Meet the Team: Blake Schwartz, Survey & Reality Capture Technician
How did you end up working as a Survey & Reality Capture Technician at Datum Tech Solutions? What did you study in college or what past jobs have you held that got you here?
Schwartz: I went to school for finance and economics at Western Washington University. I worked high rise construction in Seattle during the summer and winter breaks. It was here where I really dove into the construction industry. Being out in the field firsthand and seeing how a project is completed as a worker was a very good perspective to have. When I was given the opportunity by Datum Tech Solutions Co-founder, Stan, to enter into the technology side of things I was very intrigued, so I took a chance and jumped head first into a new career path and here I am.
How would you describe your role with Datum Tech Solutions? What’s the most exciting component of your position?
Schwartz: I am very much involved with anything to do with the technology we sell and employ. I am constantly adapting to, and growing with the technology, supporting customers and training clients with this tech. Whether it’s 3D scanning, drones or total stations, I’m generally involved.
How did you learn about Datum Tech Solutions? Were you already working in this industry?
Schwartz: My Brother Bryant and I had a dinner with Stan when he was recruiting Bryant. Bryant and I were working on 2nd and Pike for a local construction company at the time, and he was on the fence about joining the team. What changed his mind and gave me a firsthand experience with how Datum Tech Solutions helps jobsites is Stan had some technology make its way onto our project for some subcontractors and the mistakes and extra cleanup were virtually eliminated. This was very cool, and a year or so later I was on board with Datum helping other job sites just like mine.
How do you see BIM and 3D laser scanning solutions changing the way that industries like architecture, design and engineering perform their work? Have you seen anything particularly inspiring in the last year or so?
Schwartz: Over the last year or so I have been on a lot of projects, and the coolest part is watching the project transform into an efficient machine when it introduces BIM and 3D laser scanning. I think the best part is seeing the smile on the forman’s face when he sees someone from his team complete a task in one day that usually takes three people a week. Witnessing first hand the power of BIM and 3D laser scanning to save companies time and money is inspiring and my favorite aspect of the job.
How do you stay up-to-date in your industry? Any specific magazines, blogs, social accounts that you regularly check in with?
Schwartz: LinkedIn is the best way to stay up to date in my opinion. A lot of the people I am connected with are very prominent in the industry and their posts always give me a firsthand view of what’s going on. There are accounts I follow that are on the cutting edge of technology in this industry, so they are a good source for forecasting what the future holds.
What do you feel is the most misunderstood aspect of your industry? Any common misconceptions?
Schwartz: I feel our industry, specifically the construction industry, is not fully understood regarding the technology it utilizes. People are often surprised when I explain to them the process of using the technology we specialize in. Everyone I talk to seems to think construction is all about using your hands, and not computers!
What are your hopes for the future of your industry? How do you see the industry getting there/evolving?
Schwartz: My hope is that more people in leadership positions will give this technology a chance. This tech is being adopted more and more throughout the industry, but at this point we still find a lot of people a bit skeptical. This technology will work to its fullest potential when it is adopted by everyone. When everyone on the project is using it there will be less clashes, and things will be more streamlined.
Do you have a mentor? Any specific advice that they have given you that you can share?
Schwartz: Yes, Bryant and Stan have been very much mentors to me during my time with Datum Tech Solutions. I came in green. Stan had the patience to mentor me and guide me in honing my skills. He has guided me through the industry, and now I am able to relieve some of the load he carries every day for this company. If I’ve learned anything it’s, “be a sponge.” Take the time to listen and soak in the knowledge when you have the opportunity. The more you know, the more valuable you are in this industry. Technology is always changing and advancing so there is always something to learn.
Any tips for people in your industry on how to navigate working remotely successfully?
Schwartz: Yes, it helps when you have a designated working area where you can really separate yourself from outside interference and get in the zone. Try to plan your day ahead of time so you have a clear path of your daily goals. This will help you stay focused. Also, communication skills are very important. Aspects of communication are lost in the ether when you aren’t talking face-to-face … so focus on getting better at communicating clearly over the phone and through email.
What are some projects to watch as we wrap up 2021? Anything people interested in 3D laser scanning should keep their eyes on?
Schwartz: The drone flight and scan that Bob, Kari and I completed is a cool project. It involves almost all phases of the tech we use including shooting control with the total station, flying the drone over 320 acres (300 feet in the air) and terrestrial scanning completed by Bob and Kari. It will be very cool to see the final combined product.