Posts by Jeremiah Cayea


One of the longest full-time tenured employees to work for Johnson Engineering, Mike was instrumental in establishing the company’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services.

Originally from Ohio, Mike Lohr and his family vacationed in Cape Coral each summer throughout the late 1970s and early 80s. One summer in 1983, Mike thought his wife Judy was out shopping when she returned home to announce she was going to start Monday as a receptionist at the new Fort Myers airport. With this exciting life-changing decision, Mike and his boys returned to Ohio, packed up their life, and moved to Cape Coral.
Within a week of the move, Mike began working for Ardaman & Associates providing geotechnical testing, soil, asphalt, and concrete testing, pile driving, and drilling. At the time, the Edison Mall was undergoing a major expansion and Johnson Engineering was providing the site design, parking, and drainage for the project. It was there where Mike met Johnson Engineering construction inspector, Dan Dickey. As the geotechnical expert on site, Mike was responsible for ensuring quality control for soil densities, pavement, and concrete. Dan took notice of how Mike demanded precision, despite upsetting contractors with failed soil tests and turning away concrete trucks. Dan thought Mike would make a great fit for the fast-growing Johnson Engineering team. In 1984, Dan took Mike under his wing and taught him all about construction inspection and how to help get the work done correctly in the field, on time, and within budget. Dan was known for setting high standards associated with Johnson Engineering projects.
Mike’s first project at Johnson Engineering was as an FAA Resident Inspector for the Punta Gorda Airport runway extension project. This project was an integral part of the airport being able to accommodate the larger airliners that fly in and out today.
A few years later, then company President Archie Grant, PE, PSM, offered for Mike to work in the Water Resources group, requiring him to learn drafting and design for stormwater projects, while also continuing to provide construction observations.
Throughout his years at Johnson Engineering, Mike worked on many well-known, eco-sensitive projects throughout Southwest Florida which included permitting and construction phases for the water control structures (weirs) for Midfield Terminal Expansion at Southwest Florida International Airport, Golden Gate Estates for Big Cypress Basin, Six Mike Cypress Slough to Ten Mile Canal, and the Telegraph Cypress Swamp at Babcock Ranch, to name a few. Mike has been in the trenches, literally, at times crawling through long lengths of 24” potable water lines to check the integrity of pipe joints. Talk about claustrophobia!
In the mid-1980s, Mike attended a hand drafting course at Edison Community College, now known as Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW). At the conclusion of that course, the instructor suggested he might be interested in a new course being offered called AutoCAD or Computer Assisted Drafting (CAD). Mike saw the future potential of this program but was met with resistance to suggesting a change from the company’s existing Vango software. He was eventually successful in leading the charge to convert the company to use this program. Today AutoCAD is the global leader in software applications used in civil, architectural, and mechanical engineering and other industries.
In 1995, the Water Resources team began a project for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to do a watershed study in South Lee County following the historic flooding. This project required our team to use data from their ESRI-based mainframe Geographical Information Systems (GIS) server. This was the catalyst for the company to begin utilizing GIS to assist in an array of mapping, data management, and spatial analysis solutions. Mike spearheaded the company’s GIS services for the last two decades, which today benefit projects in every one of our market groups.
Mike continued to pursue his education and in 1999 he received his Professional Surveying & Mapping license. He was always on a mission to learn new technology that would benefit the company. In 2000, he became a stockholder in the company. Shortly thereafter, Mike’s son Paul began working for the company as an engineering technician. Throughout the last 23 years, they worked closely together on GIS-related projects. Paul is now a senior Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) and will step into his father’s shoes in supporting the company’s GIS efforts.
We wish Mike well in his next adventure and thank him for his 38 years of commitment and dedication to Johnson Engineering. We are honored to have had him as a part of our team.

