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Sanibel Surveys committed to excellence, compliance

By Staff | Mar 4, 2009

When Andy Johnson bought his business – Sanibel Surveys – from former owner Walt Fraser back in 2005, the amount of work calls he received every day was keeping him busy seven days a week.

Although the ongoing economic slowdown has dramatically cut into the amount of work he does these days, Johnson claims that his business is alive and well.

“And I get to have some weekends off,” he adds with a laugh. “It’s a more manageable pace now.”

Johnson, who has worked as a surveyor since 1996, moved to Fort Myers Beach about a decade ago with his wife, Kelly, who also does office work along with full-time assistant Bev Strothers. Since then, the Johnson’s have moved their family – which now includes son Riley, 9, and daughter Avery, 6 – to Sanibel. To most people, moving to a sanctuary island for a kid who grew up in a small town in Illinois might seem like a drastic change. But in many ways, he says, it’s not.

“Sanibel is a lot like my home town,” said Johnson, raised in Big Rock, Ill. “Everybody knows each other’s kids and every looks after each other. It’s a great community.”

As a youngster, Johnson began to study drafting right out of high school, majoring in and receiving a four-year degree in Surveying from New Mexico State University.

“I like doing field work best,” he said, noting that the State of Florida requires some of the most strict specifications in the surveying industry. “It’s good to have a surveyor digging up during a project, being out there to find any evidence and using new technologies first-hand.

After moving to Florida and working for Liz Gaines’ firm in Fort Myers Beach for two and a half years, Johnson became more interested in gaining his independence within his industry. A dinner meeting with Fraser eventually led to his purchasing the Sanibel Surveys business almost four years ago.

“This city (Sanibel) has a lot of unique specifications for my kind of work,” Johnson explained. “There are always new FEMA regulations, updating flood zone maps, elevation datum. And the east end of the island has seen many substantial changes.”

Considering the slower influx of new projects being developed on the island, people might not realize that Johnson’s business is still considered “busy,” even if it might not appear to be so.

“In the surveying industry, there are constant changes in standards, new technologies,” Johnson said. “Sometimes there’s a struggle to educate clients. But I know the rules and regulations pretty well. I have to be neutral… I can’t just be an advocate for only one side. If you’re doing a project that may impact your neighbor, I have to make sure that both sides are going to be treated fairly. It’s a way that we help protect all people.”

To inquire about Sanibel Surveys professional services, visit their offices at 2410 Palm Ridge Road, call 472-0095 or send an e-mail to sanibelsurveys@gmail.com.