Recently seated FAPEO director Daniel P. Johnson began his legal career as a law clerk for a federal district court judge in Atlanta before going to work for a large national law firm and helping to establish its office in Georgia’s capital city. A decade later, Dan wanted a change for himself and his family, and this change would take them across the country—and back home.
“After 10-plus years in Atlanta, I convinced my wife to relocate our young family to my home town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” he explains, “where I established a law practice before becoming general counsel for LodgeNet Entertainment Corp., a NASDAQ listed company headquartered in Sioux Falls.”
In 2006, the Johnson family moved to Bradenton, Florida, where Dan received his first introduction to the PEO industry as general counsel for Employee Leasing Solutions, Inc. (ELS).
“ELS was a well-established, well-run operation when I joined them. The founders and owners of ELS had decades of PEO experience,” Dan recalls. “They were a fabulous resource for someone new to the industry.”
Dan says that the opportunity to relocate to the west coast of Florida and to work with a company that provides a valuable service helping small businesses grow and succeed were two big draws that enticed him to move away from friends and family in Sioux Falls.
In 2012, Dan joined Workforce Business Services, which had purchased most of the Florida assets of ELS. Asked to describe his typical day, Dan says, “No two days are the same. As senior vice president and general counsel, much of my focus combines operational and business issues, not just the purely legal aspects of the PEO. I regularly deal with a wide variety of internal and external issues including human resource matters, contract issues, sales and client relationship matters. I enjoy interfacing with clients, even though it is oftentimes under challenging circumstances. One of the attractions of combining the legal and business aspects is your focus is not limited and you can more fully appreciate that decisions in one area often impact those in other areas. Having that broader view helps you make better decisions.”
As an attorney, Dan is well acquainted with the regulatory and administrative requirements placed on employers.
“The ever-expanding regulations on small businesses result in administrative headaches for business owners,” he says, “but PEOs provide services that really do help small businesses succeed in an uncertain climate in which laws and regulations can have unintended consequences. FAPEO does an amazing job of keeping members up-to-date on industry issues and in promoting and advancing issues important to PEOs, which in turn benefits small and medium businesses throughout Florida.”
Dan has been married to his best friend, Kim, for over 32 years, and they have three grown children, Patrick, Mary and Kelly. The Johnsons enjoy traveling, both for the intrinsic value of seeing the world and to visit their kids. Both daughters are flight attendants, and on different airlines, so the Johnsons enjoy discounts on airfare. They come in handy for visiting Patrick and his wife, Katya, who live in Singapore and used to live in Paris, and for trips to San Francisco, where Kelly lives.
In addition to being an avid traveler, Dan is a sports buff and follows high school and college football. Mary and her husband, Tim, both went to Florida State University while Kelly graduated this past summer from the University of Florida. The sometimes contentious football rivalry between the two schools doesn’t seem to faze Dan.
“I enjoy following and cheering for both FSU and UF,” he says. “I also have always enjoyed high school football and was pleasantly surprised to find Bradenton to be a football mecca. My wife has family here, so we had regularly visited Bradenton and Anna Maria Island for 10 years before moving here. I was familiar with the beautiful Gulf beaches, but not with the PEO industry.”
A decade later, Dan is well acquainted with both.