I have the great privilege of presenting at various state conferences throughout the year. This experience allows me to genuinely connect with our readers. I’m continually humbled and honored by the number of folks that share their experiences in common with our featured topics. Of course there’s always some great boundary tales usually followed up with everyone’s two cents. Heck, on paper I’m a billionaire philanthropist holding that logic. Our conferences offer the opportunity for our vendors to show off the latest and greatest tech. By the way, vendor support is a huge chunk of what makes the conference happen, remember nothing is free. Incidentally, in Oregon I had the great pleasure of chatting with some young folks that were taking the CST test right there at the conference. In fact there was a swarm of new blood from the campuses and the field buzzing around that conference. The last twelve years have been economically brutal on our profession but we are still here and new blood is showing up to carry the torch. I see that as a huge upward trend. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and although the “great recession” ran through our economy like the strep throat through a middle school we are seeing a better cut of professional emerging from the ashes.
Technology and connectivity have exponentially affected productivity and commerce. We’ve adapted and the emerging candidate is one that can “do it all”. Field, office, public meetings, IT/IS, database management, GIS, client relationships and make a decent pot of coffee. In other words, a professional. I am continually encouraged by our emerging young professionals, especially their ability to communicate. After three decades of listening to folks whose verbal tact generally amounts to a binary choice of yelling or mumbling, I surmise that even the best surveyor can easily be reduced to a blithering idiot if he doesn’t take care to professionally develop his social engagement skills. Land development requires public interaction. The land survey is merely a single component of every land development project. The professional that merely delivers a survey to his client then walks away is no more than a party chief responsible for his own withholding tax. Granted there’s an attempt at an honest living and perhaps an uncomplicated existence but what happens when that humble scenario is threatened? You can’t slope chain your way out of human conflict. We no longer need warm bodies in this profession, we need the right minds. Our rising stars are facing serious professional challenges created at the whim of every drive thru politician clinging to the winds of change. Whether it’s over-regulation or deregulation you can be certain our small numbers will be one of the sacrificial lambs.
In Darwinist fashion our sub-professional driftwood was purged in the economic catastrophe of 2008. Since then, digital technology and connectivity have far surpassed a large skilled labor force. Filling this smaller void with high quality minds is more critical now than ever. I mean minds that can articulate our function to the least sophisticated land individual owner, as well as global corporations, and of course to peers, and most importantly to the courts. Oh yeah, and maybe even roll around with the popular kids down in the funball bouncy house of your state legislature. I assure you the young talent I’ve met on this year’s conference circuit are promising. Let’s mentor them to be professionals and not just registered surveyors.