Eric R. Bess, CET
I graduated in May 1996 from WVUIT with a BS in Engineering Technology. My AS is in Civil Engineering Technology. Most of my friends graduated with the BS in Civil-Surveying. Our degrees only vary by 2 classes or so. I have been a NICET certified Civil Engineering Technician since 1996.
Upon my graduation I began working part-time for Cannelton Industries Stockton Mine as an Engineering Technician. Stockton is a four continuous miner section coal mine. I then took a position as the Maintenance Clerk, which was the only title open at the time that would give me full time benefits. I continued to work primarily in the Engineering Dept. yet expanded my knowledge and skill base in the Maintenance and Operations end of the industry as well. Soon after I was promoted to Maintenance Planner.
Although that was my title, I was responsible for planning equipment maintenance and downtime work, scheduling weekend work and work force, vacations for all union employees (234 total), supervise as needed on underground and outby work, mine projection planning, roof control and ventilation control planning, surveyor coordination and direction, traveled with state and federal mine inspectors, DEP inspectors for our surface facilities, helped maintain the 69,000V power system for 2 deep mines, and strip mine, planned budgets, stockpile volumetric calculations, Class 1 water supply operator for 2 deep mines, and dozens of other jobs too long to list.
In September 2000, I left Cannelton for employment at Equitable Production as their Senior Draftsman. This has expanded my skillset to oil and gas as well as my extensive experience with the coal industry. I am a part of a 3 person team who maintains data for Equitable’s leases, pipelines, gas wells, and other facilities and infrastructure for 5 states. We use AutoCAD along with lisp routines developed by Stan Thompson to make our job a lot easier.
My educational and work experience background helps tie together so many items I come across in my current position. My surveying knowledge helps when discussing things with not only surveyors, but other GIS and CAD operators to understand and communicate between different datums and coordinate systems, and to explain exactly what we need or expect from them. My background also assists the Land Dept. when they have questions, and I can explain what is going on or what is needed to obtain the goal or answer they are looking for.
Most of my friends with whom I graduated college with, which got the BS Civil Surveying, are diverse as well. They range from Project Manager, to Surface Mine Foreman, to Party Chief, and a whole variety of titles and experiences.
My career goals include obtaining a Masters Degree and registration as Professional Land Surveyor and Professional Engineer.
One of my surveying instructors once told us (paraphrasing), “A surveyor will always be needed…. whether it is to layout for a building or home, divide property, or even layout the cemetery plot you will end up in, a surveyor will be the cornerstone of the process.”
Eric R. Bess, CET