Journey out of wreckage of Hurricane Andrew enters 24th year of serving South Florida
It's 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 from his University of Florida education, nor his construction experience could have prepared Micali for the devastation he would soon encounter. By December, he found himself inspecting and rebuilding damaged homes in Country Walk. The evolution that transpired afterwards has taken Micali down a career path that has spanned over 2 decades. "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." 24 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. Four of Allied's inspectors have been with the firm for over 17 years and have performed over 10,000 inspections each. "You will not find more experienced or successful inspectors then these guys," quipped Micali. "Quite simply, these guys are masters of their craft."
Allied's list of clients ranges from first time condominium buyers to Fortune 500 CEOs and large-scale REITs. Some of the most notable clients have included Heat, Dolphins and Marlin Players, as well as Hip Hop stars, actors and celebrities. South Florida's top producing real estate agents keep Allied in their tool box as part of their expert team. They know that Allied provides the most professional service to their clients. "Service, service, service. We are here to serve. We provide concierge service to our clients while delivering the highest level of inspection expertise offered”, submits Micali. But his journey with Allied was not planned. "l thought when l graduated I would become a developer or big time general contractor. I did not see this coming. It isn’t sexy, but this is who we are. It's been an amazing journey. The people we have served and the unbelievable properties we have been blessed to access and experience have made it all worthwhile."
Micali, who lives in Cutler Bay with his wife and 4 kids, considers this professional journey completely intertwined with his personal journey. Time and place have always been merged in his life. "I remember the property we were inspecting during the O.J. Simpson car chase. Then again during the verdict. Then we inspected his house here in Miami. Same for the day they grabbed Elian Gonzalez and sent him back to Cuba. Of course, I recall the day and building location when time stood still on Sept. 11, 2001. But by far, the saddest and most memorable day of my career was the day we inspected Jimmy Ryce’s home. Pictures of Jimmy throughout the home. His room left exactly the way it was the day he was abducted. I cried through the whole inspection." 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."