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William A. Johnson, Jr.

William A. Johnson, Jr. brings a rare and unique combination of skills and experiences to the field of community strategic planning and intervention. He has been a tenured college professor, the Mayor of a major American city, a transformational leader of a major not-for-profit human service provider, a committed community volunteer, and a mentor and coach to many aspiring and upwardly mobile professionals.


At a time when many people move into the retirement phase of life, Bill Johnson recreated himself as an entrepreneur and advisor to government, education and non-profit leaders. After extensive research and consultation with respected peers, the need for a consulting service to help resolve major conflicts and instill collaborative practices as a regular way of doing business became clear. Thus, Strategic Community Intervention LLC was founded in 2013, with Bill Johnson as its sole owner and chief executive.

He had already traveled to Siheung City, South Korea the previous year to consult with its Mayor and other community leaders about the acclaimed Neighbors Building Neighborhoods (NBN) program that was created and implemented during his tenure as Mayor of Rochester. He had extensive meetings with three other South Korean municipalities, including the national capital Seoul, thus envisioning SCI as a global consulting firm. However, this part of his plan did not fully materialize.

SCI advises clients on issues of citizen participation, governmental restructuring, and strategic organizational planning, development, and redesign. It has assembled a roster of more than 25 Associates in Rochester, five states, and the District of Columbia, to advise clients and facilitate creative solutions in its areas of practice.

From January 1, 2005 until his retirement in 2013, he was the Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He held a joint appointment in the departments of STS/ Public Policy and Sociology/ Anthropology. He was the coordinator of the new Urban and Community Studies program, taught courses, conducted research, and lectured on the decline of “rust belt” northeastern and mid-western cities like Rochester; and the recovery and renewal strategies that were being proposed.  In 1993-94, he was the Minett Professor at RIT. At the beginning of his career, he was a tenured member of the political science faculty at the Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan (1967-71). Since 2017, he has been an adjunct faculty member in the doctoral program in Executive Leadership at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

From 1994 through 2005, he was the 64th Mayor of the City of Rochester. During his tenure, many new and innovative programs were implemented that improved conditions in every city neighborhood. Notable among these programs were the aforementioned NBN; the Neighborhood Empowerment Teams (NET); community-oriented policing to overcome long-standing tensions between the African-American and police communities; community economic development that gave equal attention to neighborhood and downtown development; and youth engagement programs that empowered young people to become key leaders in their schools and neighborhoods.

A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, he moved to Rochester from Flint in December 1972 to become the chief executive officer of the Urban League of Rochester. Prior, he had served nearly two years as the Deputy Executive Director of the Urban League of Flint. During his 21 year tenure in Rochester, which ended upon his election as Mayor, the ULR became a major provider of more than 30 human services and advocacy programs. Many new innovative programs, such as the Salute to Black Scholars, the Black Scholars Endowment Fund, and the ULR Economic Development Corporation, were implemented. All of these programs still operate successfully, four decades after their founding.

Johnson is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC,( B.A. ‘65 and M.A. ’67 in political science) His alma mater presented him with the "Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement" in 2003. He has served on the board of nearly two dozen organizations and was the board chair of six of them. In 2020, he was appointed one of three co-chairs of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE), empaneled by the City of Rochester and the County of Monroe. Comprised of 21 Commissioners and working with nearly 200 volunteers, a final report with more than 50 recommendations was submitted to the Mayor and County Executive in March 2021 for implementation.

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