As assistant chief of surveys, Jon Viverette directs EBA’s survey crews and CAD drafting services. During National Surveyors Week, he tells us more about his 40 years of service working in the field and the changes he’s seen in the surveying profession.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the Hamilton area of Baltimore City, Maryland.
What do you do for EBA?
I direct survey crews, meet with clients, help write proposals, and supervise our CAD drafting services.
What inspired you to pursue a career in surveying?
While attending Baltimore City Community College, I worked with a small surveying firm. At the time, I was learning electrical engineering, but I decided that I wanted to make a career change and learn how to perform construction stakeout for new building projects.
How long have you worked in the field? What’s the biggest change in the practice of surveying you have seen since you started?
I have worked in the field for 40 years. The biggest change is definitely the technology. I started making measurements with a hundred-foot tape and now survey with satellites and distance meters capable of measuring distances up to 5,000 feet and repeating measurements to within 1/16 of an inch.
What’s the most interesting project you have worked on?
Most recently I worked on the certification for a large 22-foot-diameter, approximately 2.5-mile-long underground sewer tunnel for the Anacostia River Tunnel project. I headed the survey crew that took measurements throughout the tunnel to verify that it was built to within 4 inches of the proposed design. I prepared a drawing that showed adjustments to the proposed alignment where the tunnel exceeded these tolerances.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing is the variety of projects that I have encountered. I have worked on large construction projects like the Anacostia River Tunnel, Fort McHenry Tunnel, I-95 bridge approach from Hanover Street to the tunnel entrance, Intercounty Connector, MD 200, and even various NASA projects. I have also completed boundary surveys throughout Maryland, including some surveys that found monument stones with markings indicating that they were set before the Revolutionary War!
What is one thing the public doesn’t know about surveying that they should?
People might mistake us for engineers. We are professional measurers and map makers, but many times we do solve engineering problems that were not anticipated during the design of a project.
When you aren’t at work, what are you most likely doing?
I love to study the Bible, history, and science.
Why is surveying a good career choice?
It was a good choice for me because I was able to provide for and raise my family. Many of the things learned in surveying can also be applied to other careers.
What advice do you have for the next generation of future surveyors?
It’s important to learn the history and the “old” techniques of surveying. This foundation will help you to better understand and use modern devices.