States Licensed in: TN and AL
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME A SURVEYOR?
Like many surveyors, I didn’t grow up knowing that I wanted to be a land surveyor. To be really honest, I didn’t even know the role of a land surveyor until I was almost twenty years old. As a high school student, I inspired to be a civil engineer. I attended Troy University in Troy, Alabama, majoring in pre-engineering with plans to attend Auburn University and major in civil engineering. After a year at Troy, I transferred to Auburn to fulfill my dream. As all know, life can throw you a curve ball. After only one semester at Auburn, I found myself back at Troy University not knowing what to do with my college career. Geomatics was the only major offered at Troy that had any resemblance of civil engineering, so I enrolled. This was the very beginning of my land surveying career. To sum up this little story, I fell into land surveying almost accidentally. I have enjoyed every minute.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
My favorite part of my job is the business and the people. As a land surveyor, I come in contact with all different kinds of people. I work with attorneys, engineers, architects, utility managers, farmers, developers, timber companies, etc. and everyone is different. Each person or company has to be handled differently. To be successful in our line of work, I must be able to communicate with everyone and having a successful business relies on my communication skills.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS YOU HAVE SEEN WHILE IN THE FIELD?
After college, I moved to Palm City, Florida, to work with a reputable surveying firm in the area. If you have ever been to south Florida then you should know what it has a lot of……swamp.
When I first arrived, I don’t know if it was a “new guy” thing or what, but it seemed like I was always in the swamp (also wondering why in the world would want to buy swamp, but anyway).
I was on a survey crew working on a Rails-To-Trails project near Titusville, Florida. We were searching for section corners to help reestablish the railroad right-of-way. The office guys had given us some search coordinates to aid with our search. We utilized RTK GPS to get us close to the search area. Well… close was about 1200 feet (Yes, 1200 feet through Brazilian pepper, Chinese vines, and about 3 feet of standing water… the whole way). After approximately 4 hours of cutting and wading our way to the search area, we came to an old barbed wire fence line. This was promising, but it didn’t really help. Metal locators do not work in high water. You can’t see through murky swamp water. I was frustrated. We had worked our way to this search area and there was no real good way to thoroughly search for this section corner. While waiting on me to figure out what to do, the guys that I was working with were just wading around in the water hoping to stumble across something, and that is when just that happened. One of the guys stepped in a deep hole and nearly fell down. We knew something was there but really didn’t know what. So I reached down in the water and found an old lightered wood post, hewed on the top. We really couldn’t see the monument, but we could feel the scribing on the side. I was an original GLO section corner. This was the first original GLO corner that I had ever seen (or felt). I guess what makes this so interesting to me is the way we found this corner. After a few hours of cutting our way through the swamp to find a fence, still in the swamp, our persistence paid off by searching using unconventional methods.
WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO PASS ON TO OTHERS WISHING TO JOIN THIS PROFESSION?
Stay professional. When I was creating the logo for my company, the designer wanted to take the word “professional’ off of my logo because it was making the design uneven. I wouldn’t let him. I think, sometimes, that land surveyors get a bad image because the general public and other professions see us as the “muddy boot gang” or as some guy standing on the side of the road making pictures. Land surveying is way more complex than that. Three of the four gentlemen etched into Mt. Rushmore were surveyors. I guarantee that they were professional. Just remember to carry yourself and dress professionally, provide a professional product, conduct business in a professional manner (even when you don’t really want to), and try to do something every day that will add professionalism to our profession.