When I began my career as a rodman for EHRA in 1998, only 27 people worked for the company. I was a rodman with EHRA for several years, but I am proud to say I have grown in my profession and now enjoy 23 years of my time with EHRA as an instrument technician supporting the survey team. Surveying is the process of measuring the earth. As an instrument technician, I generate the boundaries of the earth that the surveyors then measure.
In the spirit of true solidarity, I work with a team that equally shares responsibilities, successes, and failures. Bright and early each morning, we collectively load up the trucks with equipment and make our way to the project site. We work together to complete the assignment and then prepare to do it all over again the next day. I enjoy the uniqueness that each project brings combined with the routine nature of the work. Each day is different, but I always know exactly what is expected of me.
Instrument technicians handle and operate the equipment used to measure components of a project site such as distances, elevations, and angles. I input the staking points into our GPS systems, and a party chief subsequently follows behind me to create the survey boundary line. Precision and accuracy are imperative in my daily work. Any highly experienced instrument technician knows one must always be on their toes, fully aware of one’s surroundings, to ensure no mistakes are made before calling in the party chief. I am always double-checking labels to guarantee I read them correctly and remeasuring elevations for validation. If an instrument technician is off by an entire foot or an eighth of an inch, the slightest inaccuracy could generate major consequences. There is no margin for error.
Another element of my job is to thoroughly understand the evolving technology we employ in the field and to then educate fellow team members on new technologies. I am always learning and growing as we update our equipment to the latest advancements in technology every year. One of the most notable improvements to our daily work was the incorporation of GPS. When GPS was initially rolled out, there was a significant learning curve for many. However, GPS technology elevated our practice to new heights, increasing quality and precision. The continuous progress and education in equipment and technology may sometimes be challenging, but they also bring excitement to my profession. We are constantly finding new ways to provide the best outcomes for clients.
While I love my job, there is a drawback that I can sum up in one word…snakes! I am originally from Uganda, but I grew up in Kenya. Given my history in Africa, where every snake is vicious and deadly, I still live with the mentality that a snake will kill me in less than 15 minutes, no matter what kind. So when I see grass moving, be it a garden snake or a coral snake, I walk the opposite direction!
Snakes aside, when I wake up in the morning and head out for work each day, I feel grateful. I am grateful I work outside in the fresh air with a supportive and efficient team. I am grateful I work for a company with so many good qualities, a company that supports my hopes to potentially advance my career and obtain certifications one day. I have witnessed EHRA grow exponentially over the years not only in numbers, but also in talent and focus on humanity. People make a difference in each other’s lives, and it is the people of EHRA that have inspired me for 23+ years - and that continue to inspire me to work here. It is my hope to work at EHRA for many more years to come.