Hamilton Palmer, PLS

My first memories of surveying and surveyors was from Bud Ames who told wild tales of surveying in the swamps of Louisiana building the Lake Ponchatrain Bridge - the longest bridge in the world. He brought back a flat bottom metal skiff with 'bullet' holes in the bottom, holes where he and his crew had to kill water moccasins before they killed you.

Surveying has always been memorable from my days in 'surveying lab' at college to camping out for weeks at a time in the desert to working for large engineering firms, to where I am now, owning and operating a land surveying company.

I worked for the highway department after school, where I learned the theory and basics of surveying,. After staking an Interstate Highway and a couple of bridges, I was hired by a private surveying firm for boundary and topographic surveys. A few years later I received an offer to perform surveys for oil exploration. After traveling around and working in most of the Western states and Canada, I was ready to settle down. I took a job with a small surveying firm and with my experience and schooling, was able to sit for and pass the exam for my professional license. That license has given me the security to know that I can go most anywhere in the world and get a good paying job. The other things that go with that license are responsibility and respect.

While I was surveying, I managed to purchase and co-own a survey software company, purchase and restore a historic building in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, be appointed to several state and local boards and commissions, and build up a surveying firm that uses the very latest technology using satelites and robots. It has been a fun and rewarding career. I never did it for the money, just for the excitement, the memories, and the tall and not so tall tales and to be in a position to make change in this country. I was able to earn a good living along the way. I was able to be part of the 'computer revolution' from the use of calculators that only added, subtracted, divided, and multiplied to the advent of GPS, high speed computers and robotics. The surveying profession will change in the future. There will be more GIS, more interaction with other disciplines including environmentalists, engineers, cartographers, geologists, and government. I hope some of you jump on for the ride.

I have to cut this quick as I have an Architectural Review Board meeting in 20 minutes where I need to persuade a board to not allow someone to put up a chain link fence right next to our historic office building we just restored.

Hamilton Palmer, President
HGP, Inc. - Land Surveyors
Purina Tower, Suite 100
401 Charles Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
ph 540 371-5171