- Please provide a short history or your education and work.
After graduation from Prince Edward Academy High School in Farmville, Virginia in 1973 I was looking for something to test my mind and body and make a little money as well. I found it in the form of chain man / brush cutter at Helm Surveys. A one-party firm owned by a Maryland transplant looking for a quieter existence in South Side Virginia. During my employment there I took a two-semester course in surveying offered at Southside Community College taught by two local surveyors, Robert Nunnally and Ralph Hines. I worked for Mr. Helm in all field positions for about two years until I was laid off and the company was reduced to just a couple of people including the owner. I worked several other jobs until I entered the US Air Force in March of 1977.
Anticipating my separation from the Air Force in 1981 I took some math courses at Weber State College in Ogden UT. As luck would have it there was a firm in Ogden doing oil and gas exploration and I hired on as a “surveyor” and moved to Afton WY to start my first “prospect” with Mountain Geophysical Inc. Over the next four and a half years the firm rode the wave of seemingly endless oil company spending into a less profitable phase and by October of 1985 I was ready to find something more normal. I called on my old teacher and mentor, Ralph Hines, and returned to Virginia to begin the process of becoming a LS. For the next six and a half years I found tutelage with Ralph, Robert Harrover and Warren Trent and was licensed in June of 1993. By then Meredith Helm, was looking to retire his position as surveyor for the Town of Farmville and I applied and was hired and continue in this role today.
- What is a typical day like in your office?
Every week, it seems, someone asks me just what I do for the Town of Farmville as a surveyor. Of course I don’t fill all my time “surveying the town” as some might think. I fill five slots that all relate to my chosen profession, surveyor, subdivision administrator, floodplain manager, ESC administrator, VUPS Rep. I do my own field work so I might be behind a total station or using a GPS rover in the morning and processing data and drawing plats and exhibits in the afternoon. Farmville crews construct our utilities and streets and so I spend a lot of time grading pipe and doing right of way work. I spend a fair amount of time locating our water and sewer facilities for the VUPS system. I conduct plan review, site inspection and administration duties related to our erosion and sediment control program. As Farmville’s Floodplain Manager I review development proposals and plans to ensure compliance with the NFIP and with a hurricane like Florence being predicted to cause riverine flooding I monitor and map the NOAA data to help emergency services planning efforts. Administering Farmville’s subdivision ordinance is part of my duties here as well and assist the GIS Manager with continuing updates to the AMFM.
- What do you feel is your greatest career achievement?
I don’t know that I have a single accomplishment that is outstanding in any way. I am very glad that I have served VAS in various capacities and that I am someone people come to here in Farmville to find answers to many questions.
- Who do you view as your mentor or mentors?
Meredith Helm, LS #739, gave me all the basics in my first two years of surveying and encouraged me to complete my journey later in the process. Ralph Hines, PE, LS #848 and his partner Rob Maxey, PE, LS #1468 who introduced me to VAS and made me aware of the responsibility we professionals have to those who follow. Warren Trent, LS #1390 who gave me the office skills I continue to use today and a keener sense of integrity regarding the work we do.
- How has technology affected your office?
Like many I have a love/hate relationship with technology. When it comes to surveying it has enabled me to stay in the office and conduct records research on line and then to go to the field, all alone, and conduct a topo survey. Of course, when I stay in the office to conduct research I do not interact with the clerk or other professionals I might see in the records room and when I conduct a topo survey alone I am not teaching anyone anything and I am also carrying my own stakes and rover etc. You see my point. I think the best thing technology has done for me is to allow me to generate plats electronically, so no one has to try and read my hand writing and to give me spell check so you won’t laugh to much while reading this autobiography.