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Gary LoRusso is a land surveyor and property developer from Palmer, Alaska who also has a passion for music and a history of philanthropic work.
Gary LoRusso is a professional land surveyor who owns his own company, Keystone Surveying & Mapping, Inc. in Palmer, Alaska. In this position, he utilizes state of the art equipment to do work involving mapping, boundary surveys, topographic surveys, and subdivision surveys. He is also adept at representing his clients in a public forum.
LoRusso earned his degree in land surveying from Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, New York. He has been practicing in this field since 1977. He also works in land sales and property development, representing his clients from the initial purchase, through the land development process and up until project completion.
In addition to his professional life, Gary LoRusso also has an accomplished musical history playing both the guitar and the banjo. He has played with many other musicians (including a few famous names) all around the state of Alaska, from Palmer to King Cove to Anchorage. His style crosses genres from ragtime to polka to jazz, including a mix of jam band music and original tunes that audiences have described as the Grateful Dead meets Pink Floyd.
Gary also volunteers his time and services building trails around the Palmer area of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He is a dedicated social philanthropist who regularly donates both his money and his professional services to a wide variety of charitable organizations in both his local community and the surrounding areas.
In his spare time he enjoys continuing his musical practice by playing both the banjo and the guitar, focusing mainly on jazz music. He is an avid hiker, biker, and fisherman who loves the outdoors, especially testing out the trails that he helps to build.
Gary LoRusso’s past is filled with accomplishments ranging from the professional to the humanitarian to the musical. Whether he is setting standards in his industry, improving his local communities, or just entertaining audiences, Lorusso has proven himself to be a man of many talents, strengths, and skills.
LoRusso got his start in the forestry and surveying field in 1977 through his studies at Paul Smith’s College in New York. He earned his Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Surveying and Forestry in 1979. He has never forgotten his alma mater and even after graduating and moving away, has made many substantial contributions to both their Forestry Department and their Surveying Department.
Since his graduation, Gary has gone on to receive more than one thousand additional hours of college level training in many different yet relevant areas. These areas of additional study include the following:
• Boundary law
• Flood Plain Management
• Habitat Restoration
• Land Use Planning
• Plant Biology
• Real Property law
• Wetland Determination
Since 1991, Gary LoRusso has worked with Keystone Surveying and Mapping, Inc., a company in Palmer, Alaska which he owns. He was also a broker and partner of Munford Real Estate in Wasilla, Alaska from 1993 to 2005. During this time, he was a member of both the Valley Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.
With skills and expertise in mapping, surveying, forestry, and real estate (among many other areas), LoRusso managed many multi-million dollar developments from the initial real estate brokerage all the way through to the final build-out of the completed project. This process involved the following steps:
• Locating suitable property for development
• Negotiating for the sale
• Drafting all necessary documents
• Reviewing all applicable codes
• Interpreting any rules and regulations that may affect development
• Analyzing and resolving any issues with titles
• Analyzing and resolving any issues involving local or state governments
• Resolving boundary issues
• Determining a development timetable
• Determining the future value of assets
• Presenting the project
• Addressing many other issues as needed case by case
Gary LoRusso also practiced land surveying as a licensed surveyor in the State of New Hampshire where he practiced for 3 years. During this time he was very active in the New Hampshire Land Surveyors Association (NHLSA).
In addition to his professional success, LoRusso has also found success as a musician in his spare time. Although he had never picked up an instrument in his life until he was 25 years old, once he finally did, he took to it immediately.
For a full year, Gary took banjo lessons from the great Frank Valentino, a well known musician on the East Coast who gained great local fame in the 1920s and 1930s. After his year of lessons, he made the move to Alaska. Once there, he teamed up with a local ragtime piano player, and together the two played all across the state, from King Cove to Anchorage to Palmer. he played the tenor banjo during these shows, as well as during his performances with the jazz band Big Cabbage, where he mostly played Dixieland jazz.
Gary LoRusso was not one to confine himself to just one genre of music, however. As such, during this time, he also played performances with Polka Dan, a famous local Alaskan polka musician. His performances with Dan included a show at the World Famous Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage, Alaska, where Gary also had the opportunity to play with several other polka musicians thanks to a polka cruise ship that had docked in town.
Then, when he was around 40 years old, Gary LoRusso extended his musical experience even further by picking up the tenor guitar. He learned to improvise, playing jazz standards and a lot of swing music, a pursuit for which the tenor guitar was well suited.
LoRusso continued his local musical career by playing several times at the Sluice Box at the Alaska State Fair. His most recent performance there was with a nontraditional acoustic dance band called the Nomadic Milkmen. Audiences have described the band’s music, mostly jam band songs with original compositions, as a cross between the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. That particular concert reached a level of creativity and enjoyment that has yet to be rivaled at the Sluice Box.
Gary LoRusso also has a long list of nonprofit organizations to which he has made regular and/or significant donations. Much of this philanthropy work has gone to help promote and protect forestry practices throughout his local community.
One of his biggest philanthropic endeavors was his work with the Lazy Mountain, Alaska community and their trail around the nearby Wolverine Lake. For many years, the trail had created conflict in the Lazy Mountain Community Council.
Gary realized that the ideal solution to the problem would be to relocate the trail to an alternative route. Of his own volition, he began searching for a solution. He ultimately donated his professional services, valued at $7,000, to the project. As a result, He was able to produce a topographic map of the land around Wolverine Lake that was owned by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. He then worked directly with the Chickaloon Native Association to decide on alternative locations for the trail that would benefit the community without creating more conflict. The trail issue is still being discussed at this time.
Other charitable groups that Gary has donated his money and services to include the following:
• The National Wildlife Federation
• The National Audubon Society
• The Appalachian Trail Conference
• The Palmer Arts Council
• The Farmland Trust of Alaska
• The Palmer area of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
LoRusso has also made significant contributions over the years to both the Forestry Departments and the Surveying Departments of Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, NY. In addition, he has donated his services as a professional surveyor to Alaska’s Greatland Trust, a project in land preservation involving many local landowners. Additionally, for many years now, Gary LoRusso has proven himself to be a sustaining member of the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors (or the ASPLS).
Throughout his career history, Gary LoRusso has proven himself to be an experienced local authority in his industry. He plans to continue developing this skill and presence through his many different contributions in both his field of work and local community.
He continues to utilize his land sales and property development skills in his surveying work, representing each of his clients through every step of the process from start to finish. He also continues to actively promote and implement ideas that help maintain his community through the ongoing regulation rewrite of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
Gary LoRusso is also in the process of donating his professional services to help with the Jordan Lake Park parking area for the Big Lake Community Council. He continues to be a sustaining member of the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors and has been so for many years now. In addition, he plans to continue making his yearly contributions to the Appalachian Trail Conference.
As a personal project, Mr. LoRusso has completed building his own stone fire pit as a way to entertain his guests around the fire without having to worry about stray sparks starting wildfires during the dry season. Already, however, the project grew from a simple idea into an elaborately designed undertaking. The pit boasts a circular floor with with a circular stone fire pit ventilated at various locations. This ventilation system also serves to illuminate the adjacent walkways during the nighttime. Stone benches are built into a circular wall that blocks prevailing breezes, and the stone tabletops have specialized container holders that drain rainwater through the wall. All of the stonework for the floor and the cap came from the local Chickaloon area. It is this attentiveness to detail and community conscious thinking that Gary Lorusso strives to maintain and continually leads him to success in any endeavor.
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