Ambassador Spotlight ‘Ryan Swingley’

Our super awesome Brand Ambassador Ryan Swingley from Indiana tells all in this blog: 

Where did you study? I did my Land Surveying studies at Vincennes University and graduated in 1999.  I have maintained a close relationship with the university through out my careers and now I am an adjunct instructor there who teaches Remote Sensing for Land Surveyors.  

What are the requirements to be a surveyor in your area? When I achieve my license in 2005, I was required to have 27 credit hours in college Land Surveying courses, 14 credit hours of college level math including Calculus, and 14 credit hours of college level science including Physics. I had to work under the direct supervision of a licensed Land Surveyor for 7 years and pass two national exams and one state specific exam.  

How did you get into surveying? Since I was a little kid I loved to draw.  I had dreamed of being an Architect as a young child and in my teen years I had decided to be a mechanical engineer.  I exceled in drafting classes in high school and I was able to get a job as a construction manager for a company that did excavation and paving while I was in school.  During my work I would calculate dirt quantities from plans from Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors so this got me interested in this industry.  I started college in a Civil Engineering program but switched to Land Surveying after a semester because I like the hands on and outdoor activities.  

If you were not a surveyor, what would you do? I am a pretty good cook so I always thought I would be a chef.  I am also a pretty big fellow and I have been told I can be intimidating so being a police officer was always on my radar as well.  After seeing both of those careers from a far and seeing the hardships they go through, I am glad I am a Land Surveyor.

How long have you been in the industry?  I got my first land surveying job the summer of 1997 and worked near full time while going to school so I have been doing this for 23 years.  

Are you part of any associations or organisations you would like us to mention?  I am currently a Board of Director for the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ISPLS) and have been the president in the past.  My time with ISPLS has been very rewarding and has allowed me to help to make many positive contributions to the Indiana Land Surveying community.

Why do you want to be a GKiS Brand Ambassador? I have been working for many years to attract youth to this profession.  I helped to get the Boy Scouts Surveying Merit Badge program off the ground in Indiana.  GKiS is just a great tool to give ISPLS other avenues to teach children about this great profession.  The average age of a licensed Land Surveyor in Indiana is 56 years old so we need youth to keep this profession alive.

Why is it important for kids to know about surveying and the wider geospatial industry? I think kids all know the importance of teachers, doctors, police officers, and construction workers but often do not know what a Land Surveyor does.  I often explain to kids that a Land Surveyor had involvement in every man made physical feature on the earth.  From roads to schools a Land Surveyor was there.  This is important to let kids know all of the career opportunities there are but someday, those that do not become Land Surveyor may someday be consumers of land surveying products so the sooner we can shed a positive light on the services rendered by Land Surveyor the brighter our future will be.

What are you going to do as an ambassador for GKiS? We (ISPLS) have been going to as many career days as we can.  Before COVID 19 I estimate that we had spoke to 700 students about a career in Land Surveying.  When things get back to normal we will continue that mission but in the mean time we are seeking online opportunities to get in front of students.

What are your hobbies? I run a office that focuses on mobile LiDAR, I am an adjunct instructor at Vincennes University, I am a board member of ISPLS, I am the president of our Home Owners Association, I am instructor in 4h Shooting Sports, and I am a husband and father of four kids so I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies.  When I find some rare free time, I enjoy a fine bourbon with friends, fly fishing and shooting skeet.

If you/your company had a GKiS character, what would it be?  ISPLS has a character named Bengal Cat.  He was created to honor a long time ISPLS board member, Don Bengel who had passed away.

What poster or resource would you like to see next from GKiS?  The foundation of all things that are built in this world is the land.  The land is defined by boundaries.  A boundary survey is the one land surveying product that the general public is mostly likely to purchase in their lifetime and boundary surveys are often very misunderstood by those outside the profession.  Often when I am talking to kids I also have an opportunity to educate parents about the boundary survey process.  I would like to see a poster dedicated to boundary surveying to highlight the legal aspects of this profession.