Early Days In Montana
I spent most of my years as a young boy living in several different states west of the Mississippi River. This includes Nebraska, Kansas, California, Oregon and Nevada. My dad worked as a heavy equipment operator, underground infrastructure foreman and open pit mine operator and his worked involved frequent moves for my immediate family. When I was in my early teens my family settled down in Northwestern Montana. My parents bought a small parcel of land near the North Fork of the Flathead River just a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park and about 10 miles north of the town of Columbia Falls, Montana. I entered the full-time workforce at 15. My employment included riding a 4-wheeler over gravel roads to dishwashing jobs in West Glacier, Montana. I passed my GED exam at the age of 16. After work as a dishwasher I took a job at Safeway in Whitefish, Montana, where I worked for 6 years. During that same time period I also worked in the facilities maintenance department of the Big Mountain Ski Resort and attended Flathead Valley Community College.
South to Sunny California
In the Spring of 2002 I graduated from Flathead Valley Community College with an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Land Surveying. (This was after great mentoring from Bob Beall and Dave Dorsett, professors of the Forestry and Land Surveying programs at Flathead Valley Community College.) Shortly after this I relocated to Stockton, California and took a job as a field surveyor with KSN. I met my wife Monique in Stockton, and we have been married for the last 12 years. We have no children of our own, but have a black chiwawa named Pinky, a black lab /pit bull mix named Bella, and many nieces and nephews. We bought a damaged foreclosed home in a South Stockton Neighborhood during the brunt of the Great Recession and housing crash. After several years of work and a good amount of savings we now have an enjoyable modest home not far from the Stockton Metro Airport.
Work as a Land Surveyor
I passed the national land surveyor exam in the Fall of 2007 and the California state land surveying exam in the Spring of 2008. I passed the Nevada state land surveying exam in the Spring of 2010. I’m currently licensed to practice land surveying in both states. I became a Certified Federal Surveyor in the Fall of 2012. I began work on a survey field crew for KSN in 2002. When I left KSN in 2012 I was the assistant survey deparment manager and worked in the company’s Stockton office. In the fall of 2012 I took a job as the Mapping Department Manager for O’Dell Engineering . I currently run a team of highly skilled surveyors and mapping professionals from O’Dell Engineering’s headquarters in Modesto, California.
Work in GIS
My first exposure to GIS was in classes I shared at Flathead Valley Community College with the forestry program. I became interested in the open source desktop GIS program JUMP after starting my employment with KSN. I was so intrigued with the program that I taught myself the Java programming language so I could customize and improve the program. After a couple of years of involvement with the program I founded theJUMP Pilot Project with another JUMP user and developer, Steve Tanner. I still contributes as a user and programmer of OpenJUMP. (OpenJUMP is the descendant of JUMP maintained by the Jump Pilot Project).
I’m constantly seeking ways to improve the integration of GIS, land surveying, and civil engineering. This includes applying GIS technology to the problems I encounter as a land surveyor and through the use of open source software and open technology.
I’m also the founder of the California Central Valley Geospatial Professionals Group.
I’ve been design software and writing code for over a decade. My favorite programming language is Java. I also use Ruby to automate SketchUp. I customize AutoCAD with AutoLISP and C#. My second favorite programming language is Python, and I can also code in Visual Basic Dot Net. I sling code in Eclipse, Netbeans, Notepad++ and Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA.
I’m a strong advocate of open source software and open technology standards. My open source code is released through the SurveyOS Project.
I volunteer with several organizations. I’m an active member of the Central Valley Chapter of the California Land Surveyor’s Association and chair both the San Joaquin County Government Liaison Committee and the Construction Committee. I’m also an active member of the Sierra Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. I serve on the Qualifications Based Selection Committee of ACEC California. I’m a volunteer member of the California Geodetic Control Working Group.
I am the volunteer editor of the OSGeo Journal and the OSGeo Board Representative for the California Chapter of OSGeo. I’m responsible for organizing the chapter’s annual meeting. I also maintain the California Central Valley Survey Control Network.