J.H. (John) Holmlund

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By Connie Petersen, on the occasion of the presentation of Honorary Life Membership to John Holmlund, 2013

Council may award honorary life membership to any Alberta Land Surveyor or retired member who has rendered signal service to the Association and the betterment of society. This year, Council decided to present an honorary life membership to one very deserving candidate. Council has bestowed honorary life membership on John Holmlund.

John was born in Cranbrook, BC in 1948 and graduated from SAIT in 1971. He received his ALS commission in 1975 and his SLS in 1986. He was auditor of our Association in 1984-1985 and served as member of Council from 1985 to 1987. John was elected vice-president in 1994 and served as our president in 1995-1996. Over the years, he has served on numerous ALSA committees as well as numerous other geomatics committees. John was the Alberta director to the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors for three years, during which he served on the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) Committee. He was president of the Canadian Institute of Geomatics in 2002. He also served on the University of Calgary Advisory Committee for three years and kept the cadastral program at the University of Calgary moving forward through the John Holmlund Chair in Land Tenure and Cadastral Systems.

In spite of a busy volunteer life, he somehow managed to start a little venture called Focus. I believe we have a few employees from Focus here in the room today.

In 2009, the University of Calgary conferred a honourary Doctor of Laws degree on John Holmlund to recognize his contribution to business in Alberta.

On September 4, 2012, after 37 years as an Alberta Land Surveyor and a tireless advocate for the land surveying profession, John hung up his active ALS commission and went on the retired list. I can think of no better way of recognizing someone who has meant so much to the land surveying profession here in Alberta and perhaps across Canada as recognizing John Holmlund as the Association’s newest honorary life member.


Mr. Holmlund addressed the luncheon as follows:

I’d like to begin by congratulating all those members who received their 25-year pin, particularly those that received their 50-year pin, those ones that are still involved after 60 years—that is absolutely amazing—and also congratulations to Ross.

I’d also like to say thank you to Monroe Kinloch for the letter that he wrote to the Association suggesting that you get some advance notice when you are going to get an award at an ALSA event. It gives you a bit of time to prepare, I think that’s a good thing. Even though I appear to be unprepared, because I’m a little nervous and I didn’t think I’d be overwhelmed by this because I had some time, but I am.

When President Connie called me a few weeks ago when Jane and I were down in the Palm Springs area, she introduced herself on the phone and what was going through my mind was, why would the president be calling me? What have I done wrong and how bad was it? All this was flipping through my mind in that few seconds before she told me why she called. After she told me what the call was about, I was so surprised and overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to say on the phone.

I don’t think I was rude and, after hanging up the phone, I sat there and asked myself, what does this mean? I went to the computer and looked up what honorary life membership was and then I went and looked through the list of honorary life members and reflected on everybody that was on the list. I then said to Jane, I think this means two things. First, it means that as all the members on the list, I’ve done something that people recognize and think I’ve made a contribution that is significant. That is very nice and I thank people for that. Second, and I don’t mean disrespect, it means you are getting old. I guess that’s not a good thing but it’s better than the alternative.

Getting notice beforehand, allows you to have some people that are important in your life here at the event. I have my family here; my wife Jane, my son Erik and his wife Ashley, my daughter Erin and her husband Sheldon are here from Lloydminster. All six grandkids are here but not in the room today.

I would really like to thank the Association and Council for bestowing this membership upon me. It is something that is very important to me, very significant and something I will absolutely cherish for the rest of my life.

Over the years, as many people in the room have been, I have been recognized on a few occasions but, I’ll tell you, this is right at the top of the list—receiving honorary life membership from the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association. I thank you all and please have a nice enjoyable day.