Posts by Vishal Thoriya


Life-sized 3D cardboard mock-up of rooms for the new Fort Myers Hospital allows Lee Health to test the most efficient use of space prior to design and construction.

The new state-of-the-art Lee Health hospital and medical destination will sit on 52 acres along Challenger Boulevard, between Colonial Boulevard and Winkler Avenue, in the City of Fort Myers. It’s slated to open in the fall of 2027 and will potentially offer up to 120 beds.

When designing and planning something as important as a hospital, you want to ensure you are creating the safest, most efficient, and effective facility possible. The best way to do this is through creating real world simulations that allow doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel to test out the proposed physical space, floor plans, and flows of various departments prior to design and construction. Lee Health staff and clinicians constructed 3D models of specific areas of the facility by using large pieces of freestanding cardboard to recreate realistic rooms. This allowed the staff to touch and feel as if they were truly in a patient exam room and adjust the layout accordingly.

The room prototypes included patient check-in areas equipped with full workstations, patient exam rooms with exam tables and sitting areas, laboratory and pharmacy layouts, as well as full replicas of the emergency center, and more, all crafted out of cardboard.

In order to increase efficiency, the team looked at everything, as small as a location of gloves and supplies, to as large as the most proficient location of the surgical equipment, monitors, and booms over operating tables. The team also evaluated the size of the rooms and doorways to ensure they had enough space to bring in any needed large equipment to provide the necessary medical care during critical moments. Handwritten notes on the cardboard walls indicate clinicians’ recommendations for where specific items should be located in the final design.

The simulations provided a first-hand experience to test if the new facility’s design would work in the real world and not just on paper. Reenacting various medical scenarios gave healthcare professionals the opportunity to shape the delivery of care and improve upon the design, based on their own experience working in a clinical setting.

After the simulations, the staff debriefed and assessed the space to propose various modifications to the design, which is then evaluated for feasibility to incorporate into the final design. The simulations help determine the arrangement and organization of interior spaces to maximize utility and efficient delivery of service. Flad Architects uses this information to refine the building functions and form, and engage with our Johnson Engineering planners, engineers, and landscape architects throughout the process so the design of site features including access, parking, water management, and open spaces are in harmony and lend to the quality of experience for those who work in and visit the facility.

This isn’t the first time our team has walked down the cardboard halls. The creative idea of a cardboard simulated facility helped this same team successfully design the Lee Health Coconut Point in Estero in 2016. Having worked on countless other projects with Lee Health, it’s rewarding to see their consistent strategy for health, wellness, and well-being. Watching these simulations used so early on in the design phase shows their patient-based, patient-focused design, and their continued commitment to wellness by building the safest, most efficient medical facility possible.

For more information, contact Dana Hume, PE, at [email protected].

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In mid-2020, our water resources team was contacted by the property manager of the elite El Blanco resort in Mexico to inquire about our past experience with lined lakes, which are designed to prevent water percolation and seepage.

El Banco, Puerto Vallarta Mexico’s premiere beachfront property, is situated just 30 minutes from downtown on what is arguably the bay’s most gorgeous white-sandy beach. The community celebrates the pristine natural beauty of sand and sea with a low-density, high-luxury setting. Included within the community is the recently completed Susurros del Corazón, a member of the Auberge Resorts Collection and featured on Condé Nast Traveler and the Michelin Guide.

Ahead of the resort’s opening, the owners of El Banco were looking to rehabilitate an existing 4-acre lined lake located at the entrance to the community. Johnson Engineering was selected to review the existing lake and facilitate its rehabilitation based on our experience designing lined lakes in tropical and subtropical regions. Specific tasks included evaluating the existing lake design and providing design alternatives, including the lake configuration, lining, water supply, and aeration.

Following an initial site visit to investigate the subsurface conditions of the lake and its interconnectedness with the surrounding resort, our engineers prepared a preliminary design report. The report included design improvements and an annual water budget to estimate existing and future potential freshwater sources to keep the lake full for aesthetic purposes and use the lake for treated reuse water storage for irrigation.

Our multilingual design team worked in a cross-cultural setting with a team of engineers in Mexico (who took ultimate ownership of design and construction) to create plans for the new lake. Design elements included a 48-inch reinforced concrete bypass culvert, lake lining material imported from a US-based manufacturer, soil cover that facilitated littoral plantings, lake bottom shape, subgrade preparation, and aeration recommendations. Two additional site visits were made by our team during construction to review progress and check conformance with the project’s design intent.

Now complete, the refurbished lake plays an important role in water conservation by storing excess wet season water for irrigation use during the dry season and its banks have become attractive foraging habitat for migratory wading birds.

Throughout this project, the field of engineering and design proved to be universal no matter what country we were working in. This was a rewarding experience for our team and one we hope to be able to duplicate and expand on in future international endeavors.

For more information contact Jordan Varble, PE, at [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 District of Lee County and the Pasco Education Foundation’s Wise Supplies. 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 2023-24 school year!

For more information contact Dana Hume, PE at [email protected].

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If you live in Lee County, Florida, have vacationed here, or driven through, you more than likely have visited or seen many facilities where Kevin Winter was the Engineer of Record throughout the last three decades of his career.

Kevin moved to Fort Myers in 1986 shortly after he received his BSCE and MBA from the University of Iowa. Being an avid golfer, he always had his sights on moving to the Southeast due to booming golf course development throughout the region. Originally wanting to work for a golf course developer, he never expected after accepting the position with Johnson Engineering, that it would lead to a 36-year career with the company.

