A 39Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Preserving the Profession
Daniels Govero’s article hit home with me and I’m sure with us all, no matter what area of the country you live in. We are not mentoring enough new individuals to keep our profession viable. Our societies, while well-meaning in their pursuit of getting a well-educated profession, has also lost sight of the effort and personal time our mentors took to educate all of us that came up through the ranks.

I see the value in getting an education and all of my children have gone through college because of that vision and because I want better for them than I had. But what really has hit hard on this topic for me as a Surveyor with over 40 years of experience is the severe lack of people out there looking to come into Surveying. Personally I think the downturn in the economy 2008 is when the whole issue started to turn against us as all these people that were coming up through the ranks in Surveying left the profession due to lack of work, and have found something else to do with their life.

With that said, we need to market, mentor, and become involved with building up that resource of people we lost. No matter what the hype surrounding surveying being a real profession, I think the word Profession means something different to everyone. Acting professionally, understanding what it takes to be a true professional in everything you do no matter what work you perform is a mindset that becomes a way of life. It’s how you represent yourself, in both the work environment and your personal life, and not just how much education you have, or what degree you hang on the wall. A true professional continues to mentor throughout his/her career and look for people to mentor, to encourage, to challenge, and help them get better.

Besides the College route, we need to have separate education/mentoring system out there for the people who, either can’t go to college for whatever reason, or don’t want to go to college but want to be productive and learn on their own and become part of the Surveying community. We need to promote this side heavily if we intend to survive, because the college side is not graduating enough people to support our future. Those that are coming out of colleges that I’ve seen need mentors also if they are going to become future leaders, so we should be using them to our advantage to educate the ones that can’t make the college route.

I don’t know about the rest of the Surveyors out there, but in my opinion, we are in sad, sad shape without the old school mentoring mentality that we all came up through, and need to bring back some of our roots, our hard work ethics, and our determination that seems lost in translation now, to make us the true profession we can be and what we once were.

I suggest we all volunteer time to talk to students in college, give lectures, and hire interns both in college and trainees for field crews so they can learn on the job. We should also take time with our crews to explain things that we do and why we need to locate certain things in the field, give them things to challenge their abilities, and always encourage them to continue their own education, whether it’s formal or informal.
—Richard D Pryce, PSM
Ft.Lauderdale FL

Amen to Mr Govero’s article in the February issue. I have been in the surveying business since the 50s, working with my father from my high school days to finally as an RPLS, retired today. My Dad was a Past President of the then Texas Surveyors Association (now Texas Society of Professional Land Surveyors) and served the state organization in many capacities through the years. Having been mentored by him, even after I was registered, until he passed away in 1991, I am in total agreement that being a surveyor cannot be taught exclusively in school. A surveyor’s education is an ongoing and never ending process through experience.
—Michael W. Meeks RPLS

Bridging the Digital Divide
I enjoyed your article in the January 2016 American Surveyor magazine. As a civil engineer familiar with flood plain studies, and a “computer dinosaur”, I hope that your article alerts FEMA, and others, that they must make data and software “user friendly ” to everyone involved in bridging the digital flood data divide. Thank you for writing this great article. Although not all civil engineers are also licensed land surveyors, I hope that this article is viewed by civil engineers nation-wide through one source or another.
—Donald W. Klinzing, PE, PS (Texas)

Lathrop responds
As always, thank you for taking the time both to read my article and to write with your comments. The digital world—whether about floodplains or otherwise—can be inclusive if planned properly, but it does take thoughtful effort and not just a gung ho sea change that shuts out some completely and allows others only tenuous access.
—Wendy Lathrop

A 39Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE