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Bruce Winton: Living Through The Land Survey Revolution

June 5, 2008
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About to lead McElhanney Land Surveys Ltd., one of Canada's oldest surveying firms, Bruce Winton reminisces on his life and career and how surveying has evolved over the years.

By Mike Byfield
Bruce Winton has lived the through the golden age of surveying. Satellites, electronic instruments, quad vehicles, modern camps, safety training and a rapidly expanding regulatory burden continue to revolutionize the profession. "We've seen three- or four-fold productivity gains under the right circumstances," says the 52-year-old Edmontonian (shown here), who will become president of McElhanney Land Surveys Ltd. at the end of June. The organization, founded in 1910, ranks among Canada's oldest survey firms.
McElhanney has a unique structure, with a sister company on either side of the Rockies. McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd., based in Vancouver, has 400 employees who provide engineering as well as survey and mapping services but do no petroleum work. McElhanney Land Surveys, whose staff of 350 concentrates on oil and gas, got started in the early 1970s. The two firms share central support services, transfer staff as needed and reinforce each other's marketing. "Although each company is owned by its senior staff, we're both proud of the name and achieve some economies of scale by working together," says McElhanney Consulting president Chris Newcomb.

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