On the Level with NSPS: Constant Progress—New Beginnings

A 230Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Being alive means living through episodes. Episodes are experienced once. Infancy, youth, adolescence, and adulthood are episodes. Days, weeks, months, and years are cyclic. Cycles are repetitive. Life is made from both. As NSPS president with a 1-year term these truths are magnified.

Human nature dictates that a sincere candidate for NSPS President have goals in mind to accomplish during the short episode of his tenure. He must also be aware that it is but a cycle in the history of NSPS. When both natures of a term are acknowledged, one is able to have goals of finishing projects begun by others and to begin some that will not be finished during his tenure.

I carried many goals into office, for example
• I wanted to establish the robust financial standing foreseen by Past President Warren. I am pleased that under the guidance of Treasurer Miller Strides have been made in this goal that will be ongoing.
• I wanted to continue the healthy influence on Capitol Hill passed forward by several predecessors. Government Affairs Chairman Smith has continued our good work in this arena.
• I wanted to revitalize and streamline the NSPS committee structure, a task I began at the urging of Past President Warren over a year ago. The committees have been streamlined with improved communications, a success.
• I hoped the committees would flourish with a deluge of ideas, programs and activities. A few have made outstanding progress, for example Chairwoman Van Horn’s Public Relations committee. Some are quiescent and need stoking or have taken a tack different than the one directed. These are but a small sample. Vice President Leavitt has been continuing the committee development to his credit and I believe they will be the foundation of NSPS being of service to ALL of our members. 
• I intended to increase meeting decorum so that all considerations were heard sufficiently, while avoiding wasteful "beating of dead horses". The Board of Directors meetings have had an increased sense of efficiency and satisfaction about which we should be proud.
• Secretary Burch has blessed us with excellent records enabling the above as well as the success of regular monthly meetings of the Executive Committee begun by my predecessor.
• Perhaps the most frustrating, if not difficult, office is that of President-elect Fokens; primed to action but forced to be patient. He is our long-time guardian of by-laws and policies, so his time has been anything but unproductive. Several important considerations have depended upon his input.
• As president, I want to perform my tasks well enough that I will be well thought of. Only time will tell, but with your help and support, a certainty.

As we begin the new calendar cycle of 2017, it is good to visit our goals, our successes and our failures. We should do this as NSPS, as individuals and as a profession. Let’s reinforce our strengths and shed our weaknesses. In her poem "Elegy in Joy," Muriel Rukeyser writes,

"Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed."

Lastly, I want to recognize the significance that 2016 was the 75th anniversary of the formation of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping of which NSPS is heir. Let us all take time to recommit ourselves to our families, our practices, and our profession, and, thereby, make the world a better place!

Tony Cavell is President of NSPS, a consulting surveyor, and works day-to-day at the Louisiana State University Center for GeoInformatics.

A 230Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE