12 The Oregon Surveyor | Vol. 45, No. 2 Member Spotlight SPOTLIGHT Member By Vanessa Salvia Eli Adam, PLS County Surveyor, Lincoln County Surveyor’s Office On the day of our call, Eli Adamwas late to talk because he was in a meeting with the Lincoln County Planning Department and the Assessor’s Office that ran over, trying to work on fine-tuning the land division process. That’s just one of the complicated tasks involved with being a county surveyor. “It’s fairly complicated, and people tend to know their own realm and not necessarily the subsequent or previous steps,” Adam says. “We’re working to document all of that and potentially make it easier to guide applicants through the process. Land-use applicants come into the process with not a lot of background in these fairly specialized areas.” Like many surveyors, he took a non- direct route to get into the profession. He started out in engineering school, but getting three quarters of the way through engineering school, he realized that he might not actually want to do that. He found his way into archeology and GIS and actually graduated with an archaeology degree, which did use some surveying technologies and which he worked at for a few years. Then, he moved more toward GIS over archeology, and what was unique about himdoing GIS in Lincoln County is that the GIS program was headed by a licensed land surveyor, John Waffenschmidt, who was Adam’s predecessor. “It was really a unique opportunity to do GIS filtered through a land surveyor’s perspective and I really benefited from that, and through John’s mentorship I got more into surveying,” says Adam. “It came full circle in a way, because of all those old engineering classes.” Adam, now 40, became the county surveyor March 1, 2021. Before that, he worked in the county surveyor’s office as a surveyor and before that, as a survey technician. Before that, he was a GIS analyst, going back to 2006. Adam is originally from Michigan, and ended up in Newport about 15 years ago, but that story is complicated to tell. “I don’t really have a good explanation of how I wound up in the Pacific Northwest!” Adam says with a laugh. “Mostly, I had been through other states and traveled a fair amount, but had never been to the Northwest and I had a feeling that I wanted to check it out. I did a job search and came here and I have loved it ever since.” Adamhad traveled throughmore than 40 states, but the first time he came to Oregon was for his Lincoln County interview. To explain his duties as a county surveyor, Adam summarized Chuck Pearson’s recent Oregon Surveyor magazine article: review and file surveys from private and public surveyors; review and approve subdivision, partition, and condominium plats; and maintain and reestablish monuments of the PLSS system. “We also run a survey record research library for private surveyors as well as the general public,” says Adam. “We survey county roads and perform legalizations if needed. We maintain a geodetic control network. We learn and share historical information for Lincoln County, like the different indexing schemes for deeds Eli Adam presents coworker Chaz Malarkey with some “corner pie” upon his retirement.