Page 8 - ESS Summer 2023
P. 8

Thoughts on Professional

                             Practice and Education

                             Article 4: FS Exam as a Student Graduation Requirement
                             By: Knud E. Hermansen   P.L.S., P.E., Ph.D., Esq.

        About the Author:

           Knud E. Hermansen began his surveying career in the United States   After many years at other firms he currently has his own practice consult-
         Marine Corp. over 30 years ago and spent over 20 years in the military re-  ing on matters pertaining to boundary disputes, easements, land develop-
         serves much of it with engineering and construction units within the Unit-  ment, liability, title, and contract issues.
         ed States Army Corp of Engineers.                       He is the author of numerous books and articles and taught at Penn
           He has a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University   State University for four years. Although retired, he currently teaches 3 to
         and a law degree from West Virginia University. He is a licensed profes-  4 courses per semester at the University of Maine in their civil engineering
         sional engineer, a licensed professional land surveyor and attorney at law.   technology program.

           his is the fourth article I have prepared in the series offering   The new graduate that is checking into the human resource
        Tthoughts on professional practice and education. The focus  manager at the onset of their surveying career should not won-
        of this article, I hope, will assuage some individuals that I offend-  der what is meant by a 401k, employer match, vesting periods,
        ed by my last article and will give hope to friends that will see I  and pre-tax contributions.
        am now writing with the sense that I appear to have lost with   This missive is not meant to discuss politics or even the vari-
        my last article.                                       ous subjects that may fall under the concepts of ‘business’ and

           I know I am not alone when I say I wish I knew as a young sur-  ‘management’ education. Rather, the focus is to advocate that
        veyor what I now know about running a business. I can stand in  relevant business and management topics be presented to stu-
        front of a dozen or more surveyors that run their own surveying  dents studying in a four-year surveying program.
        business, some for decades, and discuss rules and regulations   Faculty would be disappointed when collecting alumni data
        that by law apply to them. What I reveal shocks many of them   to discover graduates described their job title as ‘survey techni-
        as they realize the deficiencies in their knowledge and business   cian’ ten years after graduation. After ten years, the graduate is
        practice. They were unaware or confused about rules and reg-  expected to be licensed and in management. Yet, many survey
        ulations they should be adhering to or should have adhered to   programs have failed to give students any relevant knowledge
        when running their business.                           that would aid the graduate to take on management positions
          I might quickly add, I will not claim to know the entire pleth-  where survey graduates are expected to spend most of their
        ora of knowledge on government regulations as applied to  professional careers.
        businesses. Who would know all the governing rules except for   I would opine the lack of adequate business and management
        the most dedicated bureaucrat or regulator? Sadly, the federal,   courses in surveying programs stem from two conditions. The
        state, and local governments continue to do their best to create   first condition arises because of the lack of business and man-
        more difficulties in starting and running a business – especially   agement experience that faculty have. Many faculty do not have
        if you contract with the government.                   the experience, training, or knowledge to teach relevant busi-
          The first time a surveyor hears the phrase ‘cash flow’ should  ness and management courses. Even survey programs at larger
        not be during their first year of owning a business as they sit in  universities can’t always draw on the business school faculty to
        their office, the time near midnight, the pay for employees due  help educate the surveying student in relevant business cours-
        the next day. Having never heard of the term ‘cash flow,’ the new  es. While the business school faculty may be able to educate
        business owner cannot understand how they must pay sooner  the surveying student regarding contracts, business entities,
        using what they won’t have until later.                employee law, etc. topics such as mechanics liens, survey fee

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