You get comfortable.  What you do and how you do it has earned you a good living for a number of years and you’ve grown comfortable with the risk involved.  The risk is minimal because you can do what you do blindfolded.  You’re no doubt one of the best at what you do and how you do it.  You are comfortable.  So when did you become “Antiquated”?!  You get all the journals, the tons of advertisements for the latest widgets, the emails offering you incredible financing with no payments for life if you’ll just buy this new widget.  Twenty years ago you read them from cover to cover before the sun set.  You opened every flyer amazed that they thought so much of you they would send anything to you(or present box holder).   You would spend hours trying to convince your wife or partner that whether or not you’ve got work to support it, you need to buy it because you’ll never see financing like that again!   They are practically giving them away!    But now things look a little different.  You’ve had your share of worthless widgets.  You’ve figured out which widgets were earning their keep and which ones were better off owned by someone else.  You’re a little older now, you’re thinking about the end game more, and you’re comfortable.  Now I’m being accused of being “Antiquated”!  Is “Comfortable” now a synonym for “Antiquated”? 

So now you have to look at everything you do, hold it up to the antique mirror and honestly ask yourself if you can improve on your product by upgrading.  Is the latest actually better or just newer?  Is it faster, more accurate or easier to interface with or just more advertising hype in a different color box.  It seems a lot of our potential clients read or watch these claims some vendors make and believe them.  Now they expect us to show up on their projects with these widgets or they feel somehow cheated.  I have had to defend some of our techniques explaining as best I can about tolerances, verification and liability. Sometimes it works and we carry on with our “Antiquated” methods we know so well.  Other times I just have to pull out my widgets and shake it at them!  A day or two of that generally calms them down and we can continue as we know best.  I must admit I seem to be getting more and more comfortable doing that.  I wonder if that is an early sign of “Antiquatedness”?

Later, Stu


You take your car to the mechanic.  You tell him you hear some noise up front and it seems to steer a little funny.  But other than that it runs fine.  Shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix, right?  He calls you that afternoon to let you know that part of the “noise” was coming from the airconditioner compressor, which “at any time could have come a part and thrown a pulley through your radiator”, and another part of the “noise” was coming from your CV joints which are full of sand and he “doesn’t know how you were even able to drive to his shop!”  Total cost $2200!  He’s lying!  Trying to rob me!  I’ll take it to my cousin.  Your cousin charges you $200 bucks, the noise quits for a week or so, then the craziest thing happens, you’re driving along and your radiator just explodes, steam everywhere, you can’t see!  When you tried to swerve away from the oncoming traffic, something broke upfront, your left front wheel collapsed under the car and you flipped end over end, eye witnesses said at least 3 times.  Medical costs, lawsuits, your insurance isn’t quite good enough and then your cousin the accountant tells you, “you owe about $220,000!”

Questions to you:  Do you think for a moment that mechanic hesitated when he broke the news to the car owner, knowing he wasn’t going to like what he heard?  Have you ever written a proposal for a project and the costs continue to accumulate but you know full well you’re right?  You know the recipient of your proposal is not going to like what they see but it is in your estimation an honest bid.  In this day of “change orders”, “extra work” and “work outside of scope” should we intentionally make our proposal as vague as possible, minimizing upfront costs, with the knowledge that low bid wins, no matter what the true cost?

I got a bad habit of being honest and upfront with my potential clients.  I know it has cost us work.  Everybody says they want “an honest bid” until they see it.




It is a gray, rainy day here in the Great Northwest. A good, find something to do inside day! You have to learn to expect these storms if you plan on living here.
The economic storm we as a nation are dealing with now, came not so unexpectedly but has lasted longer and seems deeper than anything I have experienced in my lifetime. Several firms both larger and smaller than our own have closed their doors this past year, unable to survive inthis hostile climate, leaving one to wonder what the future holds for the ones that are left. The constant push downward on rates and wages does not mimic the rise in the cost of doing business. Where is the bottom? Maybe God only knows. Since I have invoked his name let’s take a moment and pray he has made the final bottom out of rubber rather than jagged rocks and broken glass.

