Julie McDonald is the president of Tidemark Land Services and the IRWA Chapter 31 President from 2014-2015. In a conversation with North by Northwest, Julie spoke about her career progression at Tidemark, her work with the IRWA, and the future of the surveying industry.
At the moment, Julie is excited to be obtaining her SR/WA designation, which has been a three year undertaking. She is hoping to receive the designation soon, now that her application for the SR/WA is under review. She is also busy furthering her business and ensuring Tidemark Land Services has a broad base of clients and services.
Involvement with IRWA Chapter 31
She is still very much involved in the IRWA. She now serves as the Nominations and Elections Committee Chair and is also on the Sponsorship Committee, as well. Julie is active within the International Surveying and Engineering Committee. And recently she collaborated with North by Northwest and 2nd Street Productions on a video interview series that featured leaders of the IRWA Chapter 31. Julie featured in one of the interviews and spoke about her involvement in the association. Additionally, earlier this year she did another interview in tandem North by Northwest and the IRWA Chapter 31. There she spoke about her tenure as president of the association. You can read this later installment by visiting the Chapter 31 LinkedIn page.
Getting Started in Surveying
Julie has been in the land surveying field since 1986. Though she says she came about the career a bit unexpectedly. At the time, she had been working with her father servicing pools and replacing swimming pool liners. “As family members often do, we had our regular disagreements on how to do things. My sister called one day and said she had a job for me, was I interested? I told her I didn’t care what it was, but that it would be better than working with our dad. It just happened to be a position with a local survey firm and with a crusty old surveyor,” she laughed. Consequently, Julie fell in love with the work and the history involved in what she does. She has been involved in surveying and engineering ever since. She began Tidemark Land Services in 2016.
During her career, Julie became involved in the IRWA leadership first by being chair of the International Surveying and Engineering Committee within Region 6, which helped her make connections and grow her network. “It was a fantastic avenue for making relationships within the Association, which was ultimately a huge value to me,” Julie said. “I also think it’s a great avenue for creating new relationships with peers within your expertise and anyone involved in the facet of ROW, which can be far outside your normal realm of contacts.”
I think [the IRWA] is a great avenue for creating new relationships with peers within your expertise and anyone involved in the facet of ROW, which can be far outside your normal realm of contacts.Julie McDonald
Connection to North by Northwest Consulting
Amongst those connections was North by Northwest’s president Anthony Alderman whom Julie has worked alongside for several years now in some form of Chapter leadership. Julie values the connection, saying that she appreciates Anthony for being a “hard working, engaged individual who is always willing to help in any way he can. He also surrounds himself with talented people. Everyone I have come in contact with at North by Northwest has had the same welcoming and helpful attitude as he has. That is a rare quality in this business climate,” Julie shared.
Women in Surveying
Julie feels that in many ways her line of work chose her instead of it being the other way around. She believes that everyone that loves what they do for a living is passionate about doing a good job. And it helps when it feels like you have a calling for the work. As for what it’s like being a woman in the industry, which as of 2021 demographics and statistics in the US only had 10% of licensed land surveyors be women? Julie says that that number is much better now than when she got started back in 1986. “Over the last several years, women have started to realize that surveying is a viable profession for them. There is even a Women’s Surveying Summit. It occurs annually and draws women from all over the country to participate,” Julie said.
The Future of the Field
She has high hopes for the future of the field. Just in the last ten years, she says the advances in technology have been incredible for the tools that surveyors use. “I can only imagine what the future looks like, but regardless of that, land is changing hands every day and in order to make sure you are buying or selling exactly what you think you are or building something according to plans, surveyors will be used,” Julie told me.
Julie said the advice she would give to someone else looking to get started in the field would be don’t be allergic to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. And to run faster than your i-man. Julie aims to continue to provide high quality, responsive survey work to her clientele. And a fun fact about Julie is that she can ride a unicycle and juggle, but not at the same time.
If you’re interested in learning more about Julie’s work you can learn more by visiting her company’s website. Or you can contact us at info@nxnwconsulting. If you’re interested in being featured in our newsletter please don’t hesitate to contact us today.