The Official T.S.P.S. Chapter 5 Newsletter
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Words of Wisdom
If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.
" - Ray Kroc
Welcome New Chapter 5 Members…
Chapter 5 continues to grow. Be sure you encourage your fellow employees and staff to join TSPS and become involved in the premier surveying network in Texas.
If you are an existing TSPS member, remember to renew your membership.
A Professional Observation… submitted by Patrick Baldasaro, RPLS
DID I SAY WHAT I MEANT?
I recently spoke with a friend, who also happens to be a real estate attorney (attorney’s need friends too), just to catch up, as we periodically do. Our typical conversations are pretty mundane, and this one was no exception. That is until he happened to say something that was pretty disturbing to me. During the course of our conversation, he mentioned that on occasion, he had difficulty reading legal descriptions (more in regards to this terminology shortly). Unfortunately he wasn’t referring to his eyes, or lack of ability to sound out big words. What he was actually saying was: he had difficulty interpreting legal descriptions. Like any of you would do, I quizzed him: was it the bearings that he didn’t get? Did he not understand the concept of metes and bounds? To my dismay, he was in full understanding of the fundamentals of legal descriptions; it was the language being used that was causing problems.
This was a wakeup call. A realization that I have to be more aware of the words I use and how those words may be interpreted. We all must be more aware. Too many words, not enough words, misused words, words that contradict oneself; these are all potential problems. This begs a larger question, who else is having difficulty? Clients? Property Owners? Worse yet, a trial attorney? The point here is not to imply we need to make wholesale changes to the way we write, or some type of universal guideline is necessary, but rather remind everyone that it is not just other surveyors who read these Legal Descriptions. Granted, we surveyors are typically the ones that work with these descriptions and left to decipher the writings. But I would go on to say Legal Descriptions should be, to borrow a phrase, “clear, concise and unambiguous”, to all who may read them, even those dreaded attorneys. One of the beauties of the survey industry is it affords us all the flexibility of our own writing style and our own distinct cadence. Having said that, we all still should have the same goal: concise clarity.
I feel fortunate to share many friendships with some of the finest and knowledgeable surveyors, who also willingly share their wealth of knowledge. I mention this because I truly feel this may be one of the most underutilized resources. For example, a pier of mine, who I also feel is a good friend, questioned one of my writings. My ego’s first instinct was to shoot back an immediate defense. However, before I could verbally mount a response, logic set in, he was right. This was not a “….I see your point, but..” moment, but rather a full blown “I was wrong and he was right” moment. I will admit, eating a humble sandwich isn’t the tastiest meal, but I also knew a greater fact. At that instant I became a better surveyor than I had been the day before. Albeit our relationship had a lot to do with us being candid with each other and thereby not immediately throwing up our guard. We mutually understand we are both sharing knowledge to one another for the purpose of making the other a better surveyor. I am not here to contend all surveyors need to find a buddy, share what we know, and then get a warm and fuzzy feeling. This would be missing the point entirely. The point I think that needs to made is, we all must remain open to learning, whether it is through colleagues, mentors, books, seminars, case law readings, or whatever source we can get our hands on. I also think a secondary point can be made as well. We all learned our craft somewhere, probably from someone, but we cannot make the assumption it was the clearest way or the most concise way. Do not misinterpret that statement, this is not to say it wasn’t the clearest and most concise way, I am saying just do not assume so. My point is merely to say keep an open mind, have a willingness to improve oneself if the opportunity presents itself. This is where we must overcome complacency. I will be the first to admit, some of my early writings are less than desirable. Not that they were wrong or incorrect, but just not as clear as if I had done them over knowing what I know now.
I realize this may appear to oversimplify things. I, like most of you, have clients to which you must answer. Whether it is a property owner, a title company, or a municipality, many times we have to conform to their likings to keep the process moving forward. I am sure I am not the only surveyor out there that thought a few comments were just a tad silly, if not just downright incorrect. We have to all rely on our professional judgment to distinguish what we want to question and when it is easier simply to comply. There are times I may think some review comments are bizarre, add nothing more than more words, or merely unnecessary, and there are times it is just easier to address a comment as long is it really has no impact on the document. Most of us would agree happy clients are much easier to work with. That being said, we cannot rely on a reviewer to be the judge and jury. We must decide for ourselves: do any of these comments cause confusion? Create a patent or latent ambiguity? Or create a situation where the writing could be misconstrued? We cannot put ourselves at risk for the sake of making a client and/or reviewer happy. I am going to go out on a limb here and say I am pretty confident that the defense “they told me to do it that way” would not be received well by the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying, or worse yet in a court of law. Now, for the most part that was a bit of an exaggeration to get your attention. In reality, I think most of these situations are easily resolved with a simple conversation between the surveyor and reviewer. Obviously it is also in their best interest to have the strongest defensible product as well. But I needed to get your attention because I cannot stress enough (1) it is your name, seal, and signature on the document and (2) it will be you, and only you, that maintains the responsibility to defend the document.
