National Surveyors Week Spotlight: Nedra Foster Townshend, LSLS, RPLS

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How has the industry changed since the start of your career?

The advent of GPS into everyday surveying has been the most significant change. Also, the ready availability of so much GIS information tied to a map base. But even with all the advances, the basics of good survey work remain the same!

There are many different industries in which one could build a career. Why did you choose surveying?

Because Silsbee is a small town with limited job opportunities, I went to work part-time for Surveyor Darrell Shine, and here I am still.

What advice would you give girls who want to pursue a career in the surveying industry when they grow up?

It’s one of the most exciting professions around merely because it incorporates so many different fields: geodesy, mathematics, legal aspects, indoor, and outdoor work. My advice would be to carry your fair share of the load, whether you are in the field or the office. That will earn the respect of coworkers and cause leadership to be willing to invest in your training.

If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

Scott Townsend and air conditioning!

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