New IABC OC Treasurer is Well-Traveled PR Rep for Clean Energy Corp.

Even after practicing public relations in a variety of countries and situations as a public affairs officer in the Marine Corps, Jason Johnston recognizes that he doesn’t know everything about communications.

That’s one reason why he’s become an active member of IABC Orange County, and going so far as to step in as treasurer following IABC OC board member Roberta Coffin’s recent relocation.

“As a new PR practitioner here, it’s important that I get out and meet other PR folks,” he says. “I like being part of a leadership team and especially with me being new to the area, board service helps me to get involved.”

Johnston, who retired from the military in 2012 after serving for 22 years, is director of public relations for Clean Energy Fuels Corporation based in Newport Beach, where he handles communications for the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America.

The company builds and operates compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations; manufactures CNG and LNG equipment and technologies; develops renewable natural gas (RNG) production facilities; and delivers more CNG, LNG and Redeem™ RNG fuel than any company in the U.S.

“Communications is all about influencing others and promoting your brand,” Johnston notes. “There’s always a lot of resistance to change, but with effective communications you soon have people promoting your brand.”

After recently separating from his wife, he moved to Orange County for a new start. Most importantly, he wanted to be close to his son Ryan, who is playing baseball for UC Irvine.

Johnston appreciates the opportunity to work with an environmentally friendly business. He previously worked for several San Diego companies, including a biotech firm, and served on the IABC San Diego board of directors. He has also been a member of PRSA, the Public Relations Society of America.

Johnson is in the midst of earning an MBA from the University of Redlands. “I have a graduate degree in communications but I lack business acumen,” he says. “I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. The training will help me out when I’m writing the annual report for the CEO or reporting on the latest earnings.”

He says he most enjoys learning from the real-world experiences of IABC OC speakers at monthly meetings. “I’ve practiced PR all over the world, but I haven’t done it all. People out there have done amazing things, and attending the meetings is time well spent.”