A.W. (Al) Nelson

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Al Nelson, ALS
Known for ALSA Director of Practice Review (1992-1997), Professional Recognition Award (1998), ALSA President (2004)

By David McWilliam, on the occasion of the presentation of the Professional Recognition Award to Al Nelson, 1998

This award is not given lightly. After I am done today, this individual will stand among the likes of Bill Wolley-Dod, Army MacCrimmon, Norm Mattson, Syd Loeppky, Ken Allred, and Bob Fulton, to mention a few recipients of this award since its inception in 1978.

I will start off by giving a brief history of this land surveyor. He was born July 29, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from Beusejour Collegiate High School in 1965 and from the Manitoba Institute of Technology in 1970.

He went directly into articles with J.A. Chute, MLS on September 15, 1970 where he remained for two years. Then sometime in 1972, Manitoba experienced a dramatic loss when he moved out to Alberta and on December 30, 1974, he entered into articles under E.I. Carefoot, ALS.

On February 24, 1975, he transferred his articles to Norm Mattson, ALS. On November 4, 1975, he transferred to J.W. Christenson, ALS where he remained until the completion of his articles on December 30, 1976. On January 7, 1977, this Association added Alberta Land Surveyor #415 onto its roster.

I would also like to give a brief employment history of this individual, as I believe there are others that contribute to what a land surveyor becomes:

From 1965 to 1972, he worked for the Manitoba Department of Highways doing engineering design and construction surveys and legal surveys. He and his wife Nancy, moved to Alberta and from 1972 to 1975 he worked at Coordinate Surveys Ltd. in Edmonton doing legal, engineering, control, and topographical surveys. From 1975 to 1977, he was employed by Walker, Newby and Associates in Edmonton, supervising field staff and doing project control. In 1977, he incorporated Meridian Surveys Ltd. which, on October 27, 1982, became surveyor's corporation P007. In 1986, the survey corporation was reworked and Noralta Meridian Consulting Group Ltd. became survey corporation P133. In 1992, he was employed by Reid Crowther Surveys Ltd. as manager.

In 1993, he took the position of Director of Practice Review with the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association where he remained until 1997, at which time he left to join Focus Surveys Ltd.

During his career as an Alberta Land Surveyor and an owner of a corporation, he also found time to contribute on the Legislation Committee, Professional Development Committee, Vision 2000, Systematic Practice Review Evaluation Team, Getting It Right seminars, and to serve on Council from 1992 until becoming Director of Practice Review. I also know he served on the Kananaskis Country Advisory Board, and I believe even dabbled in the political arena a little.

The Systematic Practice Review Program is likely his largest contribution to this Association. He was the driving force in the implementation and development of the program. I served on the Practice Review Board throughout this time period and I saw him work tirelessly even through some very difficult family times. At times I was amazed at the amount of work he managed to complete. Throughout this period, I saw a man who was always fair and just, even through some very difficult reviews. He went above and beyond what would have normally been expected of an employee in this position.

On the occasion of his nomination for president, 2004

  • Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Graduate of the Manitoba Institute of Technology—1969.
  • Articled to J.A. Chute, MLS, E.I. Carefoot, ALS, N.R. Mattson, ALS and J.W. Christenson, ALS.
  • Received ALS Commission in 1977.
  • President and General Manager of Meridian Surveys Ltd.—1977-1986.
  • Co-owner of Noralta Meridian Consulting Group Inc. — 1986-1992.
  • Employed with Reid Crowther—1992-1993.
  • Served on Legislation, Expanded Profession, Continuing Professional Development Program Subcommittee, Vision 2000, Professional Development, Registration committees and Council.
  • Director of Practice Review at the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association—1993-1997.
  • Former member, Kananaskis Country Citizen’s Advisory Committee, 1997-2002.
  • Presently employed by Stewart, Weir & Co. Ltd.