PLSO The Oregon Surveyor November December 2020

10 Vol. 43, No. 6 OrYSN Corner As the chair of the Oregon Young Surveyors, I think it is important for Old Surveyors to hear feedback from Young Surveyors about our working relationships. Leo Litowich, PLS (OR & AZ) OrYSN Chair OrYSN Corner Recognizing a Recent Land Survey Exam Test Taker During COVID T his month, I wanted to feature Blake Whelchel as a “Young Sur- veyor in the Spotlight.” Blake is a 2016 graduate of the Oregon Institute of Technology Geomatics program, like myself, and is currently employed in the survey department at the city of Salem. Before that, he and I were coworkers for two years at Multi/Tech Engineering, a private land development engineering firm in Salem. Back then, he and I were both land survey interns. I spent most of my time inside and he spent most of his time outside. I was asked on a test once, “What are two reasons, apart from human error . . . ” and my immediate reaction was, “Everything is Blake’s fault!” (This is a joke. We are still friends.) I think Blake is special because he expe- rienced two major life events this year during COVID that he also experienced before COVID: the birth of a child and tak- ing theOregon-Specific Land Survey Exam. Blake was part of the cohort of people whose April test was postponed to Oc- tober. Cancelling the test in April was “kind of expected,” Blake said. The test was pushed to sometime in July, but he “had the feeling they were going to cancel it again because they were so non- communicative. By the timeOctober rolled around, all the studying I haddone for April was gone, and I had to start over again. I was super annoyed. It wasn’t necessari- ly their fault, and once they put the test on, it was really smooth the way they did it. Once you got started on the test, you forgot you were even wearing a mask.” This year, Blake said each person had their own table spaced out on a 10- or 12-foot grid across a whole basketball gymnasi- um. After a socially distant registration with a COVID form, it was no different than normal. The night prior, Blake was with two OIT class of 2016 graduates [Russell Dodge, Portland General Elec- tric and Tyler Puzey, ODOT] going over test items. They got to one subject and said, “Those suck. That’s not going to be on the test!” Blake recalled. “We didn’t study that topic and I opened the first page of the packet and there it was. I al- most physically laughed during the test!” To prepare, Blake said he “studied real- ly hard” for his weakest section from his last attempt: Section 5 on Geodesy, Map Projections, GPS, etc. Blake also said he reviewed “1001 Solved Surveying Fun- damentals Problems,” which has helpful court cases. He’s optimistic about his performance. Blake’s second child was born in August at Silverton Medical Center, where he said everyone was great. Blake heard that, because of COVID, fathers were being ex- cluded from delivery but they lucked out and he was allowed to be there, although he couldn’t leave the delivery room and wander the hallways. As the chair of the Oregon Young Survey- ors, I think it is important for Old Surveyors to hear feedback from Young Surveyors about our working relationships. Each of us has different motivations and desires, so I asked Blake about his favorite lessons from the surveyors he has worked for and about his working life at his employers. The Oregon Surveyor  |