Oregon Tech is proud to announce that Geomatics Professor and Department Chair Jack Walker has been honored as the 2023 Surveyor of the Year by the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon (PLSO). The award, presented at the PLSO 2024 Conference Jan. 19, recognizes Walker's outstanding contributions to PLSO and the geomatics profession.
“I was surprised and humbled to receive this award,” said Walker. “Oregon Tech Geomatics graduates hold prominent positions in the profession, and I am grateful to have contributed to their career success."
Walker, an Oregon Tech alumnus, began his academic journey studying Civil Engineering, but after taking courses in surveying, he changed majors and has enjoyed more than four decades studying and teaching geomatics.
“All civil engineering students take surveying courses, which is where I became aware that surveying is a profession,” said Walker. “Surveyors get to leave the cubicle and work outdoors using high-tech instruments, process data using advanced software, and get paid to make maps. I changed majors to surveying, and it started a great career path.”
After graduating from Oregon Tech, Walker worked for three years at the Bureau of Land Management and private firms before earning a Master of Science in Geodesy from Purdue University, West Lafayette, and rejoining Oregon Tech in a faculty position in 1984.
Walker now specializes in a wide range of technologies, including high-precision positioning applications, and is a commercial Unmanned Aircraft System pilot. He is also a Registered Professional Land Surveyor in Oregon, which allows him to remain involved in the hands-on aspect of the profession and to consult on projects he finds fun and interesting.
As Oregon Tech’s Geomatics Department Chair, Walker emphasizes the importance of staying current with technology to keep the program modernized. "Geomatics has experienced an incredible technology revolution,” he said. “Acquiring hardware and software, mastering it, and introducing it in the classroom to prepare students for a successful career has been demanding but rewarding. I get paid to constantly learn and use the latest technology—not a bad deal!"
Oregon Department of Transportation Senior Remote Sensing Surveyor Rhonda Dodge, Oregon Tech Geomatics Class of 2016, shared that Walker’s ability to connect with students is an asset to the program.
“No one is more deserving of the Surveyor of the Year award than Jack Walker,” said Dodge. “I was a student of Jack’s 12 years ago and was instantly inspired by his dedication to precision and accuracy in land surveying. He has a way of teaching the most difficult geomatics subjects in easy-to-understand ways and shows passion with every mathematical equation he explains.
“Jack has impacted the Oregon land surveying community for years by keeping the Oregon Tech Geomatics program thriving, leading student teams to successes in the National Society of Professional Surveyors Student Competition, encouraging involvement and volunteering in the PLSO organization, and ensuring the program’s equipment and technology stays up to date with the current industry tools so students are prepared on day one of their careers,” said Dodge.
Oregon Tech congratulates Professor Jack Walker on this well-deserved recognition and looks forward to his continued contributions to the geomatics profession.
“Professor Walker is an asset to Oregon Tech and the field of geomatics,” said Oregon Tech President Nagi Naganathan. “His mentorship of students and fellow faculty has been instrumental in the success of the program and its graduates, and I extend heartfelt congratulations to him for this deserving accomplishment.”
The January/February issue of The Oregon Surveyor magazine will feature an in-depth look at Walker’s experience, providing insights into his long career and dedication to the field.