Meet Sam the Surveyor

November 1, 2004
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This month's candidate: Larry Phipps, PLS.

Owner/President, Phipps Surveying and Land Surveyors Workshops (LSW), Jefferson, N.C.

Credentials: BS Forestry and BS Wildlife Biology, North Carolina State University

Other professional credentials: NC Real Estate Salesman License

Registered/licensed in: North Carolina

Responsibilities: "My brother and I do everything from client contact to research, field data collection, calculations, legal descriptions, surveyor report forms, invoices and accounting-right down to cleaning the bathroom not nearly often enough. Since 2000, I have been conducting seminars and customized one-on-one training for surveyors. LSW also sells books, videos and software for surveyors."

Year started in profession: 1981

How you started in the profession: "My first job out of college was with a new surveying/forestry company. As a recent forestry grad, I was hoping for more forestry and less surveying. It didn't take long for me to see that land surveying held its own unique attraction."

What you like best about land surveying: "I like helping clients. When I am able to figure out a complex boundary problem or help a fellow surveyor streamline his business to make it more profitable, it makes me feel good."

What grinds you: "Surveyors who complain about their profession and the lack of money to be made. If you give your client an invoice for $300 and the client pays it, who is at fault if $300 isn't enough?"

What keeps you going in your job: "The thrill of what each day will bring. Surveying is definitely NOT the same old thing everyday."

Best surveying memory: "Three sisters came to my office in 1997 looking for my assistance in settling their father's estate. Over the years he used many different surveyors. A lack of planning had left gaps and gores throughout the various properties he owned. Over the next few years we recovered corners on more than 50 "˜lots' sold [and] were able to develop a division plan."

Weirdest memory: "The day I found a cast iron frying pan when looking for a corner. It was buried approximately 4 inches beneath a suburban yard. The diameter was only about 3 1⁄2 inches."

Accessories you can't leave home without: "LSW pens and calendars. If you see me, ask for one."

Greatest personal accomplish-ments: Past president, Ashe County Economic Development Council; past president, Ashe County Chamber of Commerce; founding board member, Ashe Youth Connection; Ashe County Volunteer of the Year for 2000; Sec./Treas., Northwest Chapter NCSS (North Carolina Society of Surveyors Inc.) 2000 to present.

Reason why you're a role model for future surveyors: "I try to pass along what I find to other surveyors. The entire profession benefits when one surveyor improves his product or service."

Reason how surveyors can ensure their future success in the industry: "I hear much talk about there being not enough money in surveying to keep good people. What we have to do is make the public aware of the difference between a truly professional service and a hack who just happens to practice."

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