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TOWN OF ROCK ELM -- When the time came for him to choose a career, Brandon King followed his cousin's example by becoming a land surveyor.

The St. Francis, Minn., native eventually worked for that cousin's surveying business in Colorado, he said Wednesday. But first, he was in the employ of others--in military service taking him to places such as Korea, and in his chosen occupation, which eventually led him to the Red Wing area.

This year, King embarked on a venture of his own, offering land surveyor services from his Town of Rock Elm home.

"I especially like to work with homeowners," he said, whether they have property line issues, want to build or sell to their children, for example.

The average effort for a homeowner lasts around a day, he estimated. Contractors, attorneys and even municipalities are among the surveyor's other clients. Last week, he had a condominium project underway, was involved with a small subdivision and was working on a park survey.

"We do layouts for improvements...roads, buildings, tunnels or bridges," he said about the profession.

Many of his contacts are done over the phone, King said, though he's willing to meet with customers in person. He usually does research at the nearest courthouse, then spends perhaps half his time on a job at a client's site and in the surrounding area, while accomplishing the other half at his home office.

"My work is evenly split between the indoors and the outdoors," he said. While there's demand year-around, he finds he's particularly busy in early spring and late fall, with a lull often occurring in mid-summer.

Kind said he knew he'd either someday buy an employer's enterprise or own his own. His past employment has been preparing him to go independent.

He attended Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie, Minn., to study land surveying, he said. The two-year program included classes in computers and math, besides surveying. Students participated in several field projects right on campus.

After college, he was hired by Bolin Land Surveying in Northfield, Minn., where his assignments over six months ranged from homeowners' to construction projects, he said. Next, he came to Johnson and Scofield, Inc., in Red Wing, doing similar work there for three years.

Then, Kevin King, that cousin whose hometown is St. Peter, Minn., recruited his services at a business he was operating in Windsor, Colo., approximately an hour's drive north of Denver, he said. The emphasis was on construction, as the Denver vicinity was undergoing a building boom. He spent a year out West.

"I missed my family," he said of his reason for returning to the Midwest.

It was also back to Johnson and Scofield in 2000, he said. He was given the same type of work, but his responsibilities were greater. The stint proved to be a valuable experience.

King is accustomed to being outdoors, having grown up on a farm and as a member of several branches of the military. His family includes father, Larry, a machinist and farmer, mother, Pat, and two sisters, Sandra, now in Burnsville, Minn., and Candace, in Big Lake, Minn. In school, he enjoyed sports, especially track and football; he played a lineman's position on the football team. The 1988 graduate of St. Francis High is also an avid fisherman and hunter, with pheasants a favorite target.

He joined the Army Reserve at age 17, he said. He served in the infantry for two years before going into the active Army. He spent a year of his four-year hitch in Korea, three months of which had him stationed in the demilitarized zone. Afterward, he was at Fort Benning, Ga., for two-and-a-half years, taking part in both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm with the 24th Infantry Division.

For another four years, he was in the National Guard, he said. One memorable duty in the mid-1990s was in flood zones at Moorhead, Minn., and Breckenridge, Minn., helping with sandbagging and handling security.

More recently, King bought a farmhouse in the Town of Rock Elm, the original portion dating to the 1880s, he said. He found it and its 3.2-acre property in a realtor's magazine. Soon, he met his wife, Nicole, who's from the Elmwood area; the couple has three children: Brent, age three, Ethan, two, and Colton, five months.

The surveyor's services are available anywhere in Wisconsin or Minnesota. To contact him, phone 639-5243 or (651) 380-5471.