DeJarnatt honored as state Surveyor of the Year
David Hull was one of Gary DeJarnatt's first surveying professors at Oregon Institute of Technology, and Hull made a lifelong impression on the young student.
"He taught fundamentals of surveying and made it so clear in my mind what surveying was all about that I could actually see myself choosing this as a profession," DeJarnatt said. "Although I was a highway engineering major, this class and Mr. Hull opened my eyes to a path more in line with my calling."
DeJarnatt has been a land surveyor since 1973, serving as the Jefferson County surveyor since 1989. He says winning the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon 2020 Surveyor of the Year award is the biggest achievement of his career.
"It's such an incredible honor, and I'm truly humbled by this recognition," DeJarnatt says of the award, adding his thanks to his 30 fellow Central Oregon surveyors who signed the nomination.
Deschutes County Deputy Surveyor John McCoy, along with fellow members of the surveyor association, nominated him for the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon annual award.
"The Central Chapter believes Gary DeJarnatt exemplifies the stature Professional Land Surveyors in the State of Oregon should emulate and respect," McCoy said. "His decades of dedication and hard work to the PLSO made him a worthy candidate for Surveyor of the Year."
DeJarnatt grew up in Madras and graduated from Madras High School in 1972. Fresh out of college, he surveyed for the Bureau of Land Management and enjoyed hiking the rugged terrain in many of the BLM sections of California. He worked for the BLM for more than eight years. After getting his California land surveyor license, he worked for a surveying firm on California's central coast for a couple of years.
But he'd always dreamed of having his own business, so he took the exam for his Oregon license and convinced his wife, Roxanne, to move to Central Oregon. They started DeJarnatt Land Surveys, Inc. in 1987 out of Deschutes County. He surveyed while she drafted survey maps and did the bookkeeping.
DeJarnatt became the part-time Jefferson County surveyor in 1989 after running for the position. He's been re-elected every four years up until last year when the county surveyor job became an appointed position. He was the only one who applied, so he kept the job.
For more than three decades, he has been the Jefferson County surveyor and has also operated his private surveying business, serving the tri-county area.
He loves working in the outdoors, being out in the woods and the brush, and getting fresh air. On a typical day, he reviews survey maps in subdivision plats and reviews surveyors' work. At one time, he also taught a fundamentals of surveying class to agriculture students at Madras High School.
"I do this corner remonumentation," he said of another job duty. "We go out and find those old corners that were set in like 1870 around the county. We'll find those and remonument them."
DeJarnatt became a member of the Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon in 1987. He served the Central Chapter as president-elect in 2004 and president in 2005 and 2019.
"Gary is one of the kindest members I've had the pleasure of working with, while he served on the board of directors as Central Oregon Chapter president. He brings true interest in making the professional community better with the experience to back it up. I'd be happy if he served again," said PLSO Executive Director Aimee McAuliffe.
DeJarnatt has been a member of the Oregon Association of County Engineers and Surveyors since 1990. He was voted as Surveyor of the Year for OACES in 2006 and served as the president of OACES in 2008.
"In 2020, Gary's enthusiasm and energy were unmatched when the PLSO Central Chapter moved forward setting a survey monument as tribute to the late land surveyor Bill Kauffman," McCoy said.
DeJarnatt has also exercised his desire to serve by volunteering at Westside Church, Central Oregon Veteran's Outreach, and Jefferson County Search and Rescue, and is also a frequent American Red Cross blood donor. He and his wife have a daughter and two grandchildren.
His fellow association members say DeJarnatt has demonstrated a history of high competence, integrity and professionalism, and he has assisted qualified and interested people in the advancement within the profession.
A nomination for surveyor of the year must be submitted by more than five members in good standing.
"It's not uncommon for a nomination to have more than five, but I have never seen such overwhelming support for this year's recipient," said PLSO Awards Committee Chair Dan Nelson. "The nomination form that was submitted includes 30 members voicing their support. I've only been on the Awards Committee for a handful of years, but that is by far the most I've seen."
Like many other surveyors across the state, DeJarnatt was tuned into the virtual PLSO 2021 Annual Conference in late January when they announced the PLSO Surveyor of the Year.
"It came as a surprise. I was so grateful," he said of the honor, adding that he later received a 14-inch historical surveyor statue as a memento of the award.
DeJarnatt says he's grateful that his career is still thriving and productive.
"There are times when I wonder if it's time to back off a bit from my heavy schedule. But this encouragement from my peers who understand the responsibilities of this profession offers fresh energy to my future," he said.
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