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East County Wednesday, May 20, 2009 13 years ago

SMR executive leaving Lakewood Ranch

by: Pam McTeer

LAKEWOOD RANCH — For the past nine years, Tim Martin has been busy laying the groundwork for development in Lakewood Ranch.

But now, opportunity has seized its moment.

Martin is heading to Blue Ridge, Ga., where he plans to help build neighborhoods of cabin-style homes.
“I’ve always talked about owning my own company,” Martin said. “This guy (I met there) needed some help. I’ll be starting the company from scratch and will do joint partnerships with property owners in the area.”

Martin’s work will be similar to what he has done with SMR — working on permitting, hiring surveyors and engineers and overseeing construction, among other tasks. But instead of building on Florida’s flat soil, Martin will be carving out cabin homesteads on one-and-one-half- to three-acre lots up the side of a mountain. The 2,000-foot elevation will provide for vastly different building conditions, but Martin said he plans to learn as quickly as possible.

His experiences at SMR, first as vice president of development and now as the president of SMR subsidiary LWR Development, have been a tremendous learning tool and have given him confidence to reach for his dream, he said.

“It’s been a huge shot in the arm to be able to take that next leap,” Martin said.

After he finishes at SMR this week, Martin is heading to the mountains to get started with his new business venture.

“I think I’m going into it right, aligning myself,” Martin said. “This family (that I’m doing business with) has been in the area 200 years. They’re very well respected in the community.”

His wife, Paula, will stay behind, continuing her work as a paralegal here through the end of the year.
The Martins purchased a 2,000-square-foot cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains about 18 months ago as a vacation/future retirement home because they loved the area so much.

During a visit less than a month ago, Martin had a lunch meeting with the Realtor who’d sold him his cabin and her father James Fitts, a contractor and developer. The next day, Fitts showed Martin some of his properties and urged Martin to bring his business expertise to Georgia for the project.

Martin gave his notice to SMR on May 4.

“It’s exciting to be able to create something from scratch and see where something can go,” Martin said. “These opportunities don’t come by every day.”

Martin said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time working at SMR and is thankful for the opportunity he has had there. And although it will be difficult to leave friends, business colleagues and especially family, he also expects to see them regularly between his trips to Sarasota and their visits to Georgia.

“It’s been a great ride, and I know they’ll still see me around,” Martin said. “They’re not going to get away that easy.”

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

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