Tag Archives: Todd Horton

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

If you’re looking for one of the nation’s top land surveying educators, look no further than Parkland College. We recently earned the 2016 NCEES Surveying Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Just 10 universities or technical institutes across the country won this inaugural award, and Parkland was the sole Illinois school earning the distinction.

So what makes our Construction Design Management: Land Surveying program an important choice for those pursuing professional licensure in surveying? I asked 2014 program graduate and Army veteran Jim Harpole, now project manager at JLH Land Surveying Inc. in Plainfield, to share his perspective on that. Here’s what Jim had to say.

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Strong foundation, ideal environment. The Land Surveying AAS program gave me the strong foundation I needed to succeed in my surveying career. Thanks to the wide range of topics and challenging curriculum, I was given an opportunity to experience different survey applications and an insight into the possibilities that a career in land surveying offers. The Parkland College campus is well-suited for the application and practice of land surveying.

Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.
Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.

Real-world experience. I especially benefited from the many off-campus projects that the program undertakes, projects like creating topographic surveys for the Monticello Railway Museum and establishing the photogrammetric control network for Champaign and Piatt counties. We even did the property boundaries for a few Habitat for Humanity projects in Monticello.

Students in the program also work with various types of software platforms and surveying equipment in current use. The experience that Parkland graduates possess greatly improves their marketability and brings recruiters from all over the Great Lakes region.

Reaching out, giving back. With the average age of licensed surveyors somewhere in the upper 50s, the land surveying profession is currently facing a large age gap, due to both the increase in educational requirements and a lack of public outreach to bring in more young people. The Parkland College Land Surveying program continues to play a vital and leading role in Illinois and the surrounding area by reaching out to high school programs; supporting the Boy Scouts of America by hosting a surveying merit badge; and assisting with logistics and judging for Illinois FFA sectional and state agricultural mechanics competitions, hosted annually on the Parkland campus.

Parkland also works with the University of Illinois’ Engineering program, which accepts CIT 255 Engineering Surveying course credit from Parkland as junior/senior engineering credit.

Helpful faculty and staff. I had such a great experience while at Parkland. Every instructor I had during the two years I spent on campus was always approachable and willing to set aside their time to assist me in understanding the coursework. As a student veteran, I was especially pleased with the service I received from the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.

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***For more about the Construction Design and Management: Land Surveying AAS degree and certificates visit parkland.edu/academics/departments/est/construction.aspx***

[Todd Horton is program director for the Construction Design and Management programs at Parkland College.]

The Parkland Shed

Completed sheds in the lab
Completed sheds in the lab

I moved into a new house last year, and it quickly became apparent that I could use a shed.  After asking around about where to get a shed, I decided to purchase one from Parkland College.  Everyone had nothing but good things to say about them.

The sheds are built as part of the CIT 115 course with Greg Walburg. The course is part of Construction Design and Management, Construction Design and Management: Contracting, and the Building Construction and Repair programs.

Sheds under construction
Sheds under construction
For sale sign on Mattis
For sale sign on Mattis
Parkland Shed Installed
Parkland Shed Installed

CIT Instructor: Dustin Stuart graduated with honors from Parkland in May 2014 with a degree in Construction Design and Management: Contracting. He is currently working for a remodeling contractor here in CU and is also a Teacher’s Assistant at Parkland for CIT 115.  I asked him about his experience in the course and if he had any advice for students thinking about going into one of the Construction programs at Parkland College.  This is what he told me:

“It was two years ago this semester that I started my program and CIT 115 was my favorite class that semester. I had previous knowledge of contracting work, but this class helped greatly in turning me into a professional. The most valuable lessons I learned from this class was how to read and interpret construction plans, teamwork, and project management.

In CIT 115, you get to experience home building basics in a comfortable lab environment with plenty of tools at your disposal. This is a dream vacation in comparison to getting your education on the roof of a house on a 90 degree day in July. In addition to the excellent lab space you have experienced teachers and students to help guide you along.

The only advice I could offer new students considering this degree is to just do it! Todd Horton and Greg Walburg are excellent teachers that care a lot about their students and their success. Every time I walked into one of their offices to ask about homework, a project, or even personal advice they always took the time to speak with me. You meet a lot of excellent students as well in this program. I still keep in touch both personally and professionally with most of my class mates. In addition to being a great program, Parkland is an excellent school. They have so many programs in place to help you succeed and a staff and faculty that are top notch.”

Learn about enrolling at Parkland College during the College Open House Friday, November 7.

If you’re interested in getting a shed for your yard, contact Greg Walburg at 373-3784 or gwalburg@parkland.edu.