Jim Gear was a Property Appraiser, from 1993 to 1996, for Leon County, Florida.
Jim Gear was a Property Appraiser, from 1993 to 1996, for Leon County, Florida. He was tasked to make their property record cards available to the public via a new website. Jim managed to do so and was one of the first in the nation, if not the first, to accomplish this when he launched their new website on January 24, 1995.
After moving to DeLand, Florida in 1996, Jim went to work for the Volusia County Property Appraiser Office, where once again he was asked to put their data online.
This time Jim engaged a software engineering class at the Emery Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) being taught by Steve Lehr. After a few months, the Property Appraiser’s new search capability was fully functional.
A few years later, Jim decided to build these type of websites as a business. Thus, qPublic, LLC was founded in 1999, in DeLand Florida, by Jim Gear, Steve Lehr, Tim Olson, and John Cox. Jim came out of the Property Assessment world, Steve was our programmer, Tim was an initial investor, and John had been building websites commercially since 1993. Therefore, qPublic.net was born.
It wasn’t long before qPublic.net was providing services to a dozen Florida counties, all of which were using AS400s for their CAMA software. qPublic launched Bibb County, Georgia soon after, and also created and maintained websites for the Property Appraiser Association of Florida (www.paaf.net) and for the Florida Association of Property Appraisers (www.fapa.net) in an effort to meet these folks and become “known”. qPublic actually managed the website for the IAAO (www.iaao.org) for a period, July 2000-2002.
In November, 2001 qPublic put the first maps online using Mapserver (3.3) software. This added feature brought in more and more county websites. The data from the CAMA system was the most important thing for the public.
In 2003, qPublic’s founder Jim Gear passed away. Jim’s wife Nancy joined the organization and Steve and John took on additional responsibilities.
Perseverance paid off; qPublic was soon expanding across Georgia and into South Carolina and Kentucky. The popular “Not a Dime” program allowed smaller counties with no available money in their budget to have a website that was subscription based. The fees to the public were very affordable and the Assessor’s office still got the benefit of the website, helping their “door not swing and their phone not ring”.
Having reached a county count of approximately 300 clients in 15 states, qPublic was the largest provider of web-services to Assessors in the nation. To allow for the retirement and exit of some of the principals, qPublic was acquired by The Schneider Corporation in June 2014. Currently Schneider works with nearly 600 counties in 28 states. The acquisition creates one of the largest organizations of its kind in the US.