Kevin was fortunate to have worked with and been mentored by three former company presidents: Forrest Banks, PE; Steve Morrison, PE; and the late Archie Grant, PE, PSM. The three were ambitious well-known experts in their respective fields and trained Kevin early in his career about responsibility to your community, to be true to your values, and to uphold ethical principles and high standards on every project. This became evident in Kevin’s successful collection of signature projects and longevity with the company.

In 1989 he earned his Professional Engineering license and became a partner of the firm in 1992. His responsibilities focused on all phases of development, utility, drainage, and road design. Throughout the 1980s/90s the area was booming with new development. Kevin was the engineer of record, or part of the design team, for nearly every major golf course community, mall, recreational facility, and airport in Lee County. Below are just a few projects you may recognize…

GOVERNMENTAL/COMMERCIAL PROJECTS: Southwest Florida International Airport, Downtown Fort Myers Waterfront Basin, Luminary Hotel, Pagefield Commons, The Forum Fort Myers, Gulf Coast Town Center, Lee County Libraries, LeeSar Regional Service Center, Edison Mall Expansion

SINGLE/MULTIFAMILY HOUSING & ASSISTED LIVING PROJECTS: Bonita Bay, Verandah, Shadow Wood Preserve, Fort Myers County Club, Eastwood Golf Course, Fiddlesticks, Shell Point, West Bay Club, Coral Oaks, Cypress Lake County Club RECREATIONAL: Minnesota Twins Spring Training Facility-Hammond Stadium/Lee County Sports Complex, Boston Red Sox Spring Training Facility – JetBlue Park at Fenway South

RECREATIONAL: Minnesota Twins Spring Training Facility-Hammond Stadium/Lee County Sports Complex, Boston Red Sox Spring Training Facility – JetBlue Park at Fenway South

In the early 2000s Kevin was named Director of the company’s Land Development group and in 2011 he became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Kevin spearheaded the Board’s efforts to develop a strategic plan to renew the company’s goals and methods of operation. Client satisfaction was always his utmost priority.

We wish Kevin well in his retirement and hope he gets to spend as many days on the golf course as he did designing them throughout his 36 years! We are honored to have had him as a part of our team.

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Johnson Engineering completed the design for the widening of Burnt Store Road in Cape Coral from 2-lanes to 4-lanes, from Pine Island Road (SR 78) to NW 5th Terrace. This segment of roadway was designed to be expandable to a future 6-lane roadway and serves as a hurricane evacuation route. Construction of the roadway was recently completed, and a ribbon cutting was hosted by the City of Cape Coral and Lee County on April 27, 2023.

Our team provided the roadway and drainage design for the corridor, along with all associated permitting. In addition, we provided street lighting and landscaping design for a portion of the roadway from Pine Island Road (SR 78) to Delilah Drive, along with signal improvements at the intersection of Pine Island Road to accommodate new turn lanes. The project also included one mainline bridge which provides pedestrian access underneath the roadway.

For more information contact Ryan Bell at [email protected].

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On March 29, 2023, the Governor signed the Live Local Act (SB 102) into law, representing the largest housing affordability investment in Florida history. Over $711 million is appropriated for affordable and workforce housing initiatives, downpayment assistance, and tax credit programs. Besides funding, the law eases regulation in the hopes it will spur development of affordable housing in commercial and industrial zoning districts, near workplaces.

Local jurisdictions are now preempted on certain land use and zoning decisions regarding affordable housing. Cities and counties can no longer enact rent control measures, and administrative approval must be granted for multi-family and mixed- use developments in commercial, mixed use, and industrial zoning districts when the development commits to affordability of some units for at least 30 years. Specifically, a residential or mixed-use development with at least 40% of its units rented to households earning up to 120% of the Area Median Income meets the affordability criteria. Such projects are eligible for:

  • administrative approval-without public hearings;
  • allowable density is the maximum density allowed on any land where residential development is permitted in the jurisdiction;
  • reduced parking requirements must be considered if within one-half mile of a major transit stop; and
  • allowable height is the maximum height allowed for residential or commercial development in the jurisdiction within one mile of the project site, or three stories, whichever is greater.

The Live Local Act becomes effective on July 1, 2023, and it expires on October 1, 2033. Our professional planning team is helping communities adapt to these new policies by preparing standards and guidelines for neighborhood-scaled affordable and mixed use housing models. These criteria will promote compatibility, walkability, and urban design where housing is introduced to traditionally commercialized areas.

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

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At the most recent company stockholders meeting, Laura Brady Herrero, CE; Laura DeJohn, AICP; and David Trouteaud, PE, were elected to the company’s Board of Directors to each serve three-year terms.

In 2011, Johnson Engineering adopted a policy to have staggered terms for the board of directors, rotating members on and off in three-year terms, in order to maintain an effective Board over the lifetime of the company. This system helps maintain a healthy duality of experience and brings fresh ideas. These three will be joining the existing board members President/Director Lonnie Howard, PE; Chairman of the Board/Vice-President – Engineering, Michael Dickey, PE; Vice President – Surveying & Mapping, Matthew Howard, PSM.; Vice President – Engineering, Ryan Bell, PE, PTOE.

For more information contact (239) 334-0046 or [email protected].

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