Corner Post
Quarterly Newsletter of the Saskatchewan
Land Surveyors

Private Practice

Wayne W. W. Stockton

SLS and Life Member, P. Surv., CLS


Anyone who has worked in private practice in the survey industry has experienced situations where extraordinary effort is needed in order to get the job done and keep the client happy. I was thinking about this the other day when one such incident in my own career popped into memory.


In the fall of 1995 we were not particularly busy and were only operating one field crew. On a Thursday afternoon the chainman on the crew hurt his back and needed medical attention. At the same time the Party Chief, Bob McNeil, asked if he could take a week holiday the following week. Since there was nothing that urgent on the horizon I didn’t think it would be a problem. I was hoping nothing would come up as I was slated to into the hospital on Monday for a double hernia operation. The operation went well and I was discharged on Tuesday. On Wednesday I got an urgent call from a regular client with a rush job that was needed in the vicinity of Gordon Road and Lewvan Drive in Regina. The only option I had was to go out myself even though just lifting the transit could possibly do serious damage to my recent surgery. I needed help and phoned a former neighbor, Fred Silzer. Fred was in bad shape as well. He had an ear infection that was draining and he was in considerable pain but he said he would help. There was Fred and I out in the middle of Lewvan Drive trying to get measurements with vehicles whizzing by on both sides at 100km/hr. I had put in a request to Employment Canada for a chainman and in the middle of all this my cell phone was ringing with prospective applicants. I took down the basic information, age, education, experience and phone number and said I would call back the next day if I wanted them to come for an interview.


By the time I got home that night I had narrowed it down to two possibilities. One applicant was 26 years old and had a degree in Fine Arts from the U of R and I decided to give him a call that night. I made Shawn Dueck an offer over the telephone and he accepted. Shawn lived on the north side of town so I told him that Bob would pick him up at home on the way out to work on Monday morning. Shawn worked for us for about 10 days before I met him in person. He ended up staying with us for nearly 2 years. Shawn got married during that time and we attended his wedding. In the fall of 1996, Bob left for greener pastures and Shawn took over as Party Chief.


When I sold my business in May of 1997 and joined Fugro GeoServices, I had one job left to do which entailed working on the centre line of the railway near Balgonie. I had to borrow a chainman from Fugro and and Shawn went out to get the job done. It was a cold, windy day and the chainman had on a parka with the hood pulled up and he didn’t hear a train approaching. Shawn, who was checking his field notes, looked up and saw the train bearing down. He let out a holler and the chainman jumped out of the way just in time. The train actually stopped and the engineer berated Shawn. He said he would have to make a report and we would be hearing from them but we never did.


A couple of years ago at the Annual Meeting, I was approached by Kevin Way, Commission No. 335, and he asked me if I remembered him. When I said I didn’t remember him, he told me he was the chainman in the middle of the railway tracks that just about got run over by the train. Thank goodness it didn’t end in tragedy. I joined Fugro on May 15, 1997 and Shawn started out in his own business on that same day working in commercial art. What goes around comes around. Bob McNeil eventually became the office manager for Focus Corporation in Regina. It was Bob who hired me to work for Focus when Fugro closed the Regina office at the end of 2011. As the old saying goes, “All’s well that ends well.”