I’d like to begin with thanking Akbar Karsan for asking me to join council this year. I’ve learnt a lot in the past few months and look forward to becoming even more involved in the coming years. I knew members put in a lot of volunteer time, but I didn’t realise just how much. Committee Members, Committee Chairs, Executive Council, and the Executive Director all put in a ton of time to keep the association running smoothly and should be applauded for it.
When deciding what to write for this article I tried to pick a Council Agenda item that I feel strongly about. The news about the suspension of the Sask Polytechnic Geomatics Program stood out right away, being a former Geomatics Grad Student.
I enrolled in the Geomatics Program in 2002, straight out of high school. My first year at SIAST (recently renamed Sask Polytechnic) was filled with ups and downs. I loved the hands on training with the Rod and Level, Total Station and GPS, even though initially I wasn’t very good. I remember doing about 4 or 5 level loops from the SIAST Building Benchmark 62S021 to the Canadian Tire Benchmark 62S013 in Moose Jaw (Any SIAST Geomatics Grad will know what I’m talking about). The first loop busted by metres (yikes!), the second by decimeters and finally the last few within centimeters and then millimeters. I started to question whether surveying was the right career path. I obviously didn’t catch on as quickly as some of my classmates and my field surveying skills were clearly lacking. I vividly remember having a conversation with Don Williams, SLS (Retired) about transferring to the Civil Program. Don encouraged me to stay in the Geomatics program and that the skills would come with time and practice. He spoke highly of the profession and talked about how rewarding surveying can be. He was truly a key influence early in my career and a main reason why stuck with the Geomatics Program and eventually obtained my diploma.
I guess where I’m going with this is the Geomatics Program has been an essential starting point in so many of our careers. It’s where a large part of our Crew Chiefs, our Drafters, our Plan Checkers and our future Saskatchewan Land Surveyors come from. It’s where the knowledge and inspiration starts. I think we need to do as much as we can to have the program re-instated. I know enrollment numbers are down and part of that could be due to the slow economy and low job postings but I think we need to do more to promote our profession to the public and specifically the youth. I hope we can all somehow provide the same inspiration Don gave me almost 18 years ago. As a member of the Sask Polytechnic Geomatics Program Advisory Committee I’d like to take some ideas to our upcoming meeting on March 20, 2020. There will be lengthy discussion on how we can get the program re-instated and if any members have any ideas please contact myself or the Committee chair Ryan Maloney. I think it’s our duty to help get the program back on its feet.
A big thank you to those of you that are involved in the Association and if you’re not involved please don’t hesitate to contact Carrie to join a Committee. It’s been a great first year on council and I look forward the upcoming 2nd year!