Q&A with Michael Hatton, the Founder and Director of TSS Total Surveying Solutions

TSS Total Surveying Solutions


We chat with Michael Hatton, the Founder and Managing Director of TSS Total Surveying Solutions.

With offices based in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne and Hobart, TSS is one of Australia’s most respected Surveying Agencies and works with leading construction and civil contractors on various exciting projects across New South Wales and Victoria.

Recently, TSS was involved in designing an Australia-themed poster for Get Kids into Survey (GKiS), an organization promoting surveying and geospatial sciences to school-aged children.

How did you first get into surveying?

During year 12, I changed my mind from becoming an accountant to becoming a surveyor. My friend’s Dad was a surveyor, and I liked what he was saying about the profession. I did a few weeks of unpaid internship with a surveying firm in Wagga, and the rest is history.

Why did you decide to start your own surveying company?

I started my own company because I wanted to give people opportunities to grow in their surveying careers in many different ways. At the same time, I believed that giving people these opportunities would make the business scalable. This approach has been successful, and that’s what we are still offering our employees – professional and personal development.

Total Surveying Solutions (TSS) is a 100% Indigenous-owned and Supply Nation Certified company. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

My mob is Bunuba, from around Fitzroy crossing in the north of WA. I am one of the few Aboriginal surveyors in the country, and I have been quite successful, so as a default, I have become a role model to other brothers and sisters. Many of the positions we advertise are Aboriginal-identified positions, so Indigenous Australians looking to begin their career in surveying get a preference. Becoming Supply Nation certified has also helped TSS expand as a business.

How did you hear about Get Kids into Survey (GKiS), and what made you want to get involved in creating an Australian-themed poster?

I always wanted TSS team members to have the chance to get involved in exciting work projects. When Gary Dorn, our Operations Manager, suggested we contribute as a business to promoting Get Kids into Survey, I thought it was a great idea.

So full credit goes to Gary Dorn, who put a lot of effort and energy into designing the Australian poster, which aims to teach children about land protection, respect for Australia’s traditional owners, and diversity. The poster is also a great reflection of how TSS operates – we respect the land and want to build a better future for everyone. 

If you would like to get a printed copy of the poster, you can email me at [email protected] or get in touch with Get Kids into Survey.

What would you say to young people considering surveying as a career choice/study option?

The best way to choose any career is to do work experience.  If you love Maths and Geography and like Technology, you should give surveying a go. While surveying and spatial sciences is still very much male-oriented activity, a career in surveying is an excellent choice for women. There is a mix of indoor and outdoor work, and you can focus more on either one at various times throughout your career.

What do you think are the essential qualities that make a successful surveyor?

The qualities that make a successful surveyor are pretty much the same as the key qualities of a successful person. You need to be resilient, a problem solver, educated and motivated. The career of surveying creates great people.

What are your hopes for the future of surveying as a profession? Do you think it is vital for surveying companies to do more to promote surveying as a career to young people around Australia?

Not only surveying companies but also surveyors themselves have a skills shortage in the sector. Not enough has been done to promote the profession over the years, and now we are suffering the consequences. It’s ironic because surveying is the best job ever! I would love to see more young people interested in different types of surveying. We also need to create more opportunities for self-education in this sector, which TSS is already offering.

To find out more about TSS Total Surveying Solutions click here

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