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Spotlight: Nate Travis

Wednesday, April 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ebonique Ellis
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1.      Why did you get into surveying?


From the earliest time I can remember, I loved the outdoors and wanted to spend as much time as I could in the forests, trying to uncover life’s greatest mysteries and left no stone in my path unturned for excitement of what could lie beneath. This love of the outdoors led me to the profession of forest ranger, spending my days hiking in the woods and maintaining our national parks. Unfortunately, upon research and visiting the forestry department, I soon found out that a ranger’s job description consisted mainly of maintaining the roads within the parks. This was not appealing and so my second love, food, became my primary target.



After high school, I was given the choice of college at my own expense or moving out of my parent’s house and trying out my luck in the “real” world as my father would say. I took the latter in lieu of hefty loan repayments and an utter lack of motivation to sit in classrooms for another 4-6 years. This was probably not the wisest decision, but well, we’ll never know. Fortunately, I had a cousin whom was a chef in Annapolis and offered to take me on as a line cook. I jumped at the opportunity and found myself living in Annapolis and learning everything I could. This was done with the hope that I, too, one day would be chef de cuisine of my own kitchen. After sweating it out for 3 years, I was given a chance to finally lead. For the following four years, I spent no less than 70 hours a week, creating menus, ordering and balancing budgets, teaching cooking techniques and leading kitchen & wait staff through busy evenings. Putting in those kind of hours takes a toll, mentally and physically and after spending one last year in the trenches, I finally threw in the towel. That last year was spent in Australia, working and visiting family, and I swore that when I returned, I would actively seek out another avenue of employment.



This would be a career path that allowed me to be with the living, something I could be passionate about, and above all, allowed me to spend time with my family and friends. Upon my return, I stuck to my guns and did not head back to those dreaded boiler rooms they call kitchens. Instead, I reached out to my brother Michael who was working as a CAD tech at DMW in Towson. Knowing me quite well, he mentioned that his firm had a survey department and that the job consisted of spending work days outside, in the daylight, all year long. From hearing this, excitement grew and thoughts harkened back to days of old, those happy times spent in the forest searching for something new. There was no hesitation and I asked my brother to inquire within to see if they would recruit a guy with zero experience to join their outfit. A day later and happy news, I was interviewed and hired as an instrument man. The pay was awful and times were tough, though as expected, I immediately loved this newfound career path and yearned to learn the secrets of what at the time to me was a complete mystery. Every day was an adventure, traveling from site to site, performing varying tasks to accommodate that day’s survey. All this excitement came by means of uncovering the nature of this career which bounds on ancient techniques and cutting-edge technology. I also found myself with my people, a smart but rough and tumble bunch, willing to crawl through dirt and mud, climb over rocks, wade through creeks and bogs, all while toting heavy equipment without complaint (well, maybe a little). And doing all of this while capturing data with detrimental precision.


Following in the footsteps of many before me, I kept my head down, ears open and learned as much as possible. Through gained experience, a ton of classes at CCBC and the many who have lent their expertise over the years, I have managed to climb through the ranks and find myself managing projects or as field surveyors call it, google map surveying, where everything is flat. Years have passed since my enchanting invitation into the world of surveying and though in the office and on the other side of things, I still find my days exciting, still uncovering mysteries, learning new things and surrounded by those same bunch of people with whom I’ve shared the experience.


2.      Who are some of the surveyors that influenced your knowledge in the profession (in school or on the job)?


A nod to those whose character and willingness to teach have influenced and had a profound effect on the way I perform my job and carry myself in general.


o   I’ve been fortunate to work and be around a great number of amazing and talented surveyors and engineers. Below is a short list of those I’d like to mention and thank. I hope I didn’t miss anyone.


o   Dave Martin, LS. – Gave me my first job, knowing I had no experience. Also signed my application for licensure without hesitation.


o   Julia Rice, LS. – Gave me my first crack at crew chief, excelling me to where I am today.


o   Jack Bryden, LS. – Encouraged me to think bigger and did so with humor.


o   Wayne Aubertin, LS. – The toughest surveyor I know as well as a mentor for licensure.


o   Sean Donovan, Surveyor. – My crew chief at one time who showed me what a great crew chief and leader should be.


o   Paul Concannon, Surveyor. – My long time instrument man who had the eye of an eagle and more importantly, the ability to put up with me for many years.


o   Peggy White, PE. – Who picked me up when I was down and gave me my first office position of coordinator as well as encouraging me to apply for my license.


o   Rena Butler, LS. – I can’t say enough about Rena. Just an overall fantastic human who has helped me in more ways than she knows. I wouldn’t be sitting where I am today without her encouragement, her shared knowledge and ability to see the best in me, even when I couldn’t.


o   Bryan Haynie, LS. – Whom I currently sit under and who patiently shows me the ropes of how a quality surveyor and manager should perform.



3.      Where I am now and future goals.


 I’m currently a project manager under Bryan Haynie at Century Engineering within their Hunt Valley Office. I am actively pursuing licensure and hope to accomplish that goal this year. Century has been a wonderful experience in the 2 plus years I’ve been with them. I am thankful to work in an environment laden with highly qualified surveyors and engineers who I can lean on from time to time for their wisdom, vast knowledge and overall support. As always, every day is an adventure and I welcome the opportunity to be a cog in the great machine of surveying and to be a part of something much bigger than myself.


4.      Things I enjoy outside of work.


 I guess you’ve gathered that I like being outside. When the weather permits, you will find me on the golf course, yelling at a little white ball that seldomly goes where I want it to. I also enjoy hiking, mountain marathons, fly fishing and the occasional beer garden. When forced to be indoors, you’ll likely see a guitar in my hands or one being built in my woodshop. 

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