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The City of Clewiston recently completed the rehabilitation of East Ventura Avenue from Deane Duff Avenue to Francisco Street. This project was partially funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through their Small County Outreach Program (SCOP). Created to assist cities and counties in rural areas, SCOP grants through FDOT provide municipalities funding for the maintenance and construction of local roadways. At the eastern terminus of this project lies Francisco Street, a Hendry County roadway recently rehabilitated through the SCOP program.
Nearing the end of its service life, East Ventura was littered with patches, and in some instances, there were patches on the patches. Geotechnical borings indicated a layer of organic material (muck) underneath portions of the roadway. To minimize future maintenance efforts and provide a structurally sound roadway, the rehabilitation efforts in these areas included excavation of the muck and reconstruction of the roadway base, subgrade, and embankment with suitable materials. These areas were then resurfaced with asphalt for the remainder of the roadway for a continuous patch-free surface.
Three other beneficial improvements were made to this road as it traverses through primarily residential areas. The first was the installation of inlets and pipes under the roadway to improve drainage from the road and adjacent properties. This change to the drainage system helps reduce water on the pavement. The second was an improvement of the sidewalk system to bring it into compliance with the current standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The third reestablished pedestrian crosswalks at three of the intersections. All three improvements contribute to the safety of the traveling public and pedestrians.
For more information about this project or to have similar work done, please contact John Glenn at [email protected]
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When Hurricane Ian ravaged Southwest Florida, Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School in Cape Coral was one of three Lee County Schools that suffered significant damage during the storm, preventing students from returning when the rest of the District went back to class. The students were split up with K-2 temporarily going to Hancock Creek Elementary School and grades 3-5 going to Pelican Elementary, both five miles away in opposite directions.
Since Johnson Engineering is on Lee County School District’s continuing services contract, they reached out to us with an urgent plea to help design a temporary portable campus adjacent to the existing school on Cape Coral Technical College’s property. The area was intended for the college’s eventual expansion but luckily was available to accommodate this need for 46 portables to bring the students back together again.
Johnson Engineering has been working with the School District for decades, which allowed our Director of Development, Dana Hume, PE to hit the ground running, working around the clock with Cotton Global Disaster Solutions, BSSW Architects, TLC Engineering, the School District staff, and Principal Dr. Jason Kurtz, to quickly get the campus designed, permitted, and ready for students. Together, this team took what is typically a six-month project, and got these students back together under one roof in an astonishing 52 days. It was a job well done by an experienced team to accomplish this feat. It was an especially nice gift for students to go into their Christmas break knowing they would all be together again to start the new year.
For more information contact Dana Hume, PE at [email protected] 
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Whether you’re just graduating college or have had an established career and are looking for a change, Johnson Engineering has opportunities for you. Johnson Engineering is one of Southwest Florida’s oldest and best-known civil engineering and surveying firms. Our team of more than 120 team members consists of professional engineers, surveyors, ecologists, scientists, geologists, certified planners, and landscape architects located in six offices throughout Florida.
You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside professional experts in their field, work on exciting projects, and enjoy the growth and stability of an established professional organization. Our work atmosphere promotes the full potential of your skill set and knowledge in a supportive corporate culture that recognizes initiative and rewards achievement.
Visit our website to view our open positions and submit your resume!
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Bayshore Drive recognized with the 2022 Great Places in Florida Award

The year 2022 has been significant for this Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Redevelopment Area in many ways. The pace of private development and redevelopment activity continues to tick upward. Construction of the Courthouse Shadows complex, including 300 apartments, is entering final stages, and construction has kicked off for the mixed-use catalyst project Metropolitan Naples at the intersection of Davis Boulevard and US 41. The CRA office completed the opening of a public parking lot with 37 parking spaces, 2 rideshare pull-offs, and low impact stormwater design, plus space for one electric car charging station. The CRA office also launched preliminary planning and permitting activities for the first phase of a boardwalk connecting CRA owned property along Bayshore Drive to Sugden Park, and initial steps are underway to launch a Master Plan for the Gateway Triangle Area.

The area’s redevelopment accomplishments have captured attention outside Southwest Florida. In November 2022, Bayshore Drive was named Winner of the Florida American Planning Association’s 2022 Great Place in Florida Award. Other finalists included places from Deltona, St. Petersburg, and Tallahassee. The CRA joins an elite list of notable locations to have received this award since 2014: Mount Dora, Downtown Fernandina Beach, Cascades Park in Tallahassee, Downtown Pensacola, Downtown Winter Garden, Downtown Winter Haven, Historic Downtown Stuart, and Mill Lake Park Continuum in Orange City. This is the ninth year for this award. This year’s theme was Great Healthy Places. With attributes like Naples Botanical Garden, the gateway roundabout where Bayshore intersects Thomasson Drive at Del’s Corner, green colored bike lanes, a waterfront gathering place at Celebration Food Truck Park, and local artist installations, the corridor stands apart as a complete street and community asset, setting the standard for other jurisdictions looking to bring health, well-being and vibrancy through redevelopment.

Our planning team has provided planning and zoning services to the CRA office by assisting with monitoring development activity, advising the CRA on development inquiries, and by completing Growth Management Plan amendments and Land Development Code amendments that help implement the adopted CRA Redevelopment Plan. The amendments went into effect in April 2022 changing governing policies and regulations to align with three priorities identified in the Redevelopment Plan: appearance standards for outdoor sales, display, and storage; architectural standards for single family homes; and creation of public realm improvement requirements for the density bonus program along with a limited bonus density pool allocation process for properties of two contiguous acres or smaller. These new standards will help the CRA continue its trajectory with quality infill and redevelopment projects that contribute to the character of the area.

