StewarT Ward – Younger Geospatial Professional INterview

The following is a set of standard questions that were supplied to Stewart Ward for this Younger Geospatial Professional Spotlight interview. Stewart Ward has accomplished a lot in his geospatial career in a short amount of time.

Photo of Stewart Ward - YGP

Stewart Ward – YGP

1. Please provide a recap of your post high school education and training. Do you have any licenses or certifications? Are you a member of any organizations?

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geomatics Technology from Idaho State University. I am licensed surveyor in Idaho and Utah, with more states in the future. I am a member of the state survey societies in Idaho and Utah, a member of NSPS serving as the Idaho Director, a member of the Idaho Geospatial Council serving a member of the Executive Committee, and I am active member of the GIS community in Idaho.

2. When did you become interested in the surveying profession and what are some of the things that made it a career that you wanted to pursue?

I first learned about surveying in high school as a job shadow for a class (didn’t know anything about it before this) and shadowed a friend’s dad. I always wanted to work outside and after the day long job shadow I was offered a job for the summer. After working on a survey crew, staking a new 5 lane highway in western Idaho, I decided I wanted to pursue surveying as a career. After learning more about what surveyors do and everything they are involved with the history, science and art of surveying became even more intriguing. If it wasn’t for the great mentors and surveyors at my first survey job out of high school, I probably would have found a different career.

3. Can you provide a timeline with description of the positions you have held in the surveying profession to date?

2001-2004 – Arrow Land Surveying – rodman/crew member – I helped with construction staking, flood certificates, boundary surveys, and subdivisions.
2006-2012 – Dioptra LLC – survey crew member – I completed every aspect of any survey project; from research to drafting to calculations to final survey reports.
2012-2015 – Dioptra LLC – Project Manager/Professional Land Surveyor – I managed all sizes of projects from small boundary surveys to managing the QA/QC of a multi-million dollar open-pit mine development.
2015-present – Dioptra LLC – Owner – I had the opportunity to purchase Dioptra in 2015. I still serve as a project manager/Professional Land Surveyor and manage all sizes of projects. Along with managing staff and finances.

4. Please describe some of the technology that you have become skilled in using and any challenges associated with using it on a daily basis.

We use a variety of technology at our office; GPS, robotic total station, 3D scanners, CAD software and even some GIS software. The biggest challenges with using a large variety of technology are: 1) finding methods and procedures such that the data collected with each type can be used directly with, or in conjunction with another type of technology, 2) becoming proficient in all the different technologies and not just one, 3) keeping up with all the advancements and updates that come frequently and 4) keeping up-to-date with emerging technologies like drones and advancements in GPS.

5. Do you think this will be a long-term career for you? Why or why not?

This is a long-term career for me. I enjoy the challenges of every project. Although some projects are similar in scope, each one has unique challenges and issues that must be overcome. I also enjoy the fact that surveyors are the first to arrive and the last to leave a construction project.

6. What are a couple of ideas that could attract more young people to the surveying profession?

I don’t have any grand ideas. However, I have used the Get Kids into Survey posters from Elaine Ball. These posters have been a great way to explain to my own kids, and to high school students, what surveyors do and how they are involved in many projects around them.

As professionals, we need to find ways to mentor and support the young people. Whether that is within our own company, the local university or through a mentor program with the state survey society. Most successful people have had at least one mentor that they can remember and give credit to for where they are now. We need to seek out those that will replace us one day and support them in their career path as much as possible.

7. Any further thoughts or comments, perhaps how you see all of this technology changing the world?

I would encourage all young professionals to find a mentor, become involved in your local survey societies, and don’t be afraid to meet new people. You never know who you will meet and what you can learn from them.

The world is run by those who show up!

Congrats Stewart Ward on what you have accomplished to date.

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