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Spotlight: David Landsman

Wednesday, May 9, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: David Landsman
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1. When did you start surveying? I began surveying in high school, as part of an internship with CAS Engineering. I was sent out to assist the field crew, amongst other tasks. We had a two-man field crew doing mostly topographic and boundary surveys in Montgomery County, MD and DC that I worked with.

2. Why did you get into surveying? I started working for CAS Engineering as a summer job because of their location close to where I grew up in Mount Airy, MD. I enjoyed being outside and trying to retrace old surveys or past work. The link between engineering and surveying combined a lot of my skillset and strengths.

3. Describe one of your best experiences while surveying? When I was in high school and in college, I really enjoyed coming home for breaks to survey and get outside. I enjoyed doing some larger farm surveys in Montgomery County, MD. They were a little different than the busy DC and closer-in surveys and allowed me to get some real experience operating the equipment. One farm in particular, Hernandez Acres, was where I got a lot of my learning and experience.

4. Describe one of your worst experiences while surveying? Floor control on a high-rise building near Union Station was one of my worst experiences. It was a very cold winter and we were on-site daily setting floor control and being questioned/challenged about our work. A concrete subcontractor was getting consistently different results. Eventually it turned out they were using steel tape but no temperature correction and we were correct. The cold days re-setting and checking our work, and the associated stress, was something I won’t forget.

5. What type of surveying makes up most of your work? Boundary and topographic surveys with associated stakeout for infill development in Washington, DC makes up most of our work. I do mostly office and supervisory work now and miss being in the field more often.

6. Who are some of the surveyors that influenced your knowledge in the profession (in school or on the job)? Dave Ritchie, Dan Caywood and Jeff Hammond have given me most of the knowledge I have in the profession. Each of these surveyors took the time to listen to my questions and tried to explain why/how everything is done to ensure the best (correct) results. Some of my earliest survey learning was from Joe Lipps and Pat Kaufman, two surveyors/crew chiefs at CAS Engineering who I worked with while an intern. Joe and Pat taught me first hand how to use surveying equipment and organize work on site. Joe and Pat also taught me that you can have a good time while working, making it less of a job and more fun for sure.

7. What was special about what you learned from them? Learning the specifics of surveying and how to tackle a problem when it comes up is the most “special” or important part of what I learned from them. Each has a different approach or experience with troubleshooting and it is a crucial part of a surveyor’s work. Issues or hiccups come up and knowing how to attack them with a level head is one of the most important lessons or skill sets I’ve learned from these surveyors.

8. What advice would you give to new surveyors? Surveying is a field that isn’t going away, it’s a very stable and respectable profession. It’s also an aging profession. There’s opportunity for driven, new surveyors to be the surveying leaders of tomorrow. I think being receptive to learning is important too. Soak up everything and ask questions to learn from the more talented surveyors teaching you.

9. When you are not surveying, what do you like to do? I enjoy spending time with my wife, daughter and black lab hiking or grilling in the back yard. I spend more time during the week indoors at my current position and like to spend time outside when not in the office.

10. How has surveying changed since you started? I think most answer this the same way, but it’s become significantly more automated/computerized in the time since I started. The modern surveying equipment does most of the computing and instructions that older surveyors had to remember or figure out on the fly. While this is generally a good advancement, I think knowing surveying basics and the process behind the data collector operations is important for every surveyor.

11. What question did you expect us to ask that we didn't ask? What is the answer? I thought there would be a question where I see the surveying profession going. I think more robotics will be used in surveying, though I think for many of the surveys our firm does there will be a significant human component to set up the instrument and survey tight areas. I think surveying equipment will become more accurate and faster, hopefully the human component will keep up and costs for surveying equipment will remain reasonable or come down a bit.

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