are very excited about this transition and the ways in which Stephen’s enthusiasm and experience will impact Olive Tree for the better. Around here we know Stephen to be a driven and skilled developer and committed family man. We thought you should get to know him, too.
Here are ten things you should know about the new CEO of Olive Tree Bible Software:
1. He likes to build things.
Stephen: When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Two things changed my mind: the first was realizing that I hated the sight of blood, and the second was knowing I wanted to build and create new things. In college, I saw my future in building and crafting amazing products. I love the problem solving and design side of software engineering, but what really excites me is creating a product that has an impact on our world and that people love.
2. He has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.
Stephen: I studied two and a half years at Arizona State University and then transferred to a small Catholic school, the University of Portland. I got a BS in computer science from UP. The small classes and professors like Dr. Vegdahl really helped accelerate and deepen my understanding of software engineering. After I graduated from UP, I worked at Tektronix for a year. I had a great job, but I was itching to go back to school and continue learning, so I went to Portland State University and got a master’s degree in computer science. My master’s thesis was on debugging functional logic languages. I had a blast diving into functional logic research languages.
3. He loves his family.
Stephen: I have been married for just over four years. We have two kids, a two-and-a-half-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.
4. He is outdoorsy.
Stephen: I love being in the outdoors. I mostly go hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking. We have a ton of fun taking our family out on short hikes. It is awesome seeing my son enjoying running through the woods. My daughter has a great time watching it all from my back.
5. He bikes to work.
Stephen: I usually ride my bike to work. The amount I ride my bike varies by season, but I managed to ride my bike to work at least once each month over the last 12 months. I think the coldest morning was around 15˚ F.
6. He is a member at a local church.
Stephen: I attend Grace Christian Fellowship. There is a lot I love about GCF. I love that it is radically gospel centered and focuses on how the gospel applies to my life, my marriage, my family, etc. I deserve eternal hell and judgment and yet God in his infinite and amazing mercy chose to save me! Amazing!
7. He loves to read.
Stephen: There are a number of books that I’ve really enjoyed reading. I love reading fiction. The Chiveis Trilogy from Crossway is a great trilogy (I haven’t had a chance to read the last of the trilogy that just came out a few weeks ago, but I’m planning on it). Probably my favorite fiction series is the Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers published by Tyndale. For non-fiction, I like reading business books like Good to Great by Jim Collins. I am currently reading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni (this book is amazing!).
My favorite book of the Bible is Romans. It is such a clear presentation of the gospel and how it applies to my life. My favorite Scripture passages are 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Philippians 2:12-13. We are responsible to “behold the Lord” and “work out [our] own salvation” yet it is only God who “transforms” and “works in us.” This is such an awesome tension. I am not called to just sit back and wait for God to change me, I have a responsibility. And yet there is no way I have any hope of changing myself. It is only God who can change my life. He deserves all of the glory!
8. He drinks coffee and tea.
Stephen: I mostly drink tea, but I love both. I got hooked on coffee in college when I would stay up late studying. I then started frequently getting headaches and I found that they went away when I didn’t drink coffee. So I started drinking tea instead. I love a good cup of black coffee (I am actually drinking one as I write this), but I have to be careful not to drink too much. I also love black tea, and I drink a lot of that. There are two things I need to get me in the mental frame of mind to build software, get work done, and let the creative energies flow: the first is a good cup of coffee or tea and the second is classical music. I am currently listening to Sibelius. Classical music and tea have an amazing way of keeping me at a high level of creativity for a long period of time.
9. He is ready to be the CEO of Olive Tree.
Stephen: I did an internship at Olive Tree 11 years ago and have been working at Olive Tree full time for just about 8 years. When I started at Olive Tree, we were a very small company and right from the start I jumped into the business. My preparation for being CEO is hands-on knowledge and experience. I have spent time learning the theoretical side of business from books, podcasts and trainings, but I think what prepares me most for this job is my day-to-day involvement in Olive Tree over the last decade.
10. He believes it is a privilege to work at Olive Tree.
Stephen: I love working on something that has an eternal impact. What we do at Olive Tree matters. It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to create tools that God uses in people’s lives. Just this morning a dad contacted me on Twitter to let me know how he was using our software with his son for their journaling time. It is an amazing privilege and so humbling to play even a small part in that father leading his family spiritually.