Reimagining our CLSA

User avatar
Warren Smith
Posts: 894
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:41 am
Location: Sonora

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by Warren Smith »

That is an appropriate avenue to pursue. My most recent staff addition is a fellow who graduated from our local community college with a degree in GIS, and who had interned as a GIS tech for several local firms as well as for our County. He was loaned to us for a few weeks for exposure to the front end of mapping, and was immediately hooked on the survey end of things. With his background in the back end of mapping - so to speak - he brings a valuable skillset, much like the balance between field work and engineering design. He has a well rounded sense of what elements belong in a proper work product.
Warren D. Smith, LS 4842
County Surveyor
Tuolumne County
DWoolley
Posts: 588
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Orange County
Contact:

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by DWoolley »

To add to MPaulk's post...

Technically, these undergraduate students are classified as volunteers and the school views their credits as pay. We have chosen to pay them for various reasons. One reason is to have them covered with worker's compensation. Another reason is they are college students that are unlikely to be financially independent. Last reason is I am required to submit their hours to the school. A timesheet makes it easy.

A couple of rules, no more than 25% of their time can be clerical and they cannot be used to displace another employee.

All of the credit goes to MPaulk for making this happen for us.

DWoolley
MPaulk
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:05 am

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by MPaulk »

DWoolley wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:51 pm To add to MPaulk's post...

Technically, these undergraduate students are classified as volunteers and the school views their credits as pay. We have chosen to pay them for various reasons.

All of the credit goes to MPaulk for making this happen for us.
Not all the credit...the company helped out by providing time and equipment to build these relationships through community service.

We also chose to pay these students because it is the right thing to do and it is my estimation that someone getting paid will feel more ownership over their work.

I have all sorts of ideas on how to attract potential surveyors...if anyone would for me to give a TEDTalk let me know. Haha
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

Micah, what you just outlined here would fall under a detail of opportunities.
Once strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats are outlined and summarized, steps to follow is to prioritize them, assess what kind of resources it takes to tackle each, then seek out the resources and start implementing things.
Opportunities need to be taken advantage of.
We can leverage our strengths to assist with that (and other things).
Weaknesses need to addressed and mitigated, same with threats.

Other than this classification, you have to plan timeline and implementation. Things like low resource requirements and low hanging fruit, potential immediate threats...

For example, one of our large weaknesses right now is that there are many detailed ideas, and overlapping efforts. In part this can be mitigated with a stronger, more organized planning effort.
If there is a big picture, it is not reaching enough of the crowd to help interested and eager surveyors coordinate their efforts.

For example, you are talking abut how we're missing a point by not tapping into GIS resources... part of the error is that you are simply not that familiar with what other people may be doing. Where I work we take advantage of this heavily. a good third of our younger staff originated from GIS and geography programs.

A more coordinated effort which pools the resources has a likelihood of being much more far reaching.

We neglect the big picture planning and zoom ourselves right into the detailed tactics... and the result is, hap hazard.
We have a lot of surveyors who want to do something, but the message of what to do is not clear. We're not very effective at being, well effective when it comes to the big picture.

For example, under opportunities, I would expect 30 to 50 entries at the idea levels, which then need to be sorted and expanded. Out of those, 5 or 6 may turn out to be low hanging fruit and easily implemented.
We never get to that point, because we get lost in the detail of two ideas, and get into arguing over whose idea is better.

Big picture first, then we can start working out the details.
Last edited by CBarrett on Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

MPaulk wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 5:21 pm I have all sorts of ideas on how to attract potential surveyors...if anyone would for me to give a TEDTalk let me know. Haha
That's the kind of stuff that goes under the opportunities in business planning. Make a list.
There is a lot of people who have a lot of good ideas. These things need to be organized and plan figured out how to implement them. Part of implementation will probably be rallying up more volunteers and interested parties to help with implementation.

At least if this is to be done on the association level.
MPaulk
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:05 am

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by MPaulk »

CBarrett wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:32 pm
MPaulk wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 5:21 pm I have all sorts of ideas on how to attract potential surveyors...if anyone would for me to give a TEDTalk let me know. Haha
That's the kind of stuff that goes under the opportunities in business planning. Make a list.
There is a lot of people who have a lot of good ideas. These things need to be organized and plan figured out how to implement them. Part of implementation will probably be rallying up more volunteers and interested parties to help with implementation.

