Surveyors Week Spotlight: Austin Woo, RPLS

What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful surveyor?

Being a successful surveyor is all about diving into the details—you’ve got to be eagle-eyed to ensure your measurements are spot-on. But it’s not just about numbers; it’s a whole mix of skills. You need to know your way around legal boundaries and have the lowdown on construction, engineering, environmental components, and even a bit of history. It’s like being a jack-of-all-trades in the surveying world. And when things get tricky—whether you’re dealing with rugged terrain or navigating legal mazes—a successful surveyor kicks into problem-solving mode, finding clever ways to tackle challenges. Plus, you’ve got to be a smooth communicator, breaking down the technical jargon so everyone’s on the same page.

What is the best part of your job at BGE?

The best part of my job at BGE is the robust collaboration within my team and across departments. Engaging in effective teamwork enhances our ability to ideate and execute projects seamlessly. BGE stands out for its commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, ensuring that projects benefit from diverse perspectives and skill sets. This collective approach facilitates individual growth and significantly contributes to our joint endeavors’ success. The professional camaraderie cultivated within this collaborative environment fuels both personal and collective achievement, turning daily challenges into opportunities for shared success.

There are many different industries that one could build a career out of. Why did you choose surveying?

I love getting to work on projects all over the city. I like that we aren’t working on the same project for months at a time and that each one, while you need to follow the same rules, is very different. Each project presents its own set of challenges you have to approach differently.

Surveyors are also in demand, which keeps the job engaging. The unique camaraderie among surveyors is something I appreciate about my colleagues. It’s a straightforward yet fulfilling profession, and I find it both rewarding and professionally invigorating.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the surveying industry?

Folks often think we’re just the “guys on the side of the road.” Sure, that’s part of the deal—we’re out there mapping and measuring. But it’s not the whole picture. Surveying is like the behind-the-scenes wizardry that makes all kinds of projects click. We’re the ones laying the groundwork, quite literally, for everything from new buildings to infrastructure upgrades. It’s not just about standing by the roadside with equipment; it’s about shaping the very canvas on which development unfolds. We’re the unsung heroes in hard hats, turning raw land into functional spaces. So, yeah, there’s more to us than meets the eye.

If you could survey any location in the world (real or fictional), where would it be and why?

I’d set my sights on monitoring tide levels on a beach in Thailand. Apart from the obvious draw of the beautiful beach scenery, Thailand boasts a culinary game that’s off the charts. Surveying with a side of indulging in excellent local food? That’s a sweet deal! Plus, keeping tabs on tide levels is intriguing—it’s a blend of science and nature, and doing it in such a laid-back setting would be a win. Not to mention, it’s not a back-breaking kind of gig; it’s the perfect combo of work and chill.