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.