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Suit and tie not required

image Dan Pinnell teaching the Boy Scouts about the surveying merit badge course

HOUSTON - AAs a third generation surveyor, Dan Pinnell, president of The Pinnell Group, started his career during his teenage years while working alongside his father. In 1982 his father formed his own business called Pinnell Survey. “He moved down to Houston and me and my brother would work for him in the summers in between grade school. We were put on the payroll,” said Pinnell.




    After falling in love with the business, Pinnell’s realization for his future sank in at the age of 17. With a skillset in mathematics and a love for outdoors, Pinnell found that he was getting the best of both worlds doing office and field work.
    In 1998, his brother, Jason Pinnell, formed Pinnell Survey in Florida. In 2007 Pinnell started his land-surveying firm. Then in 2010 his father left Houston and located himself in Thailand with Pinnell Survey in Thailand.
    Pinnell recalls the year of 2007 when first starting out, “It was right before the recession hit.” He also said it was probably the worst time anybody could think of to start a company. Then in 2009, his wife Joni came on as 51 percent owner to target the minority projects with the women-owned businesses. “Now she is the co-owner and I am the co-owner.”
    About 3 years ago, Pinnell visited his father in Thailand and took his family with him. He noticed the difference in pace. “They don’t do things in a hurry like in Texas. Their projects probably take twice as long to complete as they would here.”
    Then Pinnell talks about his team in Houston. He has eight full-time employees. His outlook on the work culture is making sure they provide good appearances and attitudes.  “They don’t need to wear suits and ties, but they need to have a reputable appearance because we are working out in front of the public.” Pinnell acknowledges the efforts from his field and office personnel who communicate on high levels to make it across the finish line.
    Staying on the topic of his employees, Pinnell shares a morning ritual with his crew. After he briefs his field crews every morning on their daily assignment right before they exit the door he says to them, “Have fun and make it a great day.” His reason is he doesn’t want to make the work day “a big challenge,” instead he wants for everyone to enjoy what they are doing. 
      The future for The Pinnell Group may be from a view up. Pinnell says this is the year of the drone. He explains that drones have become a big thing in the industry. In the surveying industry the new thing is the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) surveying method. They are calling it lidar with drones. Yes, surveying has kept up with technology too. There is a boom in construction activity going on in Houston and Pinnell says, “We are primarily keeping up with all the demand for all the projects.”
    Aside from the booming of business, the company had some booming of their own. At the beginning of December, there is an annual company party with a live band and games for the kids. This past December the company celebrated their 10-year anniversary. Congratulations!
    The foundation of the company began with his father and brother. The days of going out to the field with dad are not just memories, but occurrences that have built all three locations. Now with children of his own, Pinnell agrees there may be a fourth generation of surveyors.
    The Pinnell Group is a land-surveying firm in Houston. –lv

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Lexie Velasquez lexie@constructionnews.net