Surveyor sells company to Kentucky firm

One of Bartholomew County’s longest-serving elected officials, county surveyor E.R. Gray, has sold his private firm to a larger Kentucky-based company.

E.R. Gray & Associates LLC, which has provided surveying and land development services since 1989, has been acquired by Milestone Design Group, Inc. of Louisville. Although the announcement was made public this week, the acquisition actually took place at the beginning of this year.

Gray, who will turn 69 in August, says he is heading in the direction of retirement. 

"I told Milestone I would be available to help with the transition for a year," Gray said. "I’ll do whatever it takes, because we’ve got a lot of clients who have really become friends over the past 30 or so years. I want to make sure they are taken care of."

Gray’s company has six employees that, along with the owner, have more than 150 years combined experience in land surveying and site development. Equipped with GPS smf robotic instrumentation, E.R. Gray & Associates has been involved in thousands of projects over the last three decades, company officials said.

Retirement from his own business may not include stepping down from his elected position, which has a current term that won’t end for another three-and-a-half years. 

When asked if he’ll seek another term as surveyor, Gray replied only that "we’ll analyze that situation at the right time."  

Milestone Design Group, which first opened an office in Columbus in 2018, has now consolidated all of their local operations inside Gray’s long-time business location at 1428 Lafayette Ave.. The acquisition is expected to provide all aspects of Milestone’s services with improved communication, a faster turn-around time and decreased overall costs for customers, according to Milestone officials.

The 17-year-old Kentucky-based firm is a regional, full service civil engineering and land surveying firm that provides professional engineering, surveying, land planning and landscape architecture services to both the public and private sector.

Locally, the company may be best known for providing land planning and civil engineering design services for the newly-completed Vivera Senior Living facility, located at the corner of State and Pence streets.

A former Hope resident now living in Columbus, Enoch Russell Gray III earned an associates degree in architecture from Ivy Tech in Terre Haute before furthering his education at IUPUC. Gray also successfully completed several professional-level training courses in surveying, engineering and hydrology.

Gray has also been involved in several professional organizations including the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors. He was also a student in the Leadership Bartholomew County Class of 1992. 

A Republican, Gray was first elected Bartholomew County Surveyor in 1984 when he defeated Democrat Scott Crowder by a wide margin. Only Bartholomew County council member Evelyn Pence, who was first elected in 1980, has held the same elected county position longer than Gray. 

Following his initial victory, Gray has only been challenged twice, but won both times.

During a 1992 interview, Gray said the lack of political competition stems from a lack of active registered professional land surveyors in the Columbus area. At that time, he estimated there were only 10 in the county.

"I think there’s fewer than that now," Gray said this week.

As county surveyor, Gray oversees a staff of seven full-time employees comprised of three divisions: Field Surveys, GIS Mapping and Hydrology. The office also maintains regulated drains, section corners and cemetery location data.