President's Message

Don Elder is the 2020 FSMS President.

August 2020

don elder 2020 pres

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in our annual General Business Session last month. Although the public health challenges have impacted all of us, the regular business of the surveying world is continuing right on. The demand for surveying work remains high, and the industry need for survey technicians and licensed surveyors remains strong even in the face of historically high unemployment.

On the licensing side, last week the Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers approved 12 people to sit for the state licensing exam and another 7 for the NCEES Fundamentals of Surveying test. Even in a season marred by pandemic, the pipeline for licensees is continuing to flow. BPSM is also currently working to expand the availability of the Florida Jurisdictional exam into remote testing centers. Soon it should hopefully be possible for people to take the state test in the same kinds of testing centers where one can take standardized tests such as the GRE. This kind of solution will reduce the burdensome time and financial costs of travel and lodging for license candidates going forward.

While we are on the topic of workforce, I’d like to expand upon a topic of discussion that arose at the General Business Session. At the January Broward Chapter meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Barboza, who is a licensed surveyor originally from Venezuela. Maria has lived here for a few years and is working on getting her license here in Florida. At that time, Maria had just done a Spanish language webinar on navigating the process for surveying licensure in Florida for the Venezuelan surveying society.

For those who are unaware, surveying is taken very seriously throughout Latin America and many of their collegiate programs for surveying are technically quite rigorous. Economic drivers cause a significant number of educated and experienced surveyors to legally immigrate to the U.S. for better opportunities. Until I talked with Maria, I was unaware of the magnitude of a gap in this particular workforce chain.

As it happens, between insufficient networks to connect people to employers and the natural challenges of moving far from home to a place that doesn’t share a native language, a significant number of qualified surveyors are here in Florida but are not working in the industry. This is a gap in the workforce chain which we must close.

To this end, on Saturday, September 19, Maria Barboza will be presenting an informational webinar in Spanish on navigating the licensing process for those with foreign credentials. For folks who have surveying skills but are not yet connected with an employer, we will be encouraging them to prepare resumes in advance of the seminar. If you are an employer who is interested in this endeavor, be aware that this event is coming soon and that more information will be forthcoming. 

Until next month, stay safe and I’ll hope to see you at a virtual chapter meeting!




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