His 49 service departments house some 1,300 lifts. During each ascent, untold times each day, a technician raises a car above its working height and then lowers the car until the locks on the lift are engaged. In the process, hydraulic pressure is relieved and the support is shifted to a mechanical, "safety" mode. Most of the time, all is well.
But how can shop bosses quickly make sure everything is the way it should be?
A few years ago, Johnson began to wonder just that.
"If I'm a service manager, the only way I would know that that hoist is on the safety locks would be to walk through the shop and check out every down lever on every hoist," he recalled thinking.
"There's got to be an easier way to know that."
So he set out to find one.
At the 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, Johnson took his concerns to Rotary Lift, the supplier of most Larry H. Miller lifts.
He asked whether there was any way to put a light at the top of a lift to indicate that it's in the locked position. That way, a service manager could simply look up and down a row for peace of mind, rather than check each lift individually.
"I said to Rotary: "We really need your help with this.'"
Rotary engineers in Madison, Ind., went to work on the case. Before long, Rotary shipped a dozen kits to be retrofitted on Miller lifts. Rotary also applied for a patent.