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Ray Bisson - Stonewall Surveying

Ray Bisson, a resident of Barrington, started his surveying career in 1992 after graduating with a degree in civil tech from the Thompson School at the University of NH. After working for several land surveying firms in the area, including Civil Consultants in South Berwick, ME, Doucet Survey in Newmarket, NH, and Easterly Surveying in Kittery, ME, he founded Stonewall Surveying in 2011.

Stonewall Surveying offers many services, including property surveys, settling land disputes, establishing property boundaries, facilitating construction projects, and documenting the location of landmarks. Ray’s work involves walking property lines, researching town and county records, preparing applications for Planning and Zoning Boards, and presentations before local boards and development personnel to name a few.

In 2018, Ray was recognized as Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Barrington Chamber of Commerce. His commitment to community service, including raising thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of food for the Barrington Food Pantry with his annual Peeper Race team - Team Stonewall, was one of the reasons he received this honor.

In addition to Team Stonewall, Ray can be found engaging with the community in a variety of ways. He is a Board Member of the Barrington Chamber and volunteers at many of their fundraising events. Ray is also a former member of the Barrington Lions, and, when his kids were in elementary school, he regularly volunteered his time to coach their teams. Both he and his wife Traci are passionate community activists and are regularly engaged in volunteer projects.

Land Surveying, which falls under the construction trade, is considered an essential business during this time when many businesses are currently shut down. Ray admits that business slowed a bit in March at the first mention of the coronavirus pandemic but picked up quickly in April and early May. Since land surveyors often work with only one or two people field crews, it is easy to maintain social distancing while working outside.

Ray enjoys working with home and landowners but has noticed a shift in his business towards more construction-based surveying since the start of the pandemic. “Homeowners are most likely waiting to see what happens with the coronavirus and the Governor’s stay-at-home order before deciding on projects they need help with,” said Ray.

Deed research is also an important part of the work Ray handles for landowners. Fortunately, this work, for the most part, can be completed online. Like most businesses, however, surveying has still been impacted. In-depth surveys requiring research at the courthouse have been put on hold due to limited access to records. Digitalization of deed and land boundary records is not universal in Maine and New Hampshire, so although some records can be accessed online, others you must go to the courthouse or town office directly to access. Filing applications during this time is not possible in some towns, like Milton, NH. While some projects are progressing in one area, they may be on hold in another which is having an impact on landowners.

Because Ray is a recognized business leader, we asked him to share with us what positive things he has noted during this pandemic.

“There is more use of technology, which has become more convenient and easier in many ways,” said Ray. “While some towns are closed, others have begun holding virtual planning board meetings to facilitate moving construction projects forward. This means that more abutters can easily attend meetings from the comfort of their home.”

Through his work at Stonewall Surveying, Ray has been participating in remote meetings for the planning board using Microsoft Team Meetings and Zoom. He has full access to the meeting through his online connection and can answer questions easily.

When asked for his message of hope, Ray responded:

“As a community and society, we need to be patient. It is important that we follow all safety guidelines and be cautious so we can protect our families and neighbors. If everyone cooperates and works together, we will get through this faster. Support local businesses if you are able by purchasing gift certificates for future services or enjoying takeout from your favorite restaurant. If you are struggling, utilize local resources like the food pantry to support you until you are back on your feet.”