I came to know David Griffin in 1997, when I moved my family from Tampa to Birmingham to join a national engineering and surveying firm that had opened its first office east of the Mississippi just the year before. I have forgotten exactly how David and I were introduced, but I do remember one of our first email exchanges. He wanted to know what to do with the half-mile post in the state of Alabama. At the time, I did not realize that this was a trick question. So, I dug into my copy of the 1973 BLM Manual and gave him the textbook procedure for handling the half-mile post ... as if he didn’t already have that information. I also did not know that he was either in the doctoral program at the University of Alabama or soon would be thereafter, working on — you guessed it — the half-mile post. In 1999, he published his doctoral dissertation on “Retracement of Public Land Surveys in Alabama: The Half Mile Post Dilemma.” Needless to say, I was not a cited source in his dissertation.
Dr. Griffin was a steadfast supporter of the profession, an influential member of the Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ASPLS), he was an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Engineering program for over 25 years, and he later became an associate professor at Troy University in the geomatics program where he served another seven years. Dr. Griffin was turning out research on surveying and surveying history, and was a mentor to many young people who came through both the UAB and Troy programs. Among his many responsibilities, I know that he was training the students how to retrace property boundaries. That doesn’t happen enough, but it was happening at Troy. Dr. Griffin was a tremendous support and help to me personally during my tenure as president of ASPLS in 2014.