Hussey Gay Bell Celebrates Sims’ 40 Years With the Firm
Savannah, Georgia – HUSSEY, GAY, BELL & DEYOUNG, (Hussey Gay Bell), is pleased to celebrate J. Michael Sims’ forty (40) years of service to the firm. From 1980 to 2013, J. Michael Sims, RLS, served as the Director of Surveying for Hussey Gay Bell with responsibilities including the supervision, coordination, logistics, and planning of all boundary, topographic and hydrographic survey work required by the firm in core market segments including water/wastewater, transportation and municipal. Under his direction, the Surveying Department has been involved in the development of several of the region’s most prominent developments including The Landings on SkidawayIsland, Savannah, Georgia; Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; and WaterWaysTownship, Richmond Hill, Georgia.
Mike can say what few other Hussey Gay Bell employees can – he’s worked for every letter in the Hussey Gay Bell name – Roy Hussey, Ben Gay, Gus H. Bell, III, Buddy DeYoung and as of January 1, 2013, Chairman & CEO, G. Holmes Bell, IV. Mike joined the firm in June of 1973 at the age of 26. He began his career as a Survey Draftsman and when asked why he decided to pursue surveying, he laughs, “It was picked for me.” Forty years later, he still enjoys the business of surveying. “It’s all about loving what I do and the people you deal with, even the engineers. I won’t say I planned to be here for 40 years, it just evolved.”
As one might guess, one of the most prominent changes Mike has experienced during his career has been the evolution of technology. Top three surveying tools in 1973? Mike replies without hesitation: “Hand-held calculator, scale, grid paper, scotch tape, and a light table,” and adds, “If you didn’t have a light table, you used the window back then.” He recalls the first computer the firm employed for surveying – a computer located in Atlanta at the Fulton National Bank. When asked one word he’d use to describe it, Mike doesn’t skip a beat saying, “archaic,” and then adds, “surveying hasn’t changed since they laid out the pyramids, the methods by which we gather and process data has changed tremendously, but the basics of horizontal and vertical measurement remain the same.” That said, when asked what is one thing related to surveying that technology has not replaced, Mike smiles and replies, “Very simple, cutting line.” To date technology has not come up with a substitute for good old-fashioned line cutting and in a southeast Georgia swamp, that can be quite challenging.”
So what’s next? Effective December 31th of this year, Mike will be officially retired; however, he’ll stay on, at a reduced schedule, in an advisory role with Hussey Gay Bell. After all, when asked how many surveys he’s completed in 40 years, he looks startled, pauses for a moment and then replies, “Thousands. No one’s ever asked me that.”
Mike holds degrees from Savannah Technical Institute and Savannah State College. He is a Registered Land Surveyor (RLS) in the states of Georgia and South Carolina and is an active member of The Survey & Mapping Society of Georgia (SAMSOG) and South Carolina Society of ProfessionalLand Surveyors (SCSPLS).