Rick Johnson, BS, MLIS appointed Managing Director of the Applied Analytics & Emerging Technology Lab (AETL)

Author: Lucy Institute

Rick Johnson

Rick Johnson, BS, MLIS appointed Managing Director of the  Applied Analytics & Emerging Technology Lab (AETL)


The Lucy Family Institute For Data & Society is pleased to announce the appointment of  Rick Johnson, BS, MLIS as the Managing Director of the  Applied Analytics & Emerging Technology Lab (AETL) and as Associate Professor of the Practice in the Institute. AETL is part of the Lucy Family Institute and collaborates with iNDustry Labs to help accelerate economic and innovation impact in the South-Bend Elkhart region.

In his new role, Mr. Johnson plans to further Lucy’s commitment to the partnerships between academia and regional business. His goals include enabling sustained engagement and collaboration between academic teams, iNDustry Labs, and the regional business community; developing partnerships that accelerate Industry 4.0 digital transformation in the region, enhancing competitiveness and growth; and cultivating societal impact through the application of strong data analysis and innovative insights within the business community. 

“Rick is a consummate connector and bridge-builder,” said Nitesh Chawla, Founding Director of the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society and the Frank M. Freiman Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. “As we grow our relationships between the university and the business community, his ability to understand our mission and develop cooperative partnerships through AETL that empower it are absolutely critical. We are pleased to have Rick as part of the leadership team.”

Prior to joining AETL, Rick most recently combined his research, industry, and technology experience as the Director of the Strategic Innovation Lab which analyzed, prototyped, and vetted mid-to-long-term strategic opportunities for the Hesburgh Libraries.  As a community builder, Rick spearheaded Notre Dame joining the Samvera partnership in 2010 to serve as the foundation for the university’s institutional repository, CurateND; and later acted as a Visiting Program Officer for the Association of Research Libraries as a community leader for the SHARE project.  This work was coupled with Rick’s concurrent leadership positions as head of the Library Systems Unit from 2008-2011, co-director for the Digital Library Initiatives and Scholarship Program from 2012-2020, and the Director of the Strategic Innovation Lab from 2020 to early 2022.  

Rick has served as a consultant, contributor, and/or primary Co-Primary Investigator for several data-intensive multi-institutional research projects in collaboration with science and engineering faculty.  Contributions to campus partnerships included VecNet, DASPOS, PresQT (Co-PI), and the Digital ND Data Working Group. He contributed to the professional community through his work with the Research Data Alliance and the Preservation in Archives Special Interest Group.  Finally, prior to joining the university, Rick’s industry experience includes work as a software developer in the banking industry in Seattle for seven years, and two years in software sales and consulting in Chicago and Tokyo.

"In today’s environment, all companies must collect and leverage their data effectively or be at a competitive disadvantage. The collaboration of iNDustry Labs (iNDL) and the Applied Analytics and Emerging Technology Lab (AETL) to support regional companies in this effort is critical to advancing a more productive, resilient, and skilled region,"  said Scott Ford, Managing Director of iNDustry Labs. “Rick’s expertise in partnership development, especially where the infusion of data science best practices are concerned, will be a terrific asset to AETL and the community.”

“I had a chance to get to know Rick early in the search process, and the perspective he brings to the role through his long career both in industry and academia truly stood out,” said Thomas Fuja, Faculty Director at iNDustry Labs. “He knows Notre Dame and the mission, but he also brings a customer focus that is not often found in academia, as well as the leadership and technical skills to deliver complex, multi-institutional data projects. We are thrilled to have him on board.” 

His most recent work has been focused on the PACE Pilot (Publication Activity Collection Environment) in collaboration with Notre Dame Research to measure impact and highlight examples of research excellence. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame in Computer Science and Japanese, and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

About AETL

The Applied Analytics & Emerging Technology Lab (AETL), as part of the Lucy Family Institute, collaborates with iNDustry Labs to help accelerate economic and innovation impact in the South-Bend Elkhart region, achieving the goals of the LIFT Network. The AETL was in part made possible by a $42.4 million grant awarded to the University of Notre Dame in 2019 from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant supports Notre Dame’s partnership with the South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership in establishing and advancing the region's Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network.

About iNDustry Labs

iNDustry Labs was established to advance the University’s mission by linking the South Bend-Elkhart region’s primary economic drivers—its powerful manufacturing base and a global, tier-one research university—to support a more productive, resilient, and skilled community.  Through this work, iNDustry Labs provides educational and work-based learning opportunities for students and professionals to equip them with the skills that will translate to tomorrow’s opportunities.

As the University of Notre Dame’s platform for collaboration with local industry, iNDustry Labs provides strategic and technical support for industry advancement; matches innovation opportunities in local companies with resources at the University and LIFT Network partners; identifies and amplifies experiential learning opportunities (project-based courses and internships) for students; and advances and promotes the region’s knowledge base in the advanced industry through workshops, events, and thought leadership opportunities.