Islander and local business owner Jon Burdette started visiting Boca Grande in 1985 when his grandparents were introduced to the island by Stewart Turley. By the early 1990s, his family had made Boca Grande their weekend home.
Originally from Wellington, an area just west of Palm Beach, he attended school there, but has many childhood memories of boating and fishing the backwaters of Boca Grande.
“According to family photos I ate a lot of the sand, luckily I don’t remember that,” Jon said. Another memory involves an item that caught his eye at a little shop that use to be where “Sister’s Restaurant” is now.
“One winter they had a little four-wheeled scooter. When summer rolled around and things were closing down I went in with my savings and made an extremely low offer and left my phone number with the storekeeper. Severally anxiety filled hours later, I was the new owner of this scooter,” Jon said.
After purchasing the scooter he recalls attempting to ride down the biggest hill he had ever seen, the hill at the Boca Grande Club.
Jon started working for his mother’s Land Surveying company when he was 11-years-old.
“I started wearing a little orange vest and wanting to help out at a very young age,” Jon said.
A few years later, he was supervising guys who were ten years older than he was. That led him to pursue a degree in civil engineering at Auburn University in Alabama. After graduating from Auburn he went to work as an engineer on land development projects and municipal water facilities. Jon found that sitting behind a desk day after day quickly started to bore him. He wanted more action.
“I called a vice president of an international contracting company I had been working with and asked for suggestions on who to contact about a new position,” Jon said. “Two days later I had accepted a job offer and was preparing to move.”
Over the next several years, he provided project management and quality control for Army Corps of Engineer administered projects. He worked on several projects in Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and Fort Knox in Kentucky. In February, 2013 he was working on a project at Fort Knox, Kentucky when he realized he didn’t enjoy working in cold climates.
“Being from Florida I was miserably cold the entire winter. The last straw for me was an unexpected snow storm during a late night concrete pour. That morning I decided I was tired of moving around the country and was ready to live in one place – preferably closer to Boca Grande,” Jon said.
So he moved back to Florida and started doing some consulting work. While working at a project in Naples, a coworker asked if he’d be interested in going on a blind date with a girl he knew. Little did Jon realize at the time that girl would become his future wife.
“I was on the phone with her trying to figure out where she was, and while I was standing there on the phone this beautiful girl walked around the corner. I was completely caught off guard and now speechless on the phone. Then I found out she was that same girl,” he said. Jon and Marybeth were married in September, 2014. Shortly after getting married, Jon and Marybeth found out they would soon become a trio.
Their daughter, Christina, is now going on five-months-old. Jon said she enjoys watching the Mickey Mouse Club House as part of her daily routine. “We are anticipating that she will be starting daycare soon on the island,” he said. “She is also well-known here for interrupting Father Carosella’s or Father O’Connor’s Mass on Sunday mornings at Our Lady of Mercy Parish.
Jon and Marybeth have a company called Seaboard Engineering and Construction, which is named after the old Seaboard Railway. “We focus on catering to the island and residents of Boca Grande,” he said. “We are incorporating our past experiences from more than 220 million dollars in commercial construction throughout the country, involvement in the construction of more than 200 single family homes, and our experiences with the Army Corp of Engineers to make sure we deliver the best and most cost effective product possible to our clients while maintaining the professionalism our clients should expect.”
Jon is a Certified General Contractor in Florida, licensed Professional Engineer in Florida and Alabama, and an inactive Licensed Land Surveyor in Florida. Marybeth has her degree in Interior Design and currently assists clients with finish selections and interior design projects.
“She handles the softer, more detailed aspects of the business and I oversee the construction part of it, so it’s really a great partnership.” Six employees currently make up the company and Jon said he hopes business will continue to grow. “We do projects of all sizes from rescreening, fire pits, decks, painting, garage floors, driveways, trim, bath remodels, kitchen remodels, full home remodels and new home construction,” he said.
“Our staff members are professional and courteous team members who are eager to work on new projects.” Jon is currently working on a property that is owned by the Boca Grande Health Clinic.
Jon’s mother, Susan Burdette, currently lives year round on the island. Jon’s sister, Jennifer Campbell, lived in Boca Grande for many years and recently relocated to Virginia. Her children: Bobby, Elizabeth and Christopher all attended the island school. “After having a child and wanting to be close to family, we realized Boca Grande was where we needed to be, and more so, where we wanted to raise our family. My wife and I look forward to expanding our family, friendships and business, while enjoying this beautiful island we call home.”
When he is not working, Jon said he enjoys fishing, exercising and spending time with his family. “But I also truly enjoy working. I love my job and I really enjoy working with our clients in Boca Grande – it’s rewarding to help make a client’s house a home.” To reach Jon, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 964-0488.