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From the wreckage of Hurricane Andrew... came 25 years of serving Florida

It was 2:45AM on August 24, 1992, and John Micali was hunkered down straining to listen to updates on a battery-powered radio in his South Miami condo. He could barely hear over the whistling sounds of electrical outlets, roaring wind and thunder claps. Flashes of lightning pierced through the darkness and the building shook. Outside, 140 mph winds devastated the landscape. Micali recalls "When the wind stopped and the sun came up, I opened the door, and everything was destroyed. I could see for miles. I knew life would never be the same.”

Nothing could have prepared Micali for the devastation he would soon encounter. Neighbors and loved ones had seen their homes destroyed, and John quickly set out to help rebuild. By December, he found himself inspecting and rebuilding damaged homes in Country Walk. "I found myself assessing buildings and writing reports on the damages found as part of the bidding and contracting process. The clients used my reports to collect on insurance and determine the scope of the repairs they needed. It seemed like I was constantly inspecting and writing." Before long, homeowners, realtors, attorneys, insurance adjusters and banks were calling Micali to obtain detailed condition reports on their properties. "Something clicked inside of me. The process of using my technical knowledge and writing abilities to provide a service that people really needed resonated with me. It felt right. Contracting can be contentious and dealing with the trades and an unreliable work force can be frustrating. But inspecting and writing very detailed reports as an act of service to others felt good." 25 years later, Micali's firm, Allied Building Inspection Services, is the largest building inspection company in the southeast United States. With a staff of 23, including 16 inspectors, Allied performed over 5,000 detailed property inspections last year. They included condition assessments, home inspections and various forensic assessments for the real estate, legal and lending communities throughout Florida and the Caribbean. Several of Allied's inspectors have been with the firm for over 15 years and have performed over 10,000 inspections each.

Micali, who lives in Cutler Bay with his wife and 4 kids, considers this professional journey completely intertwined with his personal journey. When asked to summarize his experiences with Allied, Micali stated: "We are there with newlywed home buyers at their first home. We are there if a home is sold because of a divorce. We inspect homes and properties due to deaths and in probate. We see families stepping up to a new home for newborn additions to their families. We do inspections at sales of retired couples downsizing. We see companies expanding to new facilities. And we inspect properties due to companies shutting down and laying off employees. We get to see all this. If I had to say what it all means in one line, I would say all that, from my experience, all that really matters is that you loved and were loved. Everything else is vanity."