States Licensed in: MI
Firm: Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc
Why did you choose to become a surveyor?
I chose to become a surveyor because I found it to be the perfect blend of my interests: Technology, Mathematics, Outdoors, History
What is your favorite part of your Job?
I greatly enjoy using the modern technology to discover history. In Michigan, we are blessed with the Rectangular Survey System which ties all surveys to a common grid. Each 1 mile square of the grid was surveyed in the early 1800’s with a wooden post set every ½ mile. Our task today is to find the wooden post or the location where the wooden post was set. To accomplish this, we use state of the art technology, combined with the handwritten notes of yore to find that location. Often it is a lot of hard work, physically demanding and mentally challenging, but when you find the spot, or better yet, when you find the original post, it is a great day.
What is one of the most interesting things you have seen or done in this profession?
In Michigan, we have legislation that requires the location and preservation of the historical survey corners, which is very interesting work. Trying to figure out what a surveyor did in 1817 with a compass and a 33’ chain is often a challenge. In my career, I have also had the opportunity to view this challenge from the original surveyor’s perspective. In Alaska, the original surveys are still being conducted. I have worked on those original surveys of Alaska, setting the monumentation (aluminum rods instead of wood posts) that will be used for all future surveys. This was accomplished with helicopters, GPS and inertial guidance systems. So, in my career, I have found a wooden post set by a surveyor during the original surveys of Michigan, and I have set the monuments on the original surveys of Alaska, all accomplished with state-of-the-art, high tech, instruments vehicles and equipment.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to pass on to others wishing to join the profession?
Early in your career, explore the opportunities. Do not let dollars guide your direction. It is the early years where you can enjoy experiences and opportunities that will last a lifetime. When you are ready to settle on a defined career path, commit to that path, with a passion.