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A Day in the Life of a Surveyor at Barker Ryan Stewart: Russell Baker

At Barker Ryan Stewart, we’re proud to have a highly motivated and passionate team that works together to deliver infrastructure and create better outcomes for our communities.

In our ‘day in the life of’ blog series, we aim to showcase the work of our talented team and help you get to know the faces behind our projects a little bit better. This month we sat down with Russell, one of our Surveyors, to chat a bit more about the journey that led him to becoming a Surveyor, and what he enjoys most about being part of Barker Ryan Stewart’s survey team.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a Surveyor.

After leaving school I found myself in a mix of jobs ranging from hospitality, metal roofing, courier driving and at one point I was even on the dole. In my mid-twenties I decided to go to Uni – before I actually chose a degree. After a quick flick through an old careers book I chose surveying, not really sure of what that was or where that career would take me. Fast forward 17 years and now I am on my way (ever so slowly) to becoming a Registered Surveyor. After a few years of fly in fly out niche surveying roles including seismic exploration which took me all over Australia, small details in the Queensland gas fields, and even a brief stint in an open cut coal mine, I settled in at my hometown, had a family, and started in land surveying. I took a brief detour where I thought I wanted a career change and completed a teaching degree but upon completion I thought where do you want to be? In a classroom of wild kids or adventuring in the outdoors – the choice was easy.

Walk us through a typical day in your working life. How do you usually start your workday and what are the most enjoyable parts of your day?

A typical day for me starts with a brief catch up with our survey team in the office discussing current and upcoming jobs. Then it’s time to head out into the countryside and either treasure hunt for survey marks or measure anything from sewer depths to ridgelines of multimillion dollar mansions. Some days we could be up to our necks in swamp drains and others we could be taking in panoramic views of the entire Northern Rivers. The most enjoyable part of my day is adventuring to places I never even knew existed.

What’s it like being part of Barker Ryan Stewart’s survey team? Are there any standout projects that you’re currently working on?

I would be happy to do almost any job if the people I work with and spend every day with are enjoyable to be around. To me that is the most important part of any career, and I am so grateful to have a team around me who are just great people. No standout projects as most jobs are over a few days after they start but that’s what I love about it – each job and each day brings something new.

What’s been the most memorable aspect of working at Barker Ryan Stewart so far?

Definitely the conference. A trip to Sydney to sail around on the harbour mixed in with some good food and laughs was something we would never have done before we amalgamated with Barker Ryan Stewart.

Looking back at your career, is there anything that’s surprised you about being a Surveyor?

I wasn’t quite sure what area of surveying I wanted to pursue but I never thought it would be land surveying, I thought maybe in the mines or large-scale engineering projects. I was told that with a surveying degree under my belt I could work anywhere in the world and that’s what I expected to do. However, I now find myself with a job right on the doorstep of where I grew up that allows me to raise my kids in the part of the world that I love, and I couldn’t be happier.

Finally, what advice do you have for anyone interested in becoming a Surveyor?

Cancel your gym membership, this job will have you walking for days. Surveying is like a treasure hunt with puzzles thrown in to keep you on your toes.

Want to get to know our team a bit better?

Check out our other ‘day in the life of’ blogs to learn more about our team.

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