2022 40 Under 40: Ilona Johnson, PE, CEM, LEED AP, 39

Associate Director, Harris; M.Eng, Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland

By Amara Rozgus, Chris Vavra, and Christina Miller May 16, 2022

Johnson first stumbled into the world of energy efficiency consulting as a senior in college, where her capstone design project involved retrofitting the school’s heating plant to operate with biofuels. She quickly realized that she loved thinking about the complexities of energy, design and economic trade-offs in a resource-constrained world. The design project never felt like “work” because she enjoyed it so much. She continues to feel this way as she works in the design industry 15 years later. As an associate director leading the Harris mid-Atlantic office, Johnson draws on a broad experience in HVAC and energy efficiency consulting to help steer design-build projects toward success. Her background spans multiple roles including energy auditing and building retro-commissioning, performing technical studies for the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and leading HVAC designs for commercial buildings. This broad experience, along with her infectious enthusiasm for the building industry, has helped her become a trusted adviser to her clients and colleagues. She is known for going the extra mile when working with interdisciplinary teams. She takes the time to ask questions, educate clients about design alternatives and help the team make informed decisions in system selection. Johnson’s interest in optimizing building systems comes from a long-standing relationship with the natural environment. As an outdoor enthusiast, she spends much of her free time hiking, exploring and rock climbing. She believes that engineers have a critical duty to implement sustainable designs that promote occupant well-being and sustain environmental health.