At least if this is to be done on the association level.
If my recollection is correct you prompted the question:

"We are nonprofits - do we have the ability to certify highschool and college volunteering/community service hours, that kids need to graduate? Do we know anyone who understands this dynamic? I only barely know it exists. (I'm getting sidetracked into detail, oops)" -Cbarrett

"These things need to be organized and plan figured out how to implement them" - CBarrett

To quote Tony Stark "I have a plan, attack".

You asked how to get college/university students. I replied with how to do it. Wasn't meant to be an affront to your overarching scheme.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

Please make a list, each of these need to be expanded, and sub lists can be added as needed. I am throuwing in a few initial thoughts I can do in 15 min or less. Please continue to add and edit.

Strengths: (to capitalize on)
Unique Technical knowledge
Detail oriented
Unique sphere of influence (via licensing)
Sphere of influence has legal protection
.... please add more



Opportunities: (to take advantage of)
Technological advances
GIS
Lidar
GPR
GPS
Attracting young talent

...... please add more


Threats: (to navigate)
Legal challenges (list a few)
Deregulation (list a few)
Diminishing workforce
education scarcity
...... please add more


Weaknesses (to mitigate)
Organization
Education
Contentiousness
Attracting young talent
...... please add more
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

MPaulk wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:43 pm
CBarrett wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:32 pm
MPaulk wrote: Wed Nov 09, 2022 5:21 pm I have all sorts of ideas on how to attract potential surveyors...if anyone would for me to give a TEDTalk let me know. Haha
That's the kind of stuff that goes under the opportunities in business planning. Make a list.
There is a lot of people who have a lot of good ideas. These things need to be organized and plan figured out how to implement them. Part of implementation will probably be rallying up more volunteers and interested parties to help with implementation.

At least if this is to be done on the association level.
If my recollection is correct you prompted the question:

"We are nonprofits - do we have the ability to certify highschool and college volunteering/community service hours, that kids need to graduate? Do we know anyone who understands this dynamic? I only barely know it exists. (I'm getting sidetracked into detail, oops)" -Cbarrett

"These things need to be organized and plan figured out how to implement them" - CBarrett

To quote Tony Stark "I have a plan, attack".

You asked how to get college/university students. I replied with how to do it. Wasn't meant to be an affront to your overarching scheme.
No affront, I was just explaining about business planning efforts since we don't seem to have very many people here familiar with it.

Now I am asking you to participate in the planning. As you saw yourself from the very post you quoted, I too got sidetracked in the detail and corrected myself.

Contentiousness and getting sidetracked in the detail is one of our greater weaknesses. This exchange is a great example of this very thing.
Last edited by CBarrett on Thu Nov 10, 2022 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
hellsangle
Posts: 463
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:31 am
Location: Sonoma, CA

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by hellsangle »

Wow!

With all this highfalutin talk . . . sounds like government-speak or largess-business-speak! The more complicated one makes things - nothing will get done. We can't have it all.

May I suggest this? State ONE task. Accomplish that and go to the next. (The trick is get the first stated task done. If not - you're urinating up a rope!)

Yeah, it's "Crazy Phil" who came out from under his rock again.

PS Unity-speak might be first on the list.
User avatar
Warren Smith
Posts: 894
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:41 am
Location: Sonora

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by Warren Smith »

Phil,

Now, now - let the next generation do their thang ... ;-)

Warren
Warren D. Smith, LS 4842
County Surveyor
Tuolumne County
User avatar
Peter Ehlert
Posts: 660
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 2:40 pm
Location: N31°43', W116°39'
Contact:

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by Peter Ehlert »

Warren Smith wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 3:53 pm Phil,

Now, now - let the next generation do their thang ... ;-)

Warren
“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Peter Ehlert
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

Business plan is one item, and it's not that hard. Most college kids you wish got into surveying can do it.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

hellsangle wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 3:42 pm Wow!

With all this highfalutin talk . . . sounds like government-speak or largess-business-speak! The more complicated one makes things - nothing will get done. We can't have it all.

May I suggest this? State ONE task. Accomplish that and go to the next. (The trick is get the first stated task done. If not - you're urinating up a rope!)

Yeah, it's "Crazy Phil" who came out from under his rock again.

PS Unity-speak might be first on the list.
It IS business speak. It's something that seems to be lacking, a dose of bigger picture thinking. I'm not trying to get anything more done than gather information and see if it is possible to develop some sort of a general outline. That's ONE TASK. A version of Make a list.

