by Larry Leso, PE, PLS, survey division manager
I’ve learned a few things over my 22-year career with Pennoni and I think Surveyors Week is a great time to share and look back at the lessons I’ve learned along the way. The wisdom imparted on me helped me become a better leader, employee, surveyor and person, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share that wisdom with you.
Mentorship. Having a mentor and being a mentor are so important when growing a team and continuing the legacy. Glenn McAllister, PLS, played a major role in where I am today. From the first day we met, (when I was 21 years old and in my fourth year at Drexel), he made his pitch that if I became a surveyor, I would be an even better engineer. He not only encouraged me to get my land surveying degree but helped me along the way and was there with me to complete my senior project. Not a day would go by where I wouldn’t learn something from him, and even now, not a day goes by that I don’t utilize part of the knowledge he shared with me over the years.
Glenn taught me that a crucial part of leadership is knowing your peers. He emphasized how influential it can be to be involved with your colleagues and in front of them to both teach them and cheer them on. I try to stress the importance of continued education and client and community involvement. In doing so, we have been able to double the surveying team in just a few months.
Continue education. My continued education has helped push the needle in my career and I encourage my peers to do the same. In the last few months alone, I completed the required training and was part of the inaugural class of Certified Floodplain Surveyors (CFS) in the State of New Jersey. After an intense 3-day course and 4-hour exam, this certification allows me to be one of only 52 surveyors north of the Mason-Dixon line with this designation.
Community involvement and client relationships. Staying involved in the community and with clients is crucial to building relationships and earning work. I have been active in the community on the state and national levels. As elected vice president of the executive board of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors (PSLS), I’ve worked with a committee for the past three years to rewrite the Standards of Practice for Pennsylvania Land Surveyors. PSLS advocates for professional land surveyors and provides them with the resources to continue their training, education and networking, something I encourage my own team to do. I also serve as a subject matter expert (SME) for the Pennsylvania State Specific Exam, where my role includes the writing and reviewing of questions that will appear on the State Specific Exam for surveyors wishing to become licensed in Pennsylvania. Being involved in the community is a great way to stay connected, build relationships and earn work.
While I’ve worked hard along the way, over 22 years later, I can credit a lot of my success to those who helped me get there. I have since turned Glenn’s saying around. I am a better surveyor because I’m an engineer, but more importantly I am the surveyor that I am because of him. I’ve learned and grown so much in my time at Pennoni and I hope to impart these lessons on those who come after me. As we celebrate National Surveying week, think about those that mentored you throughout your career and find someone, or a couple of someones, that you can mentor and encourage to help keep our profession strong.