People, program & culture | 27 November 2022

Celebrating Chris Small’s 15 years at Millar Merrigan

1. How did you start working at MM?

Cold call for work. With no experience in the industry… my interview with Peter Fhay (Podge) & Brad Terjesen was mostly them discussing with each other what gear they did and didn’t have that I would need.

2. What was your first position at MM and what do you do now?

Started as a Survey Assistant, then Survey Technician for around 10 years. Last 5 years as the Surveying Co-ordinator. And these last 6 months as the Survey Manager.

3. What do you like most about working for MM?

Hands down – the people at MM, so many good laughs and times shared with the people past and present. Over the years I’ve really enjoyed working with a range of different people, but the friendly, supportive atmosphere makes the biggest impact.

4. What has been your biggest ‘lesson learned’ in the past 15 years?

Confidence. Although something I feel I’m still learning, and as some say, you never stop. Compared to the timid 21 year old who started, having the confidence to speak up in a meeting or try something new. I mostly attribute my experience working to learning to have more confidence.

5. What advice would you give someone just starting out at MM?

Be open and honest about what your goals and ambitions are. It’s surprising what can happen when that is known.

6. What advice would you give any Surveyor when starting a career in Land Development?

Attention to detail is key – obviously spatial awareness, excellent communication, being comfortable with technology, but taking the time to ensure all the checks and balances are there and the field cards are neat and complete. Anyone can measure, a surveyor has confirmation – 3 points is a datum.

7. What do you see as your biggest career accomplishment since joining the company?

Progressing to the position of department manager. Always dreamed of it and am very grateful.

8. What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in the past 15 years?

Having a happy family. My wife and daughter are the highlight of every day.

9. What is one thing you wish you knew before working here?

Hmm, the crypto boom was coming? Probably from the personality types training… I’ve been able to develop this since starting, as leaders have completed DiSC behaviour training to have awareness to other people’s opinion, view, approach. Others perspective can see things you are blind to.

10. In what ways has Millar Merrigan changed over the past decade?

I’ve seen quite a few people come and go over time and that subtly changes MM every time. Ultimately MM is the people who work here more than anything else.

11. What is your biggest hope for the next decade at Millar Merrigan? How do you expect it to grow?

My hope always is for a strong stable business giving employees, clients, and the greater community the base to achieve their goals.

12. How has Surveying changed in your time since starting?

Technology plays quite a large role in surveying. Though surveying is quite ‘traditional’ in many ways, dealing with old crown allotments, etc. it is the technology available that has made the biggest changes. When I started we had total stations with no internal data recorder… every observation had to written down by hand. These days we have GPS that work almost anywhere, are normally around 2cm accurate, and the pole can be tilted (that one geeks me out!).

13. Why did you choose to become a surveyor?

I first heard about land surveying at a careers evening at Eastland while I was in high school and unsure of what direction to head in. It appealed as a good mix of a few of my interests. Combining the outdoors, and technology, with a math/science orientation.

14. What does being a Survey Manager mean to you?

I am very proud of both the team I am a part of and my own career. We provide excellent surveying work of the highest quality and I hold my head high because of it. And getting to do so with people I enjoy the company of is what elevates from ‘just a job’.

15. How would you summarise your time at Millar Merrigan over the 15 years in 15 words?

Fifteen?! My ongoing career has been life shaping, and an opportunity I will never regret.

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