About SurveyScience: For the last five years, SurveyScience was the literal definition of a small business. Owner Jim Nelson was the one-man force behind this surveying and mapping company, providing boundary surveys, mapping, legal descriptions, land subdivision and construction staking services in and around the Duluth – Superior area. As his business started to grow however, Nelson decided he needed an extra set of hands. That’s how Noah Farr came to work for him, growing the SurveyScience employee count from one to two.

A few years ago, Farr hired Nelson to survey and map a driveway easement and he assisted Nelson with the project. Farr enjoyed the experience so much that it inspired him to go back to school at Lake Superior College to study civil engineering technology. This April, Nelson hired Farr again, this time as a Land Survey Technician Intern through the SciTech Internship Program.

“I think it’s a great program,” Nelson said. “Noah is the first intern I’ve ever had and without [SciTech] and the $2,500 incentive, I likely would not have hired an intern.”

Designed to help small business owners like Nelson, the SciTech Program provides employers with a one-to-one wage match, reimbursing them for half of what they pay their interns (up to $2,500 per student hired through the program). Funded by the state, SciTech enables small companies to hire the help they need and offer competitive pay.

About the intern: As a land survey technician, Farr spent a lot of time working in the field. He assisted with the property surveys as an instrument operator and learned to use a robotic total station, worked as a data collector, drafted GPS and CAD maps and took field notes. He also worked on a variety of surveys, from city lots and construction staking to subdividing a 20 acre wooded parcel and marking boundary lines for logging.

Like many land surveyors, the chance to work outdoors is a big draw for Farr. “Working in the woods is ideal,” Farr said. “It’s nice to be outside and not in a cubical every day.”

Apart from gaining hands-on experience in his industry, Farr’s internship also helped prepare him for the fall semester. “I’ll have a leg up in my classes thanks to this,” Farr reflected.

In the end it was a win-win for both the intern and employer. Farr improved his surveying abilities and Nelson developed his leadership skills, learning how to clearly communicate tasks and expectations.

“Noah has really showed his interest in this profession,” Nelson said. “I was glad to have him.”

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