Washington: Education and Mentoring

Land Surveyors’ Association of Washington places these crucial goals at its core.
By Aaron B. Blaisdell, PLS

The Land Surveyors’ Association of Washington (LSAW) is a professional organization representing more than 1,200 licensed and non-licensed members practicing in the various disciplines of surveying in Washington state. LSAW was originally formed in 1952 when the first group of united registered land surveyors gathered, mainly to create better standards of surveying, to encourage cooperation among individual surveyors, and to improve and change the then-unrealistic King County planning commission.

Over the years, the goals and direction of the association have evolved into a statewide, unified collaboration that includes providing significant opportunities for its members, which are detailed in its strategic plan developed in 2006. These opportunities provide a continuous stream of information that allows LSAW members to stay current and, in some cases, update their professional surveying practices.

Education is a true strength of the organization, and educational growth is encouraged through annual conferences and seminars. National speakers often contribute to seminars and constitute a major resource for LSAW members. In addition, individual chapters of LSAW provide frequent local talks and sessions to promote group interaction. Often, these discussions grow into statewide seminars because they cover significant topics that affect both the profession and public.

LSAW members must continue their education as a way to stay current with Washington State licensing laws. With this in mind, LSAW has been working with the professional licensing board to encourage proactive and up-to-date programs. As a major proponent of continuing-education regulations, LSAW feels that the public is better served by professional, knowledgeable, and well-informed members.

Mentoring is also a significant goal of LSAW. We strive to provide strong and creative mentoring opportunities, and throughout their careers members continue to develop relationships with each other to encourage involvement and interaction.

The LSAW philosophy has taken a new turn from years past. Like other professional organizations during adverse economic times, LSAW saw a reduction in membership numbers, resulting in a core group of licensed and un-licensed members. Therefore, LSAW must sometimes choose between reducing association costs and reducing future mentoring opportunities. We hope mentoring efforts don’t have to be downgraded because there may come a time when the industry recognizes a shortage of surveying professionals.

LSAW continues to keep its members informed of changes in laws, regulations, and technology. The members work together to protect the principles and practices upon which surveying was built. We are committed to advancing the profession and science of surveying for the benefit of our members and the public. LSAW promotes lifelong learning, high standards of ethics and practice, legislative leadership, and community involvement.
Aaron B. Blaisdell, PLS, is editor and publisher of the Evergreen State Surveyor, LSAW’s newsletter.

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