Episode 412: Lessons from a Legend: Stephen Johnson on Truett Cathy and Building Automation Controls

In the realm of building automation and controls, there are few who embody the wisdom and tenacity of the great Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A.

One such man is Stephen Johnson, the Vice President of Automation and Controls at McKenneys. Stephen is a friend and a customer. He is someone I admire and respect. I am thrilled that he is my guest on this weeks Controltalk Now. He has much to share with us!

From humble beginnings as a janitor at Chick-fil-A Corporation, Stephen scaled the ranks and, for a time, served as the bodyguard and driver for Truett Cathy himself. Now, with lessons from the legend echoing in his heart, Stephen applies this wisdom to his work at McKenneys, shaping the future of the building automation controls industry.

In Episode 412 of ControlTalk Now the HVAC and Smart Buildings Podcast, Stephen shares the invaluable insights he gleaned from his time with Truett Cathy and how these lessons have shaped his leadership at McKenneys.

The journey of Stephen Johnson is one of grit and determination. Starting as a janitor at Chick-fil-A, he never faltered in his pursuit of excellence. As he rose through the ranks, he became the trusted bodyguard and driver for Truett Cathy, the man who would leave an indelible mark on his life.

Truett Cathy was a man of many virtues, but it was his teachings that held the most value for Stephen. He learned the importance of hard work and dedication, the value of humility and continuous learning, the significance of treating people with respect and kindness, and the role of innovative thinking in business success.

As you will hear, Stephen took the principals he learned and added to them. 75 lunches will make perfect sense to you after listening to  Stephen.


With Truett Cathy’s wisdom etched in his mind, Stephen now leads the building automation controls department at McKenneys, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. He prioritizes employee well-being and development, and emphasizes customer-centric solutions in automation and controls.

In the face of challenges within the industry, Stephen has drawn on the lessons from Truett Cathy to overcome them. Under his leadership, McKenneys has achieved notable success in the automation and controls department, proving the value of the wisdom he carries with him.

It is in the words of Truett Cathy that we find the essence of Stephen Johnson’s journey. By listening to Episode 414 of ControlTalk Now the HVAC and Smart Buildings Podcast, one can gain a deeper understanding of his path and the insights he has gleaned from a true industry legend.

Thanks to Stephen for sharing his wisdom.

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Other topics on this weeks Episode:

I give my thoughts on Controls Con, you can read my review here. Hint: It was awesome!

Our sponsor this week is Controls Group North America.

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