After four decades of unwavering dedication and countless contributions to our company, we bid farewell to Andy Tilton, PE, as he embarks on a well-deserved journey into retirement. With gratitude and heartfelt appreciation, we reflect on Andy’s career and the profound impact he has had on our organization.

Andy’s journey with Johnson Engineering actually began more than a half-century ago, when he was a young boy working with his father, Walter, who provided carpentry and masonry work for our company founder, Carl E. Johnson. Walter built drafting tables and even developed customized tapered concrete property corner survey markers for the company in the early 1960s. This work fostered a relationship that led to Walter addressing uneven floor settling issues at Carl’s home. As a young boy, Andy recalls crawling under the jacked-up home, measuring, and shimming to restore the floor to a level condition.

Andy is one of only a handful of Johnson Engineering employees who had the pleasure of knowing Carl. Prior to his passing, Carl sold the company to Archie Grant in the late 1960s.

Andy went on to attend the University of Florida to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in the late 1970s. During his school breaks and summer vacations, Andy worked at Johnson Engineering where he fondly recalls conducting water level recordings along Trout Creek on Babcock Ranch, where ironically, he would eventually become the District Engineer for the Telegraph Cypress Water Management District in the 1980s. That marked the beginning of decades of Andy’s instrumental contributions to the water management and hydrology at Babcock Ranch.

When Andy graduated from UF, he had many offers from other engineering firms, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity when then-Johnson Engineering President Archie Grant offered him a full-time job. Before diving into the professional realm, Andy negotiated an extended start date to embark on a road trip adventure across the United States. His adventure took five weeks, covered 6,000 miles, and only cost him $400.

The year was 1978 and the beginning of Andy’s 45-year tenure at Johnson Engineering. On Andy’s first day, Forrest Banks tasked him with hand-coloring elevation contours on a blueprint for what is now McGregor Woods Subdivision. With no specific instructions, Andy began coloring with a red marker for the most prominent elevation. When Forrest returned hours later, to his dismay, he discovered Andy was actually colorblind. This was his first task at overcoming obstacles. Forrest built him a legend and asked him to start again, which he successfully did.

His job responsibilities had him dabbling in everything from survey curves and tangents calculations to designing residential and commercial developments throughout Lee County. Andy developed an interest in sizing pipes and stormwater routing work. Recognizing Andy’s passion for this area, Archie offered him the opportunity to work under him, focusing primarily on stormwater-related projects. This marked the beginning of Andy’s career path and the formation of the company’s Water Resources group.

In the early 80s Andy would spend hours hand calculating backwater profile calculations, which are the foundational piece of each water management system.  Today, these calculations are produced in seconds thanks to modern computer software. As technology evolved, so did Andy’s methodologies, which allowed us to tackle complex projects with greater precision and efficiency.

Throughout his career Andy was thoroughly dedicated to the hydrology of Southwest Florida recording rain events, tracking inches of rainfall, and crawling through storm drains to observe and record water flow patterns, which gave our company immeasurable amounts of data that no one else had.  Andy was instrumental in pioneering the company’s water management database system which contains more than a half century of water resources data.

During his role as Director of the Water Resources market group, Andy has been at the forefront of providing efficient solutions to some of the region’s most pressing water-related challenges. He has spearheaded numerous projects aimed at managing water resources, mitigating flooding risks, and safeguarding the environment for future generations. His expertise in hydrologic modeling, watershed analysis, and stormwater management has played a pivotal role in the development of comprehensive master plans for numerous cities and counties in the area. During his tenure, he embraced emerging technologies, pioneering computer modeling techniques that helped Johnson Engineering remain at the forefront of innovation in the water resource field.

Andy’s impact on Johnson Engineering’s growth and success is undeniable. From his pivotal role in expanding the company’s presence into new territories like LaBelle and Clewiston to his leadership in major projects such as Babcock Ranch and the Midfield Expansion at Southwest Florida International Airport, Andy’s legacy is integral to our decades of success.

Known for his strong faith, Andy Tilton is also a man of integrity, unwavering commitment, and unparalleled work ethic. He is an incredible mentor for the next generation of engineers who have had the privilege of working alongside him. As we honor Andy’s career and bid him farewell, we extend our sincerest wishes for a retirement filled with joy, relaxation, and new adventures. Andy’s presence will be deeply missed, but his legacy will continue to inspire us for years to come.