If you’re still up and running what do you think the industry is going to look like in 5 or 10 years?
If you’re one of the victims of this storm where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

May this find all of you in good health and spirits…Stu


I began my surveying career in the swamps of SC. Digging for lighter knots and scratchin’ chiggers got you a paycheck. I apprenticed under one of the best Land Surveyors I have met in the 25 years I’ve been in this business, Joel Floyd. He taught basics. Close the box, know the basic sine laws, look for evidence, question errors logically. (more…)


Here at BEST our philosophy towards surveying is to give our clients more than they expect from the everyday run of the mill surveyor. But I think we all have a tendency, after being on numerous projects, to believe we know what our client’s or supervisor’s needs are better than they do. (more…)

Centralia Coal Mine Reclamation Project Centralia, WA


BESTCCLS was hired by Washington Group International to provide Geomorphic Design Staking at the Centralia Coal Mine Reclamation Project. We were provided drainage parameters, such as maximum acreage per alluvial, maximum slope, and drawings with 10’ contours. From this information, we built digital terrain maps that we uploaded in our GPS unit, so that we could set cut/fill stakes for the earth movers. Adjustments to our DTM were constant—due to the need to balance import/export as much as possible. We also designed and staked boundary drainage and verified volumes of stockpiles with less than solid bases.



Mis à part les robes longues et traditionnelles, les robes de mariée courte ont gagné dparticulièrement adapté pour une combinaison avec le mariage. Dans le soleil d’été, afin de mettre sur le mariage glamour, faire un heureux, doux, charmant mariée elle!

Beacon Hill Light Rail Tunnel Project Seattle, WA


To assist in the successful completion of the Beacon Hill Project, Obayashi Corporation hired BESTCCLS. One of our key responsibilities included the control and layout of most of the poured in-place concrete inside and outside of the tunnel. Other daily duties for BESTCCLS on this project were to provide alignment of track, elevation of track sections and station control. Because this project was CAD intensive, our standard operation procedures identified conflicts and discrepancies. In turn, we then worked closely with the engineering staff to find resolution. That intense troubleshooting helped minimize impact to the project’s critical path. It is just one example of our Value Engineering at work.

Microsoft Redmond Campus Redmond, WA


When the workload on the Microsoft Redmond Campus Project became less than necessary to warrant full-time staff, MA Mortenson chose to hire BESTCCLS to support their direct hire surveyors. They trusted the balance of the project with us for completion. In addition to utilizing our conventional survey techniques, we employed Imaging/Scanning equipment for as-built shear walls on Bldg. 96. BESTCCLS was able to determine the relative deviation from plan of walls 70 feet high without leaving the ground. This, and the fact that we completed the scanning of 8 walls on a 1’ grid in 9 hours, is a strong example of the benefits made available by using this equipment. It reduced costs for our customers and curtailed potential hazardous exposure to our employees.

Consolidated Rental Car Facility Sea-Tac, WA


Currently, BESTCCLS is working with Turner Construction Company to build one of the largest rental car facilities in the United States. The physical size of this site was an ideal opportunity for the use of our GPS/RTK capabilities during the early civil stages. Then, once the project was out of the ground, BESTCCLS used conventional techniques and equipment to ensure the best work. Also, BESTCCLS supports the various crafts and subcontractors with grid control and layout. Our CAD Team has identified scores of potential conflicts, authored numerous RFI’s, and shared their knowledge and professional points of view directly with the owner’s engineering staff.


Mis à part les robes longues et traditionnelles, les robes de mariée courte ont gagné dparticulièrement adapté pour une combinaison avec le mariage. Dans le soleil d’été, afin de mettre sur le mariage glamour, faire un heureux, doux, charmant mariée elle!