The impacts of Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28, 2022, was felt intensely in the Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Area. The area’s older infrastructure and buildings were inundated with storm surge that compromised homes and businesses. In the days and weeks following the storm, the resilience of the people who live and do business in this area was steadfast. Through the community spirit and the lessons learned from this storm, the Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Area will continue robust engagement and planning efforts to continue making strides toward redevelopment programs and projects that are recognized as models for success.

For more information, contact Chrissy Fisher, AICP at [email protected].




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Major storm event, water, flooding, canals, waterways…are words that keep ringing through our ears after the catastrophic Hurricane Ian tore through Florida. Diligent planning, effective modeling software, and engineering designs allowed for the Greater Port Charlotte (GPC) Storm Structure in Charlotte County to work effectively, keeping residents, businesses, and roadways safe!

In 1999, Charlotte County Public Works (CCPW) retained Johnson Engineering to modernize the Greater Port Charlotte (GPC) Storm Structure infrastructure within the Fordham/Niagara & Little Alligator Creek Basins. This comprised almost 21 square miles of urbanized area of Charlotte County. Initially, General Development Corp (GDC) planned this development circa 1950s – 60s; with a massive marketing campaign of selling Florida paradise all over the United State and the world in 80’x125’ lots. To do this, GDC planners and engineers shaped and dewatered this native Florida landscape with canals/waterways and provided storm structures along major corridors. These basins have 51 total structures installed circa early 1960s and have reached their life span in planned use.

CCPW knew the GPC area needed re-modeling to account for urbanization growth which occurred over the 50+ years of development and to assure no adverse impacts would occur with major storm events. One past storm event was in the summer of 1995, which caused roadway overtopping, roadway scouring failure, and major damage with exposed/compromised water/sewer infrastructure.

CCPW retained Johnson Engineering to survey, design, permit, and re-create the modeling of the GPC basins. The modeling required initially was Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), which is software from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and allows a dynamic model and included inflows from Sarasota County. To acquire permits from Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), the model was converted to Interconnected Channel and Pond Routing (ICPR) modeling software. This led Johnson Engineering to acquire a conceptual Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) from SWFWMD for the County. This conceptual ERP would be the guiding document to the systematic replacement of the 51 storm structures over the next 20+ years as funding/budgeting became available. The phasing and sequencing was interrupted with the 2004-05 hurricane seasons, with 2004 Hurricane Charley causing years of delay in order to address the repairs needed post-hurricane.

Most recently, as Hurricane Ian slowly and stubbornly made its destructive way through the area with relentless rain, wind and storm surge, the GPC renovated storm structure system performed without fail!

This table summarizes the project and our team’s involvement in the engineering, permitting, and construction of the storm structures in the project.

In addition, this work has been beneficial to the public in the following ways:

  • Maximizing public right-of-way – The original storm structures installed by GDC spanned the roadway width only, which wouldn’t allow for many other amenities found in modern roadway/bridge construction, i.e. pathways, lighting, utilities. The new structures were designed and located to maximize the full right-of-way to allow for these amenities to be placed now or in the future.
  • Along with these replacements, Johnson Engineering was instrumental in qualifying many of these structures as Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) bridges due to the span in the waterways being >20 ft wide. Therefore, these structures will be on the FDOT bridge inventory to be inspected within the FDOT library on an annual basis.
  • Needed utility upgrades at each structure were accommodated during design and construction. The initial 1960s construction of these storm structures was transportation focused with little accommodation for utilities (public and private) which eventually followed. As part of the new construction, utilities were addressed and accounted for.
  • Since these 21 square miles of basin are mostly built out, this means the public transportation system at these structures is heavily used by commuters, residents, school busing systems, garbage collection, emergency management, and others as part of daily life. Johnson Engineering worked with these stakeholders to implement fast-track construction, detour routes, and on several structures required open roadways/sidewalk during construction to avoid major daily life interruptions.

The GPC basins have all been modernized with new storm structures with design life to last generations and CCPW has fulfilled their duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Charlotte County. Johnson Engineering is proud to have worked in such a major role for this project.

For more information, contact Charlotte County Branch Manager, Chris Beers, PE, PSM at [email protected] or (941) 766-6262.

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The newest academic building #9, the School of Water Resources & Integrated Sciences, nicknamed “The Water School”, opened this fall for students. This revolutionary educational facility is like nothing Southwest Florida has seen. The new 4-story facility will be entirely water-focused, integrating water resources, coastal studies, marine, biology, and ecological sciences together with the existing STEM programs. Hands-on labs and classrooms will allow students to dive into learning more about the estuaries and rivers that flow throughout our communities, to the Everglades, and Gulf of Mexico. This school will open many doors to students as well as benefit our Southwest Florida community by helping learn, study, research, and find solutions to help our area’s water quality issues.

Johnson Engineering was the civil engineer for the project, working closely together with RG Architects, HuntonBrady Architects, and Manhattan Construction, as we provided the overall site and parking design, stormwater management plan, environmental, utilities, and associated permitting. We are excited to see the impact this school makes on our community.

