When Thomas “Tommy” Boatright was around 12 years old, his stepdad introduced him to land surveying and changed his life. The two of them were driving home from church when they made a stop at a local job site in their local neighborhood of Pensacola, Florida.
“I was wearing my Sunday clothes,” Boatright remembers. “We are walking through the woods following an old wire fence, and he finds an old wooden post.” A corner. “He was so excited,” Boatright says. “Of course, at that age I didn’t care. He explained the history about the corner – but in one ear, out the other.”
Somewhere along the way in Boatright’s teenage years, his stepdad’s enthusiasm for the land surveying profession stuck. Working part-time on a survey crew, Boatright found his niche in surveying as a “whiz kid” who could build a solution for just about any problem in the field. Now in his video column for pobonline.com, “Tommy’s Surveyor Toolbox,” Boatright is a “whiz kid” at heart with a passion for showing and telling how land surveyors can make their jobs easier in the field.
“I love to teach. I love seeing that light bulb moment in someone else’s eyes,” says Boatright. “I have produced several crew chiefs and techs.”
Among those crew chiefs and techs is William “Bill” Smith III, who says his time with Boatright helped confirm that he was on the right career path.
“I at random was just looking for a job. I thought maybe I will give this a try, and I liked it,” says Smith. “(Tommy) was my first crew chief and pretty much everything that I know I learned from him. He’s always teaching the new guys and stuff, that was a passion of his.”
With knowledge, their working relationship evolved and Smith says land surveying in Florida is better for it.
“I kind of loved it when we would work together toward the end because it was usually myself, who had made crew chief by then, Tommy and maybe another crew chief. So we had three chiefs,” he remembers. “We would just work and not have to talk about it because we all knew what needed to be done.”
“He is one of those kinds of people that don’t mind sharing his knowledge with others,” says Oscar Pittman, Boatright’s former boss at Pittman & Associates. “He’s a born teacher. He’s not shy about it. And he don’t mind helping other people. He’s always trying to think ahead, which is good. And really he’s a good guy to have around.”
Watch Tommy’s Surveyor Toolbox at POBonline.com.