Meet Sam the Surveyor

September 1, 2004
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This month's candidate: Ray C. Carlson, PLS.

Name: Ray C. Carlson, PLS

President, Ray Carlson & Associates Inc., Santa Rosa, Calif.

State where you reside: California

Registered/licensed in: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado

Year started in profession: 1964

How you started in the profession: "Looking for work [I saw] an ad in the newspaper. To verify that this was something that I could do, [I] took a battery of tests at the unemployment board to determine if I had the basic knowledge and aptitude for engineering/[surveying]."

What you like best about land surveying: "I can be outdoors or inside, work with property owners to help them solve problems and find the best use of their land."

What grinds you: ""˜Not in my back yard' (NIMBY) folks who have their acre and don't want anyone else to be in the area. In our area we have to place 50,000 people in the next 30 years, and that means increase density [within growth boundary limits]. The NIMBYs cry it will lower the value of their place."

What keeps you going in your job: "New technology [including] GIS. This keeps me expanding my knowledge on how we as surveyors can help property owners manage their lands [in a] sustainable [way]."

Best surveying memory: "Any day out recovering old GLO corners..."

Weirdest memory: "Stepping over a log and looking down between my legs to see a rattlesnake stretched out on the log. Boy, did I jump high and fast!"

Accessories you can't leave home without: "Pocket protector and pencils."

Your personal philosophy: "Give more than you get. It always comes back to you tenfold. That's in work, community and your family."

Contributions you've made to the profession: Served in leadership positions in local and state professional associations, including the California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA) and Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California (CELSOC). Member of ACSM and charter member of The Surveyors Historical Society.

Greatest personal accomplishments: "[I] built a successful business where employees enjoy coming to work [and] is on the cutting edge of solutions. [I] have been doing GIS for vineyard data management."

How you're a role model for future surveyors: "I have not only supported our profession but have given much back to the community so the public can see what a surveyor is..."

How surveyors can ensure future success in the industry: "...None of us surveyors are charging enough to attract young people into this business. If we don't attract the top youth, how can we lead the way? Surveyors and engineers will be following other scientists, geographers, environmentalists or planners if we don't get the top youth with vision into our profession. Surveyors need to look at salaries of the quality of people we want and then figure our rates."

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