Donnelle (Painter) Johnson (’88): CPA and professional hunter
March 27, 2012
If you ran an online image search for the word “multi-talented,” Donnelle (Painter) Johnson’s picture may very well be the first item to pop onto your screen.
The 1988 Evangel University graduate is currently a marketing manager, church worship director, co-owner of a hunting software and mapping business, director of a yearly camp for international cross-cultural youth, professional hunter, and an active CPA license holder in the state of Colorado. She also serves on Evangel’s Alumni Board of Directors.
To put it simply, Donnelle Johnson does many things, and she does them well.
Johnson was raised in Woodward, Oklahoma. She decided to look into an Evangel education because of the positive feedback she received Evangel students who attended her church.
Along with studying for a double major in Accounting and Computer Science, she joined the women’s tennis team and the Revivaltime choir. Johnson says that Revivaltime especially had a profound influence on her spiritual life and, ultimately, on her later decision to become worship director at Parker Christian Center in Parker, Colorado.
She says her years at Evangel were a time when she learned to marry her God-given skills with her faith, a period of growth that has proven instrumental in the success of her various pursuits.
“Evangel gave me more than an education in my major,” she says. “It challenged me to become a well-rounded person in other areas as well. This has allowed me to diversify and use my talents in many different arenas.”
Johnson acknowledges another monumental takeaway from her years at Evangel: the network of connections she made. “It’s been said many times before, it’s not what you know but who you know,” she says. “My education at Evangel was important, but networking, especially with Evangel graduates, was critical.”
In 1988, Donnelle was hired at Exxon by Orville Mills, who served at that time as chairman of the Evangel University Board of Directors. One of his goals was to hire an Evangel graduate a year. It was during Donnelle’s time at Exxon that she met David Johnson, another Evangel graduate who had been hired by Mills a year earlier. Donnelle and David married one year later.
Working under the leadership of Mills, the couple learned valuable information regarding business controls and how to manage changing working conditions in a fast-paced environment. They found themselves working during the period of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The same year that the spill took place, Johnson also passed her CPA exam.
In 1995, David formed HuntData LLC, the business that he and Donnelle currently co-own. Today the company is a vendor with Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain Co. and Cabela’s Inc. Donnelle says she has found it enriching to watch David pursue his dream of creating software products for Colorado hunters.
A special moment came in 2011 when she and her husband contacted the Denver Bass Pro’s hunting manager regarding their new printed and digital hunting map products. The Denver manager was excited to put the items in his store. After several months, the couple finalized negotiations with the buyers for Bass Pro in Springfield, Missouri.
They actually completed the deal on the same trip that they moved their daughter Denae to Evangel. Two days later, the products were in the Denver store. “We were thankful that the timing was perfect and God had his hand in all of it,” says Donnelle. Her involvement with the company has also sparked personal interests in archery and rifle elk hunting. The success she has had using the company’s products has led to her signing a deal to become a professional hunter.
Along with her other responsibilities, Johnson stays active in missions. She currently serves as director for iYouth camp, which is a yearly camp for cross-cultural youth in Europe. In July of 2012, the camp met for its 11th year in Subiaco, Italy. Johnson works alongside Assemblies of God missionaries as well as the European international churches to organize the camp, and it has proven to be a powerful tool to help cross-cultural youth deepen their relationships with God and make connections with other Christian youth.
As Johnson continues to wear her many hats, she looks with fondness on her years spent as an Evangel student. Her ties to the university are multi-generational. Her oldest daughter, Denae, is now attending Evangel as a sophomore.
Looking back on the past and ahead to the future, she says, “I’m thankful for my four years at Evangel. I am also thankful for the professors who invested in my life. I’m even thankful to have learned that ‘All Truth is God’s Truth.’ Evangel helped me marry together my spiritual upbringing with the skills God gave to me. It helped me further develop these skills and use them for God’s kingdom. I’m looking forward to how Evangel will shape my daughter.”