John Holmlund


(By Larry Pals, on the occasion of the presentation of the Professional Recognition Award to John Holmlund, 2002)


It is my pleasure this afternoon to introduce to you this year's recipient of the Professional Recognition Award. The Professional Recognition Award is presented to a member who has attained a high level of office within our Association, has attained national or international recognition, has developed new systems or methods or in some other ways has contributed to the profession of surveying.

This year's recipient of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Professional Recognition Award is John Howard Holmlund, ALS, SLS.

John was born in Cranbrook, BC in
1948 and graduated from SAIT in 1971. He received his ALS commission in 1975 and his SLS in 1986. He was auditor of our Association in 1984-1985 and served as member of Council from 1985 to 1987. John was elected vice-president in 1994 and served as our president in 1995-96. I had the privilege of serving on Council with John and found him to be extremely dedicated, hard working, and full of energy. Over the years, he has served on numerous ALSA committees and was the Alberta director to the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors for three years, during which he served on the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) Committee. He also served on the University of Calgary Advisory Committee for three years. Currently, he is the president-elect of the Canadian Institute of Geomatics.

John has always been involved with various committee and non-professional activities. He was involved in minor hockey in Leduc and was a director of the local golf club.

Now a little personal information about John - but a very impressive resume so far. In 1969, John and I both attended Survey Technology at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. As we got to know each other better in the second year, it became very evident that John had exemplary organizational and social skills. It became a regular occurance for meetings of our second year class to be called over at the H block. John usually had something of great surveying importance to discuss. The letter H stands for the Highlander Hotel.

John fine-tuned his organizational skills and
1977 started his very successful surveying company, HDS Focus Surveys now known as The Focus Corporation Ltd. Over the years, through his leadership, his company has brought innovation and a dedicated level of service to the oilfield sector of not only Alberta, but British Columbia and Saskatchewan as well. The Focus Corporation is well respected provincially, nationally, as well as internationally.

Mr. Holmlund addressed the luncheon as follows:
I certainly didn't expect this. I was in Nova Scotia a number of years ago and one of the surveyors there received an award that he wasn't anticipating and I think I'll start with those words, "I can hardly wait to hear what I am going to say."

It seems like the appropriate thing might be to take a shot at Bob Wallace or tell a story about Shirley Hall, but I won't do either of those. It's unbelievable to get acknowledged by your peers. I really don't know what to say-I really didn't expect this.

I was looking at the list of people that was on our table and it's a real honour to be included with all of those esteemed surveyors. What I would like to do and probably a lot of people would join me in doing this is thanking my real support, and that's Jane, in being able to do what I've done. She has certainly supported me through all of my professional undertakings. She has supported me back to my room at three o'clock in the morning after the president's suite. She has been a pillar of strength.

I'll just tell a story about when we started our company. She hates it when I tell this story, but I think it's appropriate. I came home one day and we decided to start a business-we'd been working at Midwest Surveys and we certainly enjoyed our time there but I guess we were anxious to do some other things-so, I came home and I said to Jane, "we've decided to start a business." We had two little kids, Eric and Erin, and Jane just looked at me and said, "how are you going to feed the kids; how are you going to have money?" I said, "well, I never really thought about that, but I know it's going to work." I hadn't really thought about that, so Jane sort of left the room and started crying. She came back about twenty minutes later and said, "well, if that's what you want to do, I'm with you."

Quite a few years later, we had a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and Jane got up a told a story that night and said, "I never ever got really mad enough to leave you, but the closest I ever came was the day you came home and said you were starting a company."

I'd like to thank everybody that was responsible for this. I'd like to particularly thank Larry for considering me for this award. I'd like to thank all of the people from Focus, particularly that are in this room, and I'd like to also especially thank Len Leiman. It was through Len that I got started in land surveying - he was my big cousin, that's what he was doing and that's kind of how I got here.




  • ALSA President, 1995
  • Professional Recognition Award, 2002


































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