One of the things I pointed out, and this can be our strength and our weaknesses, is that most surveyors are micro task oriented. It becomes a strength or a weakness depending on when and how it's used. Some tasks need it, others require a different approach.

Unity speak, I'm not looking for unity. I'm trying to provoke thought, hopefully a big picture thought for the moment. We can get back to smaller tasks few moments later. They are not going to disappear just because we looked at something else for a moment.

If everyone thinks alike, no one is thinking.
Mike Mueller
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:53 am

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by Mike Mueller »

In my mind CLSA is a two level organization, much like the federal government.

Top Tier = State level
First and foremost goal: Lobbying/Legislative action.
Our leg committee is doing what its supposed to. Without our combined moral weight, our leg committee will lose its ability to do anything as no one in Sac will listen or care. This is what CLSA was originally founded for, and I think it is still its most important function. Everything else is just gravy except for the fact that "everything else" is useful to keep our numbers up enough to provide that moral weight.

Second and much further down the list in priority: Support local efforts with money and expertise, much like a business franchise. The local folks supply all the umph, and state can provide a framework, contacts, general marketing etc.

Lower Tier = Chapter level
This is were all the work really should be done.
Consider PPC committees. At the local level they provide a wonderful service of spreading the blame and "narc" reputation from a single person confronting a bad actor. The state level PPC doesn't have the time, or sufficient local understanding, to address complaints. The state level should be providing some blank forms, or compiling stats from the local chapters, things like that.

Consider Trigstar. Without a local effort, it is impractical to expect the state level to accomplish much as it generally required someone to setup a room, bring pizza, contact highschools etc etc. However without the state and national level support, trigstar would wither and die as various local efforts waxed and waned due to the natural cycle of enthusiasm that volunteer groups seem to experience. (Personally I always wondered why we were part of Trigstar, as I have never heard of anyone who participated in Trigstar becoming a surveyor locally, but it was still a good thing to do in my mind, even if it didn't directly support surveying.)

Regardless of Trigstar's effectiveness on recruiting new surveyors, I still see it as a great approach to a more surveying directed effort. For example we could have a yearly "Geo Cacheing Easter Egg Hunt" where each chapter hid a few prizes geo cache style with $100 prizes or some such. State level could sponsor a $1000 prize for best location pictures, or best Tik Tok video of the journey. Use it as a crowd sourced content provider, like how Cal Surveyor does the photo contest. Consider how much attention Forest Fenn got for hiding some random treasure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenn_treasure)

Mikey Mueller, PLS
Sonoma County
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

Excellent thoughts!!!! Thanks!
TTaylor
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:17 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by TTaylor »

Well, I think this is a good brain storming activity that can provide a lot of food for thought.

I will basically confine my suggestion to a particular idea.

CLSA has a management company that handles the day in and day out activities of the Association. Mostly Administrative, Setting up meetings and conferences, and keeping the minutes of meetings among other things.

The Executive Board and the Directors are all volunteer and have other responsibilities to attend to limiting the amount of time they can devote to the Association. IMO, the Board of Directors is far to big and unwieldy for making decisions. Some of the chapters are active, communicate important info, and are proactive on issues facing the profession. Other chapters meet once a month to see friends and collegues, get drunk, and crack wise.

Many of the Directors show up to the quarterly meetings woefully unprepared to conduct business.

So, my suggestion? I think CLSA should have a full time paid PLS on staff to help keep the executive board informed and on track and to communicate important info to the directors and members as well as take on special tasks as directed by the Executive Board.

The mechanics could be tricky. Maybe hired through our management company where CLSA pays the salary and Administrative costs to the company.

2 cents

TT, PLS
DWoolley
Posts: 588
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Orange County
Contact:

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by DWoolley »

TTaylor wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:55 am ...
So, my suggestion? I think CLSA should have a full time paid PLS on staff to help keep the executive board informed and on track and to communicate important info to the directors and members as well as take on special tasks as directed by the Executive Board.
...
TT, PLS
I agree with Tom's idea. CLSA would benefit from an ambassador to advocate for the land surveying profession fulltime. The land surveyors need a full time advocate to represent the profession on several fronts.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the land surveyors are losing ground. I was recently reviewing a Project Labor Agreement. The PLA exempts all professionals from the agreement - except land surveyors. Land surveyors are classified as laborers. Anyone advocating for the professional status of the land surveyors in these PLAs? Nope. I have a meeting with the folks that executed the PLA to discuss the land surveying details with an agency I have no intentions of working with. This is precisely the look of deregulation.

