Josh Johnson splits his time three ways: school, working at Youth Shelter Supply in Waite Park and snowboarding at Powder Ridge near Kimball.
Josh Johnson walks the halls of St. Cloud Technical & Community College with a certain confidence — the kind of confidence a successful snowboarder and skilled graphic designer should have.
His self-assured demeanor and California surfer haircut belie the fact that Johnson is a 4.0 student with high career aspirations. And although snowboarding is a big part of Johnson's persona, it's the creative side of the winter activity that he plans on doing for the rest of his life.
"I've always been an artistic kind of guy," Johnson told the St. Cloud Times (http://on.sctimes.com/Z0k8zA). "I like to draw and paint and I discovered that the computer is just another medium I can work in. I'm able to design some pretty cool stuff with it.
"Designing (snowboards) is definitely something I could see myself doing for a long time."
Johnson is a first-year graphic design student at the Tech college. He splits his time three ways: school, working at Youth Shelter Supply in Waite Park and snowboarding at Powder Ridge near Kimball. A career spent designing snowboard graphics, T-shirts or anything else a snowboard shop may need would be a dream for Johnson, who lives in Cold Spring.
While creating designs and illustrations is Johnson's focus, his snowboarding career is nothing to ignore. He finished in the top five at last year's Peanut Butter and Rail Jam snowboard contest at Powder Ridge — considered to be the most elite snowboard competition in Minnesota. That finish qualified him to compete in Mammoth, Calif., at a national tournament. But it's the job he does at Youth Shelter Supply that has impressed his coworkers.
"We have him do stuff for the shop and it's been really good," said Mike Pettit, Johnson's boss at the Youth Shelter Supply. "From ads to logos, he's definitely got some talent.
"He's a jack-of-all-trades," Pettit said. "Whether it's graphic design or cleaning the bathrooms, he gets the job done."
Johnson's desire to enter the creative world of snowboarding got a boost this year when Pettit urged Johnson to apply for an all-expense paid trip to a popular snowboard convention in Denver.
The Trans World Business SIA Snow Show offers to fly out one "shop kid," or somebody who works in a snowboard or ski shop, who can best explain in 150 words or fewer why they want to work in the industry.
At the behest of Pettit, Johnson applied, was accepted, and then followed his boss out to Colorado to meet with professional snowboarders, industry giants and other companies that the Youth Shelter Supply would potentially like to buy from.
"It's a huge convention of these companies just showing off all of their products, so it was really cool to look at that side and see what it was like," Johnson said. "It was great to meet some of the people out there, too . just a really great experience."
"Josh came out and fit in really well," Pettit said. "He got a better look into what the industry is and some possible positions available. It was a really good networking opportunity for him."
Even after meeting representatives from some of the biggest snowboard companies in the U.S., Johnson humbly offers his view of ideal work.
"I'd just like to do freelance work. Whatever people want, I'd like to do it."