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As at: August 2014


Name/ Nickname: Sarge

Age: 36

Family? (Marital status?)
Married to Megan. Two kids and a dog.

Current job/Role ?
Project Manager/ Registered Mining Surveyor – Cadence Consulting Surveyors

What’s the best advice your parents ever gave to you?
Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.

What’s your claim to fame?
Surveyors are only known for their mistakes!

What’s your personal motto?
Anywhere, Anytime!

What makes you happy?
Getting together with family and friends.

What makes you angry?
People who don't know the limit of their knowledge or ability and when to ask for help.


Career History

Career to date?
Survey Assistant, Asquith & deWitt Consulting Surveyors

Trainee Mine Surveyor, Munmorah/Wyee/Newstan/Awaba Collieries

Assistant Surveyor, Newstan Colliery

Mine Surveyor, Mandalong Mine

Project Manager, C.R. Hutchison/Moultrie Survey/Cadence Consulting Surveyors

Career influences?
Every one of the Mine Surveyors I've worked under. You pick up something new from everyone you work with.

Career highlight (biggest achievement)?
Gaining my Certificate of Competency was a huge personal achievement. Receiving the 2008 Surveyor General’s International Fellowship and being named NSW Young Surveyor of the year in 2007.

Career shocker?
A Gateroad error that nearly caused us issues with the longwall install. Regular check surveys and closes are critical.

Career goals?
To be dual Registered by also achieving Registration as a Land Surveyor. Continue to work as a Consulting Surveyor, primarily for mining companies and become more involved with property and title management.

Survey Work / People

What is the best piece of survey equipment/technology/software that you have used & why?
I’d have to say the Gyroscopic Theodolite. The precision that modern surveying gyroscopes can determine azimuth to is amazing. Although GNSS technology and its integration into nearly every piece of mobile plant on large opencut mine sites is perhaps the one thing that has the highest potential to influence modern mining operations.

What is the oldest piece of survey equipment that you have used?
Having used a Wild T1 Theodolite and a steel band to do much of my early training at TAFE, I never thought that I would ever use that equipment in the modern world. How wrong I was. When I started work in a underground coal mine in 2001, all our traverses were completed using a T1, a steel band (with mid span support) and a spring balance. However it was a very versatile instrument that produced good results.

Who's the strangest/funniest/unorthodox survey character that you've met so far (and why) ?
A one eyed chainman called Kek. Had a unique view of the world, but never took life too seriously.

What's the most contentious survey issue in your workplace at the moment?(eg. Hours of work, $$, career path, poor planning/scheduling, technology/equipment improvements, field experience, housing, training …???)
Modern total stations and GNSS receivers are powerful machines. Laser scanners are becoming everyday tools and UAV’s will be increasing play a role in more affordable data acquisition. However it’s the onboard processing power and the field/office software where all the advancements are being made, often simplifying and streamlining the fieldwork to a point where anyone could do it. But it’s the fundamental knowledge of traditional systems which underpin this technology that makes the surveyor’s role even more important, ensuring that the required quality is achieved. The danger that the technology presents is that although surveyors would generally use any time savings realised through the application of new technology to improve the service elsewere, managers will want to reduce staff numbers because you can do without that extra person. As surveyors we need to educate management on the wider role of Mine Surveyors. We are not merely production surveyors, we have a serious statutory function that all too often gets dismissed by management. The surveyor’s exposure to different departments and the working environment on a daily basis, qualifies the surveyor to take a more valued position within the site’s management team.

If you were the boss for a day - list 3 things you would change?
Rename the role of Mine Surveyors to be Superintendant of Surveying and Spatial Information, reporting to the Mine Manager.
Underground Coal Mine surveyors would have a dedicated transport.
4 day week or 9 day fortnight

APART from $$, what factor attracts you to work in the mining industry as opposed to other survey disciplines?
The variety of work on a mine site and some of the “toys” that are available to surveyors on mine sites that are not generally not in everyday use by the average consulting surveyor.

Would you recommend a career in surveying to a grade 12 school kid? If not, what career would you recommend?
Yes, definitely. There are plenty of job opportunities in a wide range of areas, we are constantly being told that there is a shortage of surveyors and the pay is generally pretty good and the work is very rewarding.


How do you relax?

Time away with my family

What sports do you play/ watch?
Aside from watch my kids play soccer, I enjoy watching motor racing, particularly rally driving.

What are your other hobbies outside work?
Scuba Diving, I get a great sense of freedom when I’m diving.
Although not exactly a hobby, I also volunteer with the Rural Fire Service and I’m a Deputy Captain and Air Attack Supervisor, which occupies plenty of my weekends.

Where would be your ideal retirement location?
Waterfront position on Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle. With a yacht tied up at the jetty.

Favourite food/drink?

Favourite movie?
I’m a bit of a Denzel Washington fan, so ‘Courage Under Fire’, ‘Man on Fire’ or ‘Flight’.

Finally, if you were down to your last $10 what would you spend it on?
Chocolate for my kids…and wife.


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