The saying goes, “You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” In this specialized industry, it may be hard to imagine trading places and working from the opposite side of the desk. If you were to do so, would your perspective change? Would you look at the design, permitting or construction differently? At Johnson Engineering, some of us have. Many of our employees have taken a step into their client’s shoes and received additional licenses, which are complementary to their disciplines.

outlook-newsletter-summer-2010-issue-31-1-1Erik Howard, P.E., LEED AP, holds various licenses that put him steps above his peers. Erik works within our utilities group, helping clients with all aspects of water, wastewater, irrigation water and surface water conveyance systems, focusing on pumps and pressurized pipes. He serves multiple roles for many of our clients, he is not only a State of Florida professionally licensed civil engineer, he is also a certified general contractor (CGC), certified plumbing contractor (CFC) and licensed water well contractor. Erik is also a member of the Charlotte County Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Having these additional licenses helps Erik negotiate with contractors on behalf of the owner, helping eliminate duplication of staff and responsibilities, saving clients time and money. It also gives him a great understanding of the importance of proper paperwork regarding contracting, payments, change orders, field directives and schedules. Erik has hands on knowledge of pumping and piping systems from 5 gpm to 24,000 gpm that gives him an acute edge over most engineers when it comes to evaluating system problems or making an efficient design.

Erik is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), which helps him incorporate sustainable ideas and green technology into his designs. He chooses appropriately sized pipe by considering long term pumping cost associated with pipe hydraulics. Erik explains that, “many times, pipes can be upsized to reduce pumping costs at a fraction of the installation cost”. Saving clients green, typically makes the design green. His contracting experience helps him make accurate cost estimates for both material and labor costs of pipe and pump installations to see clients are well served. He not only has the experience to act as the engineer for the project, but has the qualifications, licenses and understanding of how to actually construct the project.

Also, strapping on the client’s shoes is James “Vee” Lofton, third generation Johnson Engineering employee. Vee is the director of our construction engineering and inspection (CEI) team, within the transportation market group. He is responsible for working with various contractors daily to oversee that they are constructing roadways in accordance with the design plans, following specifications, and are complying with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) rules and regulations.

Vee worked for the FDOT for many years prior to coming to Johnson Engineering giving him a unique understanding of their needs and allowing him to manage his work group with the same strict adherence to their rules and regulations. In addition to his past FDOT experience, he holds his State of Florida certified general contractor (CGC) license. As a CGC, Vee works closely and relates with other contractors on his projects, giving him a rare understanding of monetary and time critical issues which can affect all stakeholders. This knowledge and experience allows him to understand simple and complex constructions issues, schedules and provides him the knowledge to administer construction contracts for our clients.

Erik and Vee are part of a Johnson Engineering team, who combined, hold 28 professional licenses, numerous certifications and are members of countless organizations, all for the benefit of our clients. This vast knowledge and experience coursing throughout the Johnson Engineering network, allows our projects to be nothing but well-rounded. Our team members speak the language of not only their discipline, but others as well, making for cohesive project coordination with each other as well as the client.

Going back to the quote, “You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”, Johnson Engineering employees can truly say they have walked in these shoes. We have put on the work boots and hard hats, gotten out from behind the desk and gone out to the trenches to see what works for our clients. By obtaining these additional skills our employees are proactive in their approach to find the best solution for our clients, sharing their viewpoint for the makings of many successful projects.