We are witnessing the land surveyor's professional services marketplace collapse. The Alamo will be public agencies - working for (employee) or with (contractor) these folks.

Under 40? What do you think you will be doing in 10 years? Better look towards retooling your career path, seriously.

DWoolley
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

TTaylor wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:55 am Well, I think this is a good brain storming activity that can provide a lot of food for thought.

I will basically confine my suggestion to a particular idea.

CLSA has a management company that handles the day in and day out activities of the Association. Mostly Administrative, Setting up meetings and conferences, and keeping the minutes of meetings among other things.

The Executive Board and the Directors are all volunteer and have other responsibilities to attend to limiting the amount of time they can devote to the Association. IMO, the Board of Directors is far to big and unwieldy for making decisions. Some of the chapters are active, communicate important info, and are proactive on issues facing the profession. Other chapters meet once a month to see friends and collegues, get drunk, and crack wise.

Many of the Directors show up to the quarterly meetings woefully unprepared to conduct business.

So, my suggestion? I think CLSA should have a full time paid PLS on staff to help keep the executive board informed and on track and to communicate important info to the directors and members as well as take on special tasks as directed by the Executive Board.

The mechanics could be tricky. Maybe hired through our management company where CLSA pays the salary and Administrative costs to the company.

2 cents

TT, PLS
Great Ideas. This could be done I would imagine in some form.
There's also one component that we are missing, which was present in other (successful) non profits where I volunteered over the years.
People tend to volunteer for a variety of reasons, their 'payoff' so to speak, or motivator is seeing some of these efforts come to fruition and help. I am not seeing much of this dynamic happening within CLSA. In part I believe some if it comes down to our leadership expanding the role of what it means to lead CLSA (this would include some learning, even on parts of those who think they've arrived).

Another component is, as you said, with volunteering, everyone has very limited time, to accomplish things you have to motivate a pretty wide audience. To do this we need to involve non licensed people, and give them more opportunities to get invested in the organization.

As far as communication, and CLSA presence, when you attend conferences, many prominent surveyors will attend. In part being representatives of CLSA often barely crosses their mind. Why? I would venture a hypothesis that CLSA has not given them food for thought or tools to know how to represent it.

I'm trying to keep a bit of running lists of concerns and ideas, so we can see a number of them in one spot and maybe start sorting and prioritizing. You know like writing a proposal for a large project, understand the RFP first, work out a skeleton plan of how to do the project, then figure out who and how and when.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

DWoolley wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:41 am
TTaylor wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 4:55 am ...
So, my suggestion? I think CLSA should have a full time paid PLS on staff to help keep the executive board informed and on track and to communicate important info to the directors and members as well as take on special tasks as directed by the Executive Board.
...
TT, PLS
I agree with Tom's idea. CLSA would benefit from an ambassador to advocate for the land surveying profession fulltime. The land surveyors need a full time advocate to represent the profession on several fronts.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the land surveyors are losing ground. I was recently reviewing a Project Labor Agreement. The PLA exempts all professionals from the agreement - except land surveyors. Land surveyors are classified as laborers. Anyone advocating for the professional status of the land surveyors in these PLAs? Nope. I have a meeting with the folks that executed the PLA to discuss the land surveying details with an agency I have no intentions of working with. This is precisely the look of deregulation.

We are witnessing the land surveyor's professional services marketplace collapse. The Alamo will be public agencies - working for (employee) or with (contractor) these folks.

Under 40? What do you think you will be doing in 10 years? Better look towards retooling your career path, seriously.

DWoolley
I've seen a number of nonprofits and professional organizations do something similar, including the swimming one where i was a marketing chair for a while.
Before doing that, the executive committee, standing committees, ad hocs and regional chapters all got together and worked on a business and marketing plan. It was an iterative effort lasting about a year where a lot of overarching ideas, questions, needs, concerns etc were, well first tossed into one brainstorming pot, and then we started sorting, prioritizing, figuring out what we want to be, what it would take to get us going on that path etc... then eventually down to specific things that can be done to start moving the mountain.
Some of those specifics included hiring representative staff. The key thing is that staff you hire are not the ones who drive the organization, or organize the efforts, they need this done before hand, so they can jump in and start 'representing'. Directors are who define the organization and it's direction.

