Johnston Construction will go on despite plane crash

January 8, 2013 12:00:01 AM PST
The plane crash that killed two people just southeast of Porterville is making a big impact at one of the biggest businesses in the Valley.

Johnston Construction has been around for more than 40 years and directly employs dozens of people. But hundreds more rely on Johnston for work, and many are getting word of the tragedy Monday.

The flag is flying at half-staff at Johnston Construction in Clovis on the day after its one and only plane crashed on its way from San Diego back to Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Employees aren't allowed to comment on the record, but a few of them tell Action News it's flying that way in honor of the owner and namesake, Floyd Johnston.

The construction company grew to be one of the biggest in the Central Valley, but contractors who worked with Johnston say his ego didn't grow along the way.

"He's very friendly, very down to earth, just a normal everyday kind of person, said Linisy Collins of J&C Trucking. "You'd never think that he was wealthy."

Losing the founder of a business could mean the end for many companies, but contractors are getting word their work won't stop.

"I understand that they're going to continue on, just like normal, regular business," said Debbie Collins of J&C Trucking. "That's what I was told."

That's good news for the city of Fresno, which is one of Johnston's biggest clients -- most recently contracting to build a $5.4 million water transmission line in Northeast Fresno.

Public works director Patrick Wiemiller had not received official word of Floyd Johnston's death, but he is confident the construction projects will go on.

"It's a pretty well-run and operated and managed company and our impression is relying on more than one person's efforts," he said. "Naturally, we're saddened at any loss that might've occurred within the company."

Johnston was a very experienced pilot and other pilots tell Action News the company had a second plane until a few months ago -- a twin engine prop plane -- but they sold it.

Monday night, their hangar at the airport is completely empty.