Dan. L. Codling
SLS, P. Surv.
Being on council has been a great experience. I would like to thank the membership of the SLSA for allowing me the opportunity to serve in this role. I feel that my understanding of the association has grown substantially during this time.
I would love to see our profession get the recognition that it is due; locally, provincially and nationally. A national campaign (like Professional Surveyors Canada’s current initiative) is great, but if we don’t help ourselves with our own image at a local level, who will? I’m not talking about professional knowledge, as a Saskatchewan Land Surveyor we are well versed in what it takes to get our job done. I’m referring to professional image, a professional image that would set our industry apart from the others with which we would be compared. I contend that how the public sees our office staff, field crews and our deliverables will form their opinion of us an in turn determine how they view our profession.
Most people will only require a survey once or twice in their lifetime (if at all). As such, it is paramount that we take advantage of these interactions to elevate our profession. When a field crew shows up with a fairly clean truck, respectable looking equipment and dressed in appropriate attire, I am confident that a client would immediately feel more at ease and think that “These guys know what they are doing.” There is no basis of fact, it is pure perception. Right or wrong, we need to be cognisant of how we are being perceived by the general public.
This same field crew is generally comprised, usually, of a survey tech grad and a survey assistant. There is no professional on-site. The crew is doing their work under the guidance and direction of the professional but all the client sees is the crew. Similarly, when a homeowner calls for a plumber to replace a shower tap and head, the manufacturer’s design engineer does not come along to oversee the installation. It seems logical to me why the general public would see our profession as another trade; they needed a service performed, they called the office for a quote, someone showed up to their house and did the work. What they don’t see is the behind the scenes office work that went into getting their survey prepared and the post-survey file review. This is where the role of the professional is brought to light. We need to decide whether we want to portray ourselves as a professional organization or as a group of survey technicians.
So what can we do to elevate our profession at a local level, what things can be done that will make an actual difference? I believe the answer is Community involvement. Members, like myself, need to get involved in our local communities. We need to sit on boards, volunteer on committees or help coach our kid’s sports teams. We need to do something where we are getting involved and putting ourselves in a place of positive reward. Find something that gives you enjoyment and volunteer. If it’s spending time with your kids at the rink, then find a way to help out. If it’s sitting on a board, let your name stand for nomination.
If we are projecting a professional image and showing community involvement, I believe we will make a difference and bring a local awareness to our profession. You don’t need to broadcast the fact that you’re a surveyor, it will come into conversation naturally. There is no doubt in my mind that as you get to know new people they will ask you “What do you do for a living?” This will allow you to explain quickly and politely what a Land Surveyor is. We even get 1 P.D.C. credit per year for “activities that enhance the member’s status in the community or overall status of the survey profession within the community”. Obviously this was seen as important enough that it was put into our allowable P.D.C. credits. If I’m totally wrong and this tactic does nothing to help elevate the image of our profession, at the very least, if we are handling ourselves in a professional manner while being involved in our communities, we will be making our cities better.
I look forward to the next years of my career with optimism and hope that I will be helping to create a better Saskatchewan for my kids as they grow up here.
D.L. (Dan) Codling