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Featured Student Friday: Justin Thomas

Every other week, SFRC highlights a fantastic student or alumnus for #FeaturedStudentFriday. Today’s feature is Justin Thomas. As a 2012 graduate of SFRC’s Geomatics program, he began his career in Gainesville at a Civil Engineering Firm as a Surveyor in Training. Justin earned his Professional Surveyor and Mapper license in 2016. He spent five years working in the private sector before transitioning to his most recent role at the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 2 headquarters in Lake City.

We are so lucky to welcome Justin back to SFRC as a Geomatics Lecturer!

What’s the best thing about your current position?

To pick just one thing is a difficult task, but if I had to pick something it would the opportunity to be peers with some of brightest minds in the profession. At times I feel like a kid in candy store being able to just walk in to Dr. Dewitt’s office and pick his brain just about anything.

Was there any key thing that set you on the path towards SFRC?

Being a product of SFRC is something that I value and being able to go back to where my career started makes it that much sweeter!

What drives you?

Student’s drive me. Students are important to me because I remember that I was once a student. Having to pick something to do for the rest of your life is a difficult and momentous task. Thankfully I had people in my life that invested in me and mentored me through this time. Being able to do that for students is something that I cherish every day.

What were your struggles to get where you are today?

Initially my time as a student here at UF was spent in Weil Hall as a Civil Engineering major. I soon realized that Geomatics may be a better fit after taking Route Geometrics and Design with Dr. Dave Gibson and the rest is history. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about ‘What if?’, but then I quickly realize I am where I am for a reason.

What advice would you give to a younger you?

Persevere through difficulty and always look to build the relationships you can. You never know where they will lead.

Do you have any favorite memory of your time at SFRC?

I vividly recall my time as the Geomatics Student Association Chapter Vice President. Being a part of that group that went to the FSMS conference, meeting industry professionals and learning how to be a leader was priceless time during my time in SFRC as a student.

Are you working on anything exciting you’d like to share?

My industry experience has both private and public ties and being able to integrate those experiences in my teaching is something I look forward to doing.