For more information, contact Dana Hume, PE at (239) 461-2471 or [email protected].

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Johnson Engineering’s “Support Our Schools” initiative grew out of our belief that private enterprise has an ongoing responsibility to contribute to the education and learning of the young people in their local communities. We also believe that their teachers, who play such a vital role in their students growth and development, are truly the unsung heroes of our communities. They deserve every opportunity possible to have whatever supplies and equipment they need to teach effectively. This perspective led to Johnson Engineering’s “Support Our Schools” Program, which is designed to benefit K-12 schools in the counties in which we have offices by participating, sponsoring, and donating to a variety of community relations efforts to directly and positively impact the school’s teachers and students.

This fall, Johnson Engineering employees donated hundreds of school supplies to the School Districts of Lee, Pasco, Hendry, Collier, and Charlotte Counties. Community support is such an important resource for our schools. Improving education resources can better prepare our children who will become our future workforce.

We wish the teachers and students a successful 2022-23 school year!

For more information contact Dana Hume, PE at (239) 461-2471 or [email protected].

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Through an official Proclamation from the State of Florida, Johnson Engineering’s Director of Water Resources, Andy Tilton, PE, was recognized for his nearly 40 years of outstanding achievements and successful projects as a professional engineer!

Andy joined Johnson Engineering in 1978 and throughout his career has played a role in nearly every project imaginable throughout Southwest Florida, in one aspect or another. Andy has studied, walked through, and tested many natural water bodies plus a significant number of stormwater ponds, whether big or small in Southwest Florida. His knowledge of our area’s hydrology is unmatched. Congratulations Andy!

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Subsurface Utility Exploration (SUE) is the process of vacuum excavation to expose underground utilities to determine their location, size, types, and depths to help avoid conflicts during construction.

Not far below the everyday places we walk and drive, exists a maze of utilities which carry critical components for our daily lives, carrying water, sewer, phone, and electricity to our homes and businesses. Navigating this unseen superhighway of conduits to avoid utility conflicts, delays, and service interruptions is a challenge that general contractors, utility providers, and municipalities face. Comprehensive and accurate mapping is critical for the success of their projects.

SUE is a process that uses a combination of pressurized water and high vacuum suction to remove and break up soil, rocks, and underground roots to reveal utility lines buried underneath all the debris. These utility lines can be buried anywhere from one foot deep to eight feet below the surface. Once uncovered, the size and composition of the utility pipe is recorded, photographed, and then marked with a wooden stake. The stake is labeled with the size, material type of utility and depth of the pipe for field use. Traditional survey methods are then used to locate x, y and z coordinates of the utility. Survey technicians can put this information into CADD programs for engineering design use or into a Geographic Information System (GIS) for a variety of mapping applications. After the dig is complete the hole or trench is then backfilled, and the soil is compacted back to its original condition.

Johnson Engineering began offering SUE services in the late 1990s and has continued to build upon our arsenal of resources. Our surveying and mapping team recently acquired the newest line of Vermeer’s high-capacity truck-mounted vacuum excavator. This 4-wheel drive diesel custom-built truck expands our service and efficiency. It has increased our ability to stay on site longer, with larger 2,200-gallon water supply and spoil tank capacity, as well as an increase to 3,000 psi water pressure to quickly break down compact dirt and debris. The vehicle also comes with a remote-controlled hydraulic telescoping boom to easily hold and extend the suction hose in place during excavation. The hydraulic cam-over rear door allows for storage as well as the ability to easily empty the spoil tank to restore the area to pre-existing conditions. This one-of-a-kind vehicle provides double the suction and lift power of traditional machines and is a cost-effective, efficient tool to utilize on your projects.

SUE is required by FDOT on all design projects that include underground infrastructure or earthwork excavation. Choosing the right company to quickly perform these underground investigations is vital to identify potential conflicts before they adversely affect the schedule and budget. Our team is specialty-trained, holding both state and federal certifications for quality levels A through D excavating and covering tasks, operation of heavy equipment and sign placement for gas companies. They are trained in traditional land surveying, as well as OSHA safety regulations, MOT regulations, Sunshine State One Call requirements and the other unique aspects of SUE technology. 

Having provided SUE throughout Southwest Florida for the last 20 years, we are continually searching for ways to provide our clients the most effective and efficient service. Comprehensive and accurate underground utility location and mapping of these vast and complicated networks has become a critical and essential asset to utility providers, general contractors, and municipalities alike and we have stepped up to the challenge of efficiently uncovering them. With the addition of our new SUE Vermeer system, we will continue to provide comprehensive and accurate underground utility mapping for our clients. 

For more information, contact the director of our surveying and mapping team, Matt Howard, PSM, at [email protected].

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