National Surveyors Week 2019 - Chris Higgins

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Where are you from? Augusta, Illinois

How long have you been surveying? 24 years

What office are you based out of? Rock Island, Illinois

What do you love about your job? I like the history, walking in the footsteps of those before us.  I enjoy the challenge of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on? Probably the Mendota Hills Wind Farm.  It was the first utility scale wind farm in Illinois and was the first renewable energy project that I was involved with.  I did the field work, computations, platting, and staking for this project, so was involved from start to finish.  I recently had the opportunity to work on this project again, as V&K was awarded a survey contract to perform an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey and as-built survey for the repowering, where they took down the old turbines and put up fewer but higher capacity turbines.

Advice for those looking to enter the surveying field? I’d say try to do an internship or summer work program with an engineering/surveying firm.  Get your hands dirty and see what it’s all about – you’re either going to love it or hate it, but it’ll be a great learning experience as to what all goes into surveying.  Surveyors are in demand; colleges that offer the survey specialization degree are dwindling away due to budget cuts and lack of interest, so there is a mismatch between the number of newly licensed surveyors coming in and the number of older surveyors retiring.  To put it in perspective, in Illinois in 2018, there were only 27 new PLS licensees for the entire state!

Fun fact? I’m outdoorsy and like to hunt, fish, and garden.  I volunteer with my local Boy Scout troop and our local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter.