Q&A with James
Why did you set up Survey Solutions?
Survey Solutions originally was the in-house surveying arm of a Consulting Engineers called TA Millards. I felt there was a real gap in the market for a company and I managed to convince Terry Millard to have this as part of his business. After a few years of success, I decided to complete a management buy-out of Survey Solutions rather than expand this under the Millards name. I always wanted to own my own survey company, and this seemed the best way to start it off. Almost 20 years on and we are still going strong.
What is the best survey you have ever worked on?
Way before I set up Survey Solutions, I worked for Suffolk County Council as an in-house surveyor and have great memories of a project for the Haverhill Bypass. I was working on the project for about three months and remember this was all pre-GPS technology. We got to carry out some good old-fashioned traversing and putting instruments onto pillars of the church steeple to get the data we needed.
Why is surveying a great career choice?
Loads of reasons. Working outdoors across many different projects and no two projects are ever the same. The industry perhaps does not get the profile it deserves but we use great technology which continues to evolve. From my early days at Wimpey Homes, who would have thought the new ways of working that are now possible like drones, laser scanning etc.
Describe Survey Solutions in three words
I am going to cheat and add a word. Great people – great projects! It really is as simple as that. When I set up Survey Solutions, I made a promise to myself that I would always try to give our team good quality equipment to do the best possible survey for our clients. On top of this, make sure we diversify into as many different areas of surveying as we can to give our clients choice which I think is a major reason we enjoy such strong working partnerships with them.
Why is Survey Solutions a great place to work?
The people make our business what it is. We have a great team across all of our offices, and I think this is a major reason people stay working for us for such a long time. Even as recently as the Covid-19 pandemic I have been truly impressed with how the whole business has handled this incredibly difficult situation.
An interesting fact about me is…
I used to be a Gymnast and back in the day was ranked 6th in the UK for my age group. Unfortunately, after many injuries and bone breaks including a cracked bone in my neck, I decided surveying may be a slightly safer career!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Being outside, especially long-distance walking.