This month’s article is written from the desk of the City Surveyor at the City of Virginia Beach. Randy Smith is a dedicated Land Surveyor who has used many different avenues to reach his goals as a Licensed Surveyor. I have worked around Randy many times, and the experience is always a pleasure. His calm demeanor will serve the City of Virginia Beach very well and I hope the best for him as he moves forward on this part of his career. As you will see in the below article, Randy believes in what the VAS can do and is constantly trying to push his staff in the right direction. Enjoy this month’s question and answers to Randy Smith.
• Please provide a short history of your education and work.
Graduated from Princess Anne High School in 1982; Virginia Beach, Va.
Tidewater Community College, Surveying Classes; Virginia Beach & Chesapeake campus
George Washington University, Associate’s in Project Management
John Foster School of Surveying, Fundamentals/ Principals and Practice of Surveying
Numerous class through the VAS and the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers
Hudson Masonry Company, Journeyman Mason, 1982 – 1992
E.V. Williams, Inc., Rodman, 1992-1993
W.P. Large, Inc., Rodman, Instrument man, Party Supervisor, 1993- 2005
City of Virginia Beach, Survey Technician, City Surveyor, 2005 – Present
• What is a typical day like in your office?
The City of Virginia Beach Survey Bureau is unique in that we do work for almost every Department within the City to include Public Works, Public Utilities, City Manager’s Office, City Attorney’s Office among other Departments. Work can include right-of-way stakeouts, boundary surveys, resubdivision plats, topographical and hydrographic surveys. The Bureau reviews subdivision plats, as-builts, acquisition plats and Capital Improvement Project plans. The City of Virginia Beach is the only City within the area, and maybe in the State, that has its own hydrographic boats that are equipped with single and multibeam sonar systems which provides bathymetric surveys for dredging projects and weekly channel monitoring. As you can see it is never boring around here with our diverse workload.
• What do you see as the strong points of the surveying field?
The ever expanding technology and equipment.
• Who do you view as your mentor or mentors?
I am was fortunate to get into surveying before a lot of the technology took off which allowed me to learn surveying the traditional way of working as a rodman then an instrument man, working my way up to a party supervisor and survey technician before becoming a License Surveyor. My mentors while at W.P. Large were Wilfred Large and Buddy Pritchard. They took the time to teach a guy with no surveying background. While working at the City I was fortunate to be mentor by Waid Kidd, Jr. He expanded my knowledge of survey and taught me surveying law and City ordinances. Always encouraged me to pursue licensure.
How has technology affected your office?
Technology is a great thing and can be a bad thing for others. Newer equipment and devices has attracted younger surveyors and has allowed more efficiency with your workload. However, technology has left some of the old timers behind wondering where their place is in the ever changing field.
• How do you see ways that the Virginia Association of Surveyors could help you and your office?
I see the association continuing its mentoring of surveyors to help them pursue licensure through the John Foster School and the apprenticeship program. We need more surveyors getting licensed! The City has been sending a group to the John Foster School and will continue this for the foreseeable future.
Kevin Woods of Virginia Association of Surveyors