Point of Beginning

Offsets: Professional giving.

November 21, 2003


Once again the world is getting caught up in the hectic holiday season. People are often focused on gift-giving and other festive activities, whether they are motivated by tradition or faith. And here in America, the giving is often lost on a society that already has more than most other people of the world combined. It would be nice to give to someone or to something where it would really make a difference.

While we always have occasion to give on a personal basis, I am convinced that being a professional of any kind requires us to give on a professional level as well. It is in this vein that I would like to address a particular opportunity you have as a professional land surveyor to give to a very special cause.

Two years ago I became aware of the Association of Christian Design Professionals (ACDP), a group of technical professionals who financially support missions, and operates as part of Engineering Ministries International (EMI). This group does an amazing amount of work around the world. EMI specifically organizes teams of surveyors, engineers, architects and others to go to some very impoverished places on Earth to give of their design skills.



Groups of EMI volunteers conduct boundary and topographic surveys, design water and wastewater systems, help oversee construction of structures and other facilities-all the while improving the lives of thousands of people. EMI designs for almost any charitable organization that requests its help. It is not tied to one group or type of effort.

One of EMI's managers is Bob Smith, a PLS formerly from Ohio. Bob and his wife gave up a surveying business to move to the EMI Colorado Springs, Colo., headquarters office. They have tirelessly worked to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and lead several of the overseas teams. Bob and the rest of the EMI team operate on a daily basis of faith-and it is working.

As a member of ACDP, I have had the honor to donate to this worthy cause. But there will always be more needs: cash, working surveying equipment-and most of all, more volunteer surveyors to go to the jobsites. They need the survey profession to GIVE.

I encourage you to investigate this organization before you consider giving anything. There are scams out there hiding under the guise of charity. EMI is a very worthy organization, and you can validate this yourself. In my view, it is probably the most worthy cause I have ever supported in my life.

EMI's website is www.emiusa.org. Go take a look. Give Bob a call. See what your dollars, your equipment, and especially your time, can do.

Imagine, using your work skills as a way to give to people. That is what I mean by "professional giving." What an honor it would be to see the surveying profession become the most generous profession of all. We could do it. But it would require us to think outside of our worlds, outside of our "profit centers."

Whether you choose to support EMI or some other worthy organization, I encourage you to give on a regular basis. Set the example for your employees, your clients and your family that being a professional surveyor is more than just making a dollar and saving for retirement. It is about being a part of a much bigger world, and a much greater calling.

This year, give professionally. It could be the start of a whole new way of life.