Surveying Success – Malcolm’s Career Path Story

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Malcolm started with us in 2005, when he was 17, directly from Lynfield College.  While he didn’t plan on becoming a surveyor he has excelled and has never looked back.

Malcolm said “I had thought I’d like to be an architect, and then maybe an engineer like my father, but I tried surveying because a friend was a surveyor – and I’ve loved it.  I was accepted into the Unitec National Diploma in Surveying course so I decided to skip 7th form and start straight away.  During my first few months the survey director of what was then BCL, Mark Finlayson, rang me and offered me a part time surveying assistant’s role that fitted in with my studying and helped me earn whilst learning both at Unitec and on-the-job.”

Mark Finlayson said “Malcolm started off part-time on smaller jobs and then as he learnt the role he took on more responsibility and more hours.  After eighteen months he was promoted to running a surveying field team.  At that point Malcolm started working full time for us, building up his field experience on a variety of jobs, working on different types of projects and learning skills from our experienced surveyors in-house.  We have always enjoyed Malcolm’s can-do attitude, he is a real asset to our team with his positivity and his commitment and focus on the job-in-hand.”

Malcolm said “I learnt everything I’ve needed in my surveying career whilst at Envivo, I’m a practical learner and I far prefer to work on real-life projects with a qualified mentor.  I’m 100% sure that this suits me better than spending my time at university.”

The next step in Malcolm’s career wasn’t planned – or even particularly desirable.  His love of adventurous sports had a downside as he ended up with numerous broken bones and the major problem was that it is impossible to do surveying field work in a cast.  Mark offered Malcolm roles in the office, learning all about the calculations, how to process topographical survey data, the different types of survey software and how to use 12D.  This fast-tracked Malcolm’s career path and opened up new opportunities for learning more about every aspect of surveying.

At the same time BCL Surveying was on a huge growth surge, with the merge with MPC Planning to become Envivo and a rapid increase in projects and highly skilled staff.  The company changed rapidly with the major rebranding, new cultures and complementary skills.

Malcolm added “the office work gave me a whole new perspective on surveying, it opened my eyes to the way I thought out in the field and 12D software was a revelation.  My new knowledge helped me enjoy the field work more and I could see how all the data meshed to create the data sets.  Envivo retained the friendly, supportive culture and became bigger and better.  There was a wider range of surveying work, more to learn, new fields and that is fantastic for me – with all the new types of work it really opened up our job sets and gives us all a huge variety.  I love that, I don’t get bored, I have yet to get bored.  It has been a learning curve and a half as I have taken every opportunity to broaden my office skills, learn different types of calcs, run large jobs for key clients and test new equipment.”

The next opportunity for Malcolm came along when Envivo decided to launch a 3D Laser scanning service.  This was very new technology at the time, so it was a leap into the great unknown.  There was plenty of trial and error.  A small team was formed to focus on creating new processes, systems and learning the scanning equipment.  Malcolm added “it was very exciting to be involved with this cutting-edge technology, it was so new and different and allowed us to try innovative and interesting work for a variety of different clients. The hardest thing to get my head around 3d laser scanning was the change in how I needed to think about sites spatially.  There were challenges in the 3D realm, there is so much to take in all at once and we were also figuring out ways of handling the huge amount of data.  There is unquestionably a place for traditional surveying methods and there are sites that are ideal for 3D laser scanning – particularly those with older, non-uniform or non-level buildings. Scanning is definitely the way of the future, it has been amazing to move forward into new technology, upskill and learn new methodologies, new software and work with different technologically-savvy clients.

“We have come a long way from introducing the service.  It’s now more affordable, more accessible as the software is universally available so it has become a cost efficient tool.  My favourite projects have been Auckland Grammar School, the CRL Auckland surveys and pretty much all the laser scanning work.”

Malcolm has been promoted again, this time to Survey Team Supervisor.  He is honing his office skills, training our new surveyors, building up the team’s abilities, contributing to the Health & Safety committee and ensuring everything happens smoothly and everyone has the resources needed to get the job done.

Malcolm added “Envivo has grown from a tiny villa in Mount Eden with a handful of surveyors to a huge consultancy firm in professional offices with over 90 staff and we now take on the big projects.  The great thing is that the company still has the friendly team vibe, the directors are involved in many projects and everyone has been great to work with, providing excellent role models and mentors.  I love my job, the people I work with, the variety and range of projects keeps me on my toes and I see a bright future here.”

Malcolm would recommend surveying as a career if you:

  • Love working outdoors combined with working on spatial computer software
  • Love technology, interesting equipment
  • Like to work with a wide range of people, with all sorts of different skills, cultures and personalities
  • Like variety in your week and a huge range of work
  • Are keen to be a life-long learner

“Another thing I’ve always loved about my job is all the amazing places all over New Zealand I’ve managed to see because of my job. From beautiful properties on Waiheke Island, remote and rugged locations on Great barrier island, picturesque ports all around the country to wild and windy locations on west coast.  What a great way to see my own country!”

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