L.M. (Larry) Pals

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By John Holmlund on the occasion of the presentation of the Professional Recognition Award, 2008

It is a real pleasure to be here today to present the Professional Recognition Award. This award is presented for outstanding contribution or service to the profession of surveying. Persons who have obtained high levels of office, who have obtained national or international recognition, who have developed new systems or methods, or have otherwise contributed to the profession of surveying.

Today’s recipient has shown a great passion for the profession of land surveying. His service to the Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association is unmatched by most of his colleagues. He has served on Council for three terms (1984-1986, 1993-1995 and 1995-1997). He served as vice president, president and past president (1999-2002) and then served as Secretary/Treasurer and CCLS Director (2004-2007). He has also served on numerous committees over the years going right back to when he was an articled student in the early 70s.

Larry Pals articled under L.R. Newby, ALS and received his Alberta Land Surveyor’s commission in 1976. Throughout his career, Larry has worked enthusiastically for the betterment of our profession.

Larry was born in 1951 in Castor, Alberta. He grew up six miles south of Castor on a large mixed farm that was homesteaded by his Dutch grandparents. As the oldest son of seven children, Larry was instrumental in the success of his parents’ dairy operation. In fact, when he left the farm to attend SAIT, they had to invest in milking machines. As a youngster, Larry enjoyed 4H and also became a Queen Scout.

It was at SAIT in the fall of 1969 that I first met Larry. When we weren’t at H block (the Highlander Hotel) bending our elbows we could actually be found doing homework in the study hall. After graduating from SAIT, Larry worked for the Department of Highways doing surveys in south central Alberta and in the summer of 1972, he met Judy at a dance in Halkirk. They were married in 1974.

Over the next few years, Larry and Judy were blessed with three sons, Travis, Ryan and Colin. Larry, being a dedicated father and great community supporter, got involved in all aspects of the boys’ lives. He was a Beaver and Cub leader for ten years with the 202 LaPerle Scouting Group. He coached or managed his boys’ hockey teams for many years, served as the District Director and was President of the Knights of Columbus Hockey Association from 1995 to 1999. When his boys got into roller hockey, of course, so did Larry. He was coach, team manager and a Director of Edmonton Inline Hockey from 1996 to 2003.

Larry and his family loved the outdoors. About ten years ago, they cleared a lot and built a cabin at Pigeon Lake. Larry loves the water and enjoys pulling water skiers and grandkids in tubes behind his boat.

Larry has been very active in the Edmonton political scene. Back in the 80s he was the PC Constituency President for Les Young, MLA. Since that time Larry has stayed active with the PC party and works hard to ensure his candidate gets elected to the Legislature. Judy told me that Larry’s philosophy is, “as we are all affected by politics and political decisions, it is best to get involved and help out in the process.”

In 1983, Larry and his partner Peter Jackson formed Pals Surveys & Associates Ltd. They did their first survey in Millet using a 1971 Honda Civic that smoked more than Larry. Pals Surveys, 25 years later, is a well-respected company with 150 employees. They were recently recognized by the Canadian Home Builders Association, Edmonton Region, as the General Member of the Year—congratulations Larry. This is one of many SAM awards they have received over the years.

In speaking briefly with Pete Jackson about Larry, he had this to say, “being the kind of guy Larry is there are not many humorous stories to tell. What stands out is his commitment to the Association and being adamant about conducting all his surveys according to the Manual of Good Practice with no exceptions.”

I would like to thank Larry for his dedication and time he has committed to our Association and to his community. It is through efforts such as this that we enjoy a better place to work, live and raise our families. And lastly I want to thank Judy for sharing Larry’s time with us and allowing us all to benefit from his work and his wisdom. Thank you Judy.


On the occasion of his nomination for secretary-treasurer, 2004

  • Born in Castor, Alberta in 1951
  • Graduated from Theresetta High in 1969
  • Graduated from SAIT, Survey Technology in 1971
  • Began survey career with Alberta Transportation (1971-1974)
  • Employed by Walker, Newby & Associates (1974-1983)
  • Articled to L.R. Newby, ALS
  • Received ALS commission in July 1976
  • President of Pals Surveys and Associates Ltd (1983 to present)
  • Served on ALSA Council (1984¬86, 1993-1997)
  • ALSA vice-president (1999-2000) ALSA President (2000- 2001) ALSA Past-president (2001-2002)
  • Served as Chairman Section 9 Ad Hoc Committee (2002-2004)
  • Served on ALSA Standards Committee (1990-1991)
  • Served as Northern Regional Chairman (1992-1993)
  • Served as Convention Committee Chairman (1979 and 1983)
  • President of Knights of Columbus Hockey (1997-1999)
  • Member of RPR Task Force (1997-2000)
  • Member of Urban Development Institute and Edmonnton Home Builders Association