I know we have some rudiments of this done and posted on our site. It's a great start. Developing this for our organization, I expect to see a 50 to 100 page document with summary and several levels of detail drilled down. Then as the we go through time, this document is periodically revised. For example, where I work a business plan is a living document, it means it is revised constantly, as any aspect of conditions change.

Things are collapsing and most sureyors don't know what to do because we are disorganized, and in the areas where we may be organized the information is not getting out there. We have some, fairly lone, pockets of effort.

I mean look at it, many of CLSA directors an participants can't even get their own staff interested in CLSA membership.

Dave, I think a lot of people sees what you are talking about, but most people don't know what to do, where they can make an impact, how to get organized, whose responsibility is to do what. At least that's what I see when I discuss these things with people I talk to.
User avatar
LS_8750
Posts: 973
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:36 pm
Location: Sonoma
Contact:

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by LS_8750 »

To re-imagine CLSA I suppose is to step back and take a look at where land surveying has come from and where it is going.

The unions are content to hold a stick and punch wood in the ground. So be it.

The GIS and remote sensing folks are rudderless without an understanding of geodesy, accuracy and/or why they can't just plop into their database whatever it is that they refer to as so called "millimeter" or "survey grade" accuracy. Hat tip to scallywag Low Distortion Projections Mr. Woolley.

Grab your PLS license and go be an executive in the sort of outfits that do the GIS work and couple that work with your boundary and easement and legal support expertise. You as a PLS will be fine.

They need you more than you need them.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

LS_8750 wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:26 am To re-imagine CLSA I suppose is to step back and take a look at where land surveying has come from and where it is going.
Very good point!
LS_8750 wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:26 am The unions are content to hold a stick and punch wood in the ground. So be it.
Unions are good at producing what I would call "Field Technicians", and those could have a pretty high degree of skill. In my personal opinion, one is about half ways there to being a seasoned professional at that level. There is a lot more development that can occur after one is a certified union party chief. This could be a strength or a weakness.
It is a strength when we realize that not everyone is going to reach, hypothetically speaking a PhD level of expertise - and this is ok, there are different tasks that need to get done in surveying. They can be done by people who are still growing, or they can be done with people who are content at their level. Both of those types have pluses and minuses. Someone who grows fast will outgrow a position fast and possibly need to be replaced (in order to keep them). The other person may not fulfill our expectations when it comes to growth. Whether those are strengths or weakness depends on how we manage them. This is where some business management and planning expertise can come in handy.

LS_8750 wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:26 am The GIS and remote sensing folks are rudderless without an understanding of geodesy, accuracy and/or why they can't just plop into their database whatever it is that they refer to as so called "millimeter" or "survey grade" accuracy. Hat tip to scallywag Low Distortion Projections Mr. Woolley.

Grab your PLS license and go be an executive in the sort of outfits that do the GIS work and couple that work with your boundary and easement and legal support expertise. You as a PLS will be fine.

They need you more than you need them.
exactly, and that can be an opportunity. Right now there is a goo amount of bad blood between surveyors and GIS folks. A missed opportunity. I can just imagine a number of 'cantankerous ole surveyors' being grumbly about GIS and contributing to this state of affairs. I'm sure the GIS side has it's share of grumpy people, I get to interact with surveyors more than GIS people....

So, an opportunity (GIS etc..) and a weakness (the grumpy negative oipinionatedness)

Good Thoughts!!! Thank You for that.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

As I am going through our annual management training modules, there was ne of the basic tenents of strategic planning: "Identify core issues and problems you are trying to solve before rounding up the team of experts. Understanding the issues is a part of designing a solution.

This is really not that much different than basic boundary analysis, do your research and understand the task at hand before collecting the field data and then analyzing it all together to come up with solutions. In business, it is not a single solution but a group of measures and efforts. Not unlike the bundle of rights, it's not a single item, but a system.
CBarrett
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:55 pm

Re: Reimagining our CLSA

Post by CBarrett »

To add to the pile of tidbits - we could have stronger representation with technical advisory committees - for example when it comes to many local agencies, municipalities, utilities and related associations (engineering, GIS, Architecture etc). I know we have the JPPLC - which is active with policing professional practices and creating new legislation. I think reaching additional technical advisory committees may be going under-exploited.
Post Reply