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Meet MJ's Construction Stakeout Manager - Q&A with Lee Green, PLS

Lee Green, PLS

As MJ's survey group sees growth and expansion, we'd like to introduce Lee (Lionel) Green, PLS, Construction Stakeout Manager. MJ has teamed with Lee to expand our central and western New York survey presence and capabilities.

Lee is a central New York Native and veteran of the survey profession. He gives us some insight into how surveying has evolved and how important it is to embrace the roots of traditional survey practices.

Q: What made you join the surveying profession?

While in high school, my guidance counselor helped me put my interests together to decide where to look at the upcoming career fair. At the time, my math came easy for me. I loved the outdoors (hunting, fishing, trapping) and was interested in mechanical drafting. After that, I enrolled in hand drafting classes, CADkey, and worked summers with a land surveyor in Saratoga Springs, Chester Graminski PLS, who specialized in tracks (running & horse) for topo and layout. We worked on the Saratoga Raceway, Harness Track & Flat Track, Shenendehowa High School track, New Hartford running track, SUNY Albany, and other high school/college track layouts during the following summers.

Q: How long have you been in the surveying profession?

Since the summer of 1988.

Q: Being our in-house drone and construction stakeout guru, what technologies have you seen evolve over the years that have been helpful to the profession with both those specialties?

During college, I tutored trigonometry, calculus, and basic programming. At first, I was unsure if I knew enough about the subject to answer the questions that would be asked. I quickly learned through teaching you understand the topic even more. The student's questions forced me to look at the subject from a different perspective and pushed me to learn more. My motto has always been to “make technology work for me, not me working for technology.” I find it is well worth the time to take a step backward to learn a routine or procedure that would streamline the process, which would help me take a giant leap forward in production while maintaining accuracy in my work. When I download a new software version, I take the time to review every icon and every menu to make a mental note of what each tool can do. I enjoy attending technical trade shows and professional conferences to learn from my colleagues.

Q: What is your favorite technology to use in your day-to-day operations in the field?

It is difficult to choose just one as I feel privileged to have started my surveying career using steel tapes, transits, dumpy levels, and stadia, along with hand drafting, including shadow lettering, while advancing into modern times with GNSS, Robotics, Drones, and Scanning. This experience has given me a great respect for the advances in surveying tools and procedures. Working at engineering and surveying firms has given me unique opportunities to follow projects through the complete development process. One unique opportunity, in particular, was taking a single project through boundary, topo, right of way mapping, highway acquisition mapping, creating existing and design surface models, cross sections, and profiles, working in engineering with takeoffs, preparing the model for use with 3d machine guidance systems, layout of roads, utility, structures, setting of highway monuments, then finishing with as-built mapping. This opportunity helped me to understand how each task relates to the entire process. I took advantage of the technology to make the deliverables of the past more useful while developing efficient and accurate procedures.

Q: What is the most interesting project(s) you've had the opportunity to work on?

Panama Canal Rendering Alternatives

Boyabat Hydroelectric Dam, Panama Canal, Turkey - The project included creating DTMs for alluvium excavation, rock excavation, and concrete volumes exceeding 2.3 million cubic meters. The wireframe model was rendered to create quick vision and video simulations of the finished dam in relationship to existing fault lines.

Other notable projects included:

  • Wolfspeed Nano Center

  • Kirkland Lake Gold Mine in Ontario, Canada

  • Universal Studios - Volcano Bay in Orlando, FL

Q: Being a generational family in the profession, and now with having your son, Gavin, on the MJ team, what are you most excited about for the future of the industry and the opportunity to watch your son follow in your footsteps?

Gavin Green in the field at three years old
Gavin Green in the field at three years old

I am excited to teach the next generation. Technology is only as accurate as the individual's knowledge of the process. Not only can technology help make larger projects go faster, but an ounce of technology can also create headaches if not used correctly.

Land surveying and construction layout are rapidly becoming a lost art among the younger generations. We must educate future students and our clients more about what surveyors can do to help them.

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