In recent years, we have been faced with the fact that the number of licensed Professional Land Surveyors is declining rapidly.
Then I read articles about the “one man” surveying companies, and how they are saving money. But who is going to save the profession?
New technology has afforded us the opportunity to be “one man” companies, but most of us got involved in the business by working on a survey crew, deciding we like it, and obtaining the education needed to become Professional Land Surveyors. In an article titled “Surveyor Says Going Solo Helps Cut Costs” (POB, June 2015), the land surveyor states that he began his career in surveying as a part-time rodman, and held other titles including instrument man, party chief, project manager and survey department manager. Some of his experience must have come from working for various companies during his career and obtaining knowledge along the way.
Running a surveying and engineering company is not easy and not for everyone. I have been in business for 27 years, and have trained and mentored many along the way. Employees are the biggest expense in a company, but by having employees you not only contribute to the economic impact of your community, but you are also providing education and training in the profession and quite possibly planting the seed of future surveyors.
Education is not the only answer. Our profession requires mentoring and hands-on training to learn how to find monuments, research, make decisions on what was found, and compare the information with what is recorded and what is not recorded but is used. Surveying is a profession that cannot totally be taught by education alone. We as surveyors must incorporate new people in the profession, mentor them and help educate them, if the profession is to survive!
Our company has mentored many people over the years. One became licensed, took the challenge and joined the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors, worked her way to become the first female president to lead our society and did an excellent job. She has been involved with many surveying projects since, including the monumenting of the Joseph C. Brown Memorial.
We have had several other personnel get licensed; some of them work for other companies and some opened their own businesses in the area where they live. Needless to say, we have encouraged and mentored people to get involved and stay involved with the surveying profession.
This profession cannot be taught in school by itself. School will not tell us how to find a monument in the field, or if we are missing the original monument. School will also not educate us on how to resolve a boundary. It takes experience to learn how to compare recorded documents with what we find in the field, the differences between possessions and recorded, and where the correct line is. This can only come from experience, which as our profession ages is going away.
When the “one man” survey company quits, retires or goes out of business, it’s gone — there is no one to take his place. New technology is great, but let’s help the future of the surveying profession by passing along our knowledge by hiring, training and mentoring new people in the field.
Daniel L. Govero, PLS
Govero Land Services, Imperial, Mo.
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