meet the professional surveyors

Meet the Professionals

Meet Craig Amey

CPA-Formal

States Licensed in: MI

  

Firm:Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc

 

  

  1. 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

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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. 

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Meet Jeff Fagerman

jefffagerman

States Licensed in:  AL


Firm: Fagerman Technologies, Inc.

 

1.     Why did you choose to become a Surveyor?
My dad worked for the county as the Equalization Director (this is in cold, cold Michigan) and also farmed. From him our family learned a lot about community leadership, animal husbandry, farming, logging, and good stewardship of the land. I went through high school working outdoors all the time feeding cattle, baling hay, working fields (corn and oats), and even baling Christmas trees. I loved working outdoors but not so much the cold and wet. In school I excelled at math and science. Surveying was a natural fit for me. There were a few other factors: my older brother was three years ahead of me studying surveying, Ferris State (College) was only 45 miles away with an excellent program, and I couldn't justify the expense of studying at Michigan State or U of M. Everything pointed me towards Ferris for college and it was an excellent choice.

After four difficult but rewarding years at Ferris I realized I was about to be faced with the reality of "no more school" and the hard winters in Michigan, moving to a warmer climate, or... an unheard of alternative, graduate school. I choose Purdue University to study photogrammetry even though I preferred geodesy. This again was an excellent choice. Ferris was great and Purdue was the icing on the cake for me.

After Purdue I moved to Alabama and worked for Intergraph for 14 years doing software development, then returned to Purdue to work on my PhD which wasn't meant to be, and eventually worked toward my AL surveying license. In 1999 I opened my own business (see www.lidarusa.com). I have done a limited amount of "real surveying" - enough to know that I respect those who deal with snakes, poison ivy, ticks and chiggers, dogs, inhospitable neighborhoods (people and terrain), the client's neighbors, realtors, construction crews, and the legal system. And the heat and humidity.

My story is a bit different from most surveyors. It is not the story of the high road or low road, just another road. I love all aspects of surveying but feel most at home in the very high tech end of the business. I love creating software and now hardware as well.

I would do it all again with no hesitation. Why did I choose surveying? I don't think I had a choice.


2. What is your favorite part of your job?
I think it's easiest to answer this by answering the parts I like the least. I do not like the legal dilemma's with no cut and dried answer. The math and field work are simple. It's the question of balancing all of the information at hand with the judicial leaders of the jurisdiction and the clients. This is the most difficult and can be the most intriguing part of the surveying profession. This is largely the reason I chose the technology road to travel. Indeed, I find the technology the best part of all. It provides the opportunity to innovate and grow. There are no bounds or restrictions.


3. What is one of the most interesting things you have seen or done in this profession?
I have traveled all over the world as a result of technology. I think the people I have met are the most interesting aspects of all of the work. You know you are out of your element when you walk around a restaurant and point at other people's food to order because you are the only one speaking English. Yes, surveying can take you just about anywhere.


4. What is the one piece of advice you would like to pass on to others wishing to join this profession?
Do it! There are jobs in this profession. It will never die away. The variety of work is unlike that in most other professions. The financial rewards are available. It is not impossible to do whatever you want in this area. You can spend your entire career working for somebody else, the government, owning a one man shop, or owning a multi-state business. The foundation is very important. Start out on a solid foundation and you can build whatever you dream. Work hard, make it happen. Give back more than you take.

Meet Steve S. Parker

Steve S. Parker

States Licensed in: South Carolina

Firm: Parker Land Surveying, LLC

Why did you choose to become a surveyor?

I had lost my job as a construction materials estimator and was given an opportunity to chop line, make copies, organize the file room, make deliveries, or whatever needed to be done, pretty much what I do now as an owner. Through the Army College Fund, The GI Bill, and support from my new employer, I went back to school for a Civil Engineering Technology Degree, which provided the hours required to become eligible for licensure. Ironically, my background as an infantry soldier, anti tank gunner and mortar gunner, prepared me to excel as an survey instrument operator as there are sights and level bubbles, deflection angles and elevations, land navigation etc….


What is your favorite part of your Job?

Being able to help support others who are trying to better themselves,become licensed and support their families; giving back to the community.

 

What is one of the most interesting things you have seen while in the field?

Once found a Megalodon Shark’s Tooth about the size of my hand about 2 miles from the nearest river and about 30 miles from the coast.

 

What is the one piece of advice you would like to pass on to others wishing to join this profession?

Don’t cut corners, pay the upfront price, you’ll sleep better and have fewer claims!

Meet Joseph M. Colvin

JosephCStates Licensed in:Tennessee and Alabama

 

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?

JMC Professional SurveyingStay 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.