Point of Beginning

Editor's Points

May 1, 2005


Money indeed matters in life-in personal affairs, in professional affairs, for future affairs, etc. Money, whether we like it or not, affects and effects each one of us. It often dictates whether we purchase items, attend an educational institution, take or leave a job"¦ and much more. Money can advance an individual or set him back. And when it comes to the topic of money, employment wages often immediately come to mind.

POB's always eagerly awaited biennial survey on salaries and benefits (many of our readers clamor for this information once published) is now available, and begins on page 26. Other than our survey and the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, we know of no other source for the profession's wages and benefits. We hope the information will answer several questions you may have regarding the compensation classes of those across the country, and we're happy to provide it to you regularly. We also hope the information will be used to promote the profession to prospective surveyors.

It seems that surveyors are doing all right in the money medium. Sure, some of you will want to compare surveying salaries and wages to those of engineers and even doctors, lawyers, etc. But, sticking to the arena of strictly surveyors, it seems to me that nobody is eating turkey pot pies every day. To keep it this way, employers need to recognize the importance of a valued wage and support it to the best of their companies' abilities. Employee retention is an even more important factor in today's world of surveying. We can't afford to lose those we currently have in the market, let alone disregard the topic for recruitment purposes.

The articles published in POB and on POB Online (visit www.pobonline.com for dynamic web exclusive content) are intended to, as our mission states, "help the progressive surveying and mapping professional succeed." We hope you will use our resources to help you do just that.

Money Down the Drain

Now, what I don't understand is when money is free yet goes uncollected. That's right, I said, "FREE." I was more than shocked and appalled at the awards reception of this year's ACSM-CLSA-NALS-WFPS Conference and Technology Exhibition when Curt Sumner announced that there were no applicants for this year's Berntsen International Scholarship in Surveying Technology. Stunned is maybe the word. Why, I ask? Five hundred dollars was made available to a chosen candidate-and nobody, repeat nobody, even applied. Berntsen's president, Rhonda Rushing, said, "It was very disappointing to me that no one applied for this scholarship. I think that we-ACSM, Berntsen, and the colleges and universities-need to expand the ways we get the word out [about the scholarship]. I will be following up on ideas for accomplishing this so that we have a good number of applicants next year."

Rushing also noted that Berntsen has been providing scholarships for many years (more than $50,000 total) with a goal of supporting aspiring surveyors in reaching their goals. "I believe that winning a scholarship not only helps a student financially, but demonstrates to the surveying community and future employers a student's initiative and academic accomplishments," Rushing added.

Our hope is that all of the scholarship categories receive numerous applicants next year-and that the judging process for the companies/associations will be nothing short of difficult in each case.

Putting Money Where His Mouth Is

Later at the awards ceremony, there was a more positive element to the evening. I had the pleasure of presenting Mr. Robert (Bob) E. Church, executive director of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association (among other things) with the Surveying in Excellence award sponsored by POB. In his acceptance speech, Bob indicated that he will be turning the $500 award over to the Library of Congress effort undertaken by ACSM to promote the profession to the public. Now, THAT'S what I call putting your money where your mouth is!

Sidebar

Numbers aren't everything; sometimes the positioning of information has a great effect on efforts. While reviewing the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, I noticed that at the end of the job description for a surveyor, the site highlights the position of a civil engineer in a section called: "Are there other jobs like this?" However, to my disappointment, the civil engineer description does not include a similar highlight to the position of a surveyor. Again, I encourage everyone to support marketing efforts on behalf of the surveying profession.