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News & Press: MSS News

Spotlight: Richard Collinson

Tuesday, September 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Khea Adams
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1. When did you start surveying? I started surveying in October, 1971 with Hugh Wilkerson and Associates. Two and a half years later I went to work for J.R. McCrone, Inc. Fifteen years later my associates and I opened Collinson, Oliff and Associates.
2. Why did you get into surveying? I really did not know anything about surveying and was working at my Dad's store when Mr. Wilkerson came in and mentioned that he needed some help on a field crew. Since I needed a job and loved being outside I took the job.
3. Describe one of your best experiences while surveying. My best experience was starting Collinson, Oliff and Associates. After 17 1/2 years of working for others it was time to move on and start our own business.  It was an exciting time although a little scary too. The group we put together worked in the field and office, and things went well for us.
4. Describe one of your worst experiences while surveying. One of the worst experiences happened while I was a Party Chief on a two man crew.  We were cutting open a traverse line in a wooded area that had been selectively timbered. I started on one end and the other man on the other end. We were about 50' apart cutting toward each other when the other man hit a nest of bees. When he turned to run he ran face first into a downed tree.  His face was covered with blood and the bees had stung him twenty to thirty times. I got him out of there and he recovered in time. To this day when people ask me if I worry about snakes when surveying I tell them, "No way, it's the bees you have to watch out for."  That was a really bad day.
5. What type of surveying makes up most of your work? I am not sure how I answer this one. Early in my career I just wanted to work outside.  Then I went inside to do drafting.  After that I started computing boundaries, etc.  As the years passed I progressed from a survey tech to survey department head and branch manager of the McCrone, Inc. Prince Frederick office.  Depending on what stage of my career I did a little of everything from field work, tech work, boundary surveys and management.
6. Who are some of the surveyors who influenced your knowledge in the profession (in school or on the job)? When I think back on who influenced me the most I need to start with family members.  My mother and father taught me proper work ethic and to be responsible.  My uncle, who I considered to be a great business man, once told me that no matter what career you pursue, study hard and get your license.  I followed that advice and it paid off.  There are too many surveyors that helped me along the way to just name a few.  However, Hugh Wilkerson and Associates, Inc. gave me my start and allowed me to experience field and office work. J.R. McCrone, Inc. followed up with excelled training and mentoring. Companies that provide more than just a job are a credit to our profession and the investments they make in their employees can not be understated.
7. How did these influential surveyors impact your professional career? Something special that I learned from them is mostly work ethics and professionalism.  Water seeks it's own level. The training and mentoring they provided was the best.
8. What advice would you give to new surveyors? I think for a new surveyor the need to spend enough time working in the field is essential.  There needs to be a proper balance in education both inside and outside.
9. When you are not surveying, what do you like to do? Since leaving Collinson, Oliff and Associates in December, 2017, I have more time to spend with my family.  I have nine grandchildren that I especially enjoy spending time with now that I am working less.  I play senior softball and attend as many of the grandchildren's activities as possible.
10. How has surveying changed since you started? Technology is the biggest change that I have seen.  We went from pulling steel tapes to robots, hand drafting to CAD, Monroe hand cranking calculators to the computer software of today, and from conventional leveling to GPS and RTK. It's crazy how much things can change in a short 47 years. 

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