As an engineering student at Ventura College, Joey Waltz didn’t like the idea of working indoors. Fortunately, when a professor mentioned surveying as a career option during a civil engineering lecture, Waltz was paying attention.
“It sounded like a good major for me because it combines working outdoors with the technical challenges of engineering,” said Waltz.
The 27-year-old Ventura resident quickly transferred to College of the Canyons the next semester and enrolled in the college’s new land surveying program.
“I enjoyed the field exercises of the program the most,” said Waltz. “We got a ton of hands-on time with the instruments and I learned a lot from them.”
Friday night, Waltz was the first to graduate from the program with an associate of science degree.
“It feels great to be the program’s first graduate,” said Waltz, who has noticed the lack of land surveying programs.
“There are only two four-year schools that offer a bachelor’s degree and not very many junior colleges that offer a certificate or associate’s degree. The program at COC is needed in this industry, and I hope that I am the first of many graduates.”
The land surveying program, which started in the fall semester of 2006, was created in response to the community’s need for trained professionals necessary to catch up with growth in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“The program serves a need for the industry in our community and the students and faculty are passionate about the program and its success,” said Audrey Green, associate vice-president of academic affairs.
“I am thrilled to have our first graduate from the Land Surveying program,” added Green. “It is highly unusual to have a graduate within two years of a new program being launched.”
Waltz flourished in the program under the guidance of his two mentors and instructors Ron Koester and Regina Blasberg, chair of the surveying program.
“They both helped instill in me a deep appreciation for the history and breadth of the career,” said Waltz.
“Joey was a great student and a delight to have in class,” said Blasberg. “He is intelligent, inquisitive, innovative and motivated. Without a doubt, he will have a very fulfilling and successful career as a surveyor.”
Waltz—who currently works for the City of Ventura as a survey crew chainman—plans to find a full-time job with a surveying firm.
“I have sent out my resume to a few companies and have had multiple interviews already,” he said.
Land surveyors measure and record property boundaries and the topography of the land covered by construction and engineering projects. Surveys are used to establish legal boundaries, prepare maps and exhibits, and are the basis for written descriptions of land tracts that satisfy legal requirements. Surveyors use mathematical reasoning ability to visualize objects, measure distances, sizes, and other abstract forms. They must be precise and accurate in their work because mistakes can be costly.
For more information about the land surveying program, visit the college’s website at www.canyons.edu.