“Next Big Thing” Essay Winner: Bring the Old and New Together

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series June 2017

Bring the Old and New Together

The next big thing for the surveying profession is much more than a new instrument or the use of a new technology. To me, it is something much more profound than that.

I recently read a statistic in an article printed in the Gem State Surveyor, the quarterly publication of the Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ISPLS). In the article, Jeannie Vahsholtz-Liimakka, past- president of ISPLS, cited an alarming statistic: the average age of a surveyor in Idaho was 59 years old in 2016.

I believe this statistic to be true, not only in Idaho but across the country. Surveyors are retiring at a rate that is difficult to compensate for with those entering the profession.

The next big thing for the profession should be to work with one another to bring old and new together: the older generation of surveyors collaborating with the young surveyors and sharing their vast amount of knowledge and experience. I believe that it is extremely important that our young surveyors receive good mentorship. After all, we are a product of those from whom we learn.

In 2016, the average age of a surveyor in Idaho was 59 years old.

One way this can be accomplished is through internships or employment. Idaho State University offers the Career Path Internship Program that provides students with paid professional internship experience in their field of study. Through this program, the university pays the intern’s wage, and the student and employer reap the many benefits. I have seen firsthand the valuable experiences gained by surveying students who have been employed through this program.

Gwen Inskeep, LSI, and Adam Thayer perform a pre-construction survey.

Gwen Inskeep, LSI, and Adam Thayer perform a pre-construction survey.

Additionally, I have found that being a member of my state’s surveying society, ISPLS, is extremely beneficial for my growth as a young surveyor. I have been able to meet and interact with great surveyors. At the local ISPLS section, surveyors and other professionals in the industry are often brought in for presentations and case studies. In surveying, there is so much to be learned through experience, and those experiences cannot afford to be lost. With this integration of bringing old and new together, I think that the next big thing can be beneficial for everyone and ensure that, as surveyors, we continue to provide exceptional service as we protect and serve the interests of the public.

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