Meet Sam the Surveyor
Project surveyor, The Schneider Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana
State where you reside: Indiana
Responsibilities: CAD production
Year you started in the profession: 1986
How you started in the profession: "I was right out of the military and needed work. A friend of mine was already working at a surveying company in Indiana and said they were looking for help. He showed me around the office and described what was involved with the job. I thought it looked interesting. I was hired and started in the field (not sure of how to hold the rod), but as time went on I learned to run the instrument and perform calculations. When winter time came and field work was slow, they asked if I could produce drawings. I had taken Drafting 101 in high school, so I gave it a try. It opened a whole new experience for me."
What you like best about land surveying: "Outside freedom."
What grinds you: "Need it today at noon."
What keeps you going in your job: "Changing technologies. I can remember performing location topography by base line/offset methods with level grades after the planimetrics were drawn, followed by hand interpolation and contouring. Then came the advent of the EDM... now there are total stations and GPS. The long traditional traverses I remember are now rarely performed. We now can use a laser to measure our inverts and not worry about getting your level rod dirty."
Best surveying memory: "Setting concrete monuments via 4WD. We had a large forestry job requiring concrete monuments to be set. [I was] authorized to use my four-wheel drive truck. It was a four-wheeling adventure."
Weirdest memory: "I was standing by a creek looking at a quad map when ground bees started flying up my pants. Well, the stinging makes you want to remove them as fast as possible, so I was running around pulling down my pants, all the while [my] party chief was on the ground laughing."
Your personal philosophy: "Attention to detail is a must. I am one of the first at work and only work half of a day-12 hours. I believe you get out what you put in."
Contributions you've made to the profession: "Simply hard work. I am not a licensed land surveyor but I have 18 years of field and office experience. I have helped less experienced individuals at our company as well as introduced the profession to school children. I am actively pursuing the integration of traditional surveying with machine control technology to closely bring together the relationship between surveyors and contractors."
Tell us how you're a role model for future surveyors: "My efforts include recruiting young students. Not a great amount of kids know what a surveyor is or does. I try to [answer] their questions to the best of my ability."
Tell us how surveyors can ensure future success in the industry: "Technology is an ever-changing thing. George Washington would not believe that you can 'survey' from the sky! [We] must adapt to the new concepts and challenges that lie ahead of us."