Ray Johnson has been promoted from director to executive director of Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute. His expanded role includes operational oversight of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, scheduled to open on campus in 2017.
During his tenure as director, Johnson oversaw a significant increase in annual enrollment and revenue for wine business programs in the School of Business and Economics. Over five years leading the Institute, he secured more than $10 million in support for leadership in wine business education and research, in addition to expanding access for students to wine industry careers, scholarships and internships.
"Ray's leadership is pivotal to the growth and trajectory of international wine business education and research," said William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics. "From industry certifications and master's degrees in global wine business, to leading-edge research working to solve the industry's most pressing needs, Ray's deep background and attention to our students and stakeholders make him uniquely positioned to take on this expanded role."
In addition to current activities involving organizational development and program execution, he is now responsible for the operation of programs and events at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, including activities related to alumni engagement, student learning, and faculty development and research projects.
"We've accomplished great things on behalf of our students and the next generation of wine business leaders. It's an honor to help guide the Wine Business Institute in its next stage and an exciting future for the global wine industry," said Johnson.
Construction of the 15,000-square-foot, $9.15 million Wine Spectator Learning Center began on June 1 with an official groundbreaking ceremony attended by over 300 people, including California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin Shanken and others.