More food for thought: unfortunately, most conveyances filed in our local courthouses only include the Legal Description and not the actual boundary survey map or plat for which it is describes. As you can see, anyone obtaining a deed from the courthouse may not have the luxury of being able to reference the full boundary survey report for clarification if needed. I would be shocked if many of you haven’t found yourselves wishing you had a graphic of boundary survey report with that deed because you just couldn’t get the metes and bounds to work correctly, or the way it was worded caused serious confusion. Getting exhibits filed with the Legal Descriptions is a topic for discussion for another day, but this also highlights the need for well written and concise legal descriptions.
Now, back to the terminology I have selected to use. I chose the term “Legal Description” with the idea most would immediately know what I am referring to. Other common references are “metes and bounds description” and “field notes”. All of these terms have become interchangeable vernacular within the survey industry. However, a good friend and mentor, pointed out, and rightfully so, that there are distinct meanings to these terms. I acknowledge that “land description” is probably a more appropriate term to use on a broad basis, but for the purpose of this writing I felt “legal description” would be acceptable given I did not specify the context in which I was using it. I would encourage all to research these distinctions, however, my purpose was not to debate these distinctions.
This writing is purposely free of any examples or any “do’s and don’ts”. I do not want to give the impression that I am somehow an authority on Legal Descriptions. Quite honestly, my opinions hold no greater stature than any other Register Surveyor. However, I do feel reviewing our Legal Descriptions have to reach beyond merely confirming that Bearings and Distances match a closure sheet. In my humble opinion, if a description has to be read more than once to understand it, it probably isn’t as clear as it could be. Or if a term used has a secondary meaning, or could be construed differently, it is probably a good idea to use an alternate term. Through all my ramblings, it is my hope the overriding theme taken from this would be: this is not so much about how we write, this is more about reminding us all of the importance of what we write.
In the Rearview Mirror…
June 12 Chapter Meeting Recap: Attendees were treated to an interesting presentation by Sally Rodriguez from the City of Dallas on the history of White Rock Lake. Sally had plenty of old photos, some of familiar White Rock locales, and some of items that no longer exist. Attendees enjoyed the look back at one of Dallas’ gems.
Members are reminded that the next TSPS Board of Directors Meeting will be held on August 18 at the La Torretta Lake Resort at Lake Conroe near Montgomery, TX (north of Houston), and that the annual Strategic Planning will occur August 17 at the same facility. Both events are open to any member of TSPS, and attendance and participation is strongly encouraged.
SURPAC donations at the June meeting totaled $110.00. The total for 2012 from Chapter 5 now stands at $910.00. Members should realize that with a legislative session looming and the political winds continuing the march to cut spending and limit the size of government, there is a very real likelihood of renewed consolidation efforts that will face surveyors. So, raising funds takes on much importance…please contribute what you can.
GOLF TOURNAMENT RECAP
13th Annual Tim Mireur Memorial Golf Tournament
On June 2nd, the TSPS Dallas Chapter 5 sponsored the 13th Annual Tim Mireur Memorial Golf Tournament. This year’s event hosted 88 players and 11 Hole Sponsors. This was a great turnout.
This tournament was initiated 13 years ago for some camaraderie with the local surveyors. The tournament continues to grow in popularity each year, and now includes family members, clients, vendors and suppliers, engineers, architects, and other professionals and non-professionals in our industry. It is not only a chance to play golf with some buddies and/or co-workers, but a great avenue for building client relations and networking.
This year kicked off with breakfast tacos sponsored by Richard Ortiz and Courthouse Research Specialists...great start to the day. Then after play, everyone returned to the clubhouse for a fantastic lunch from Texas de Brazil. It doesn’t get much better then that!
After lunch we completed the event by presenting awards and door prizes. The 1st Place team was comprised of Chris Cox, Dustin Youngman, Justin Waldrip and Mike Cox, Runners Up were Jeremy Pitts, Scott Levy, Jeff DeLaughter and David Wirt, and the 3rd Place Team was Zach Buchanan, Mark Oman, Doug Loomis and Jason Lashlee. Additional awards given included the Longest Drive which was won by Tris Tipton. Of course Tris also received the “holy grail” of this tournament, which is a hard-hat with a tee and TSPS golf ball on top…nice touch.
The largest accolade for this tournament is that a portion of the proceeds are given to Dallas Chapter 5 and designated for scholarships and education. These monies will be used to pay for survey-related classes, books and calculators for our local survey students. This is a tremendous opportunity to promote our industry and enhance the awareness of land surveying at the local level.
Every year we have several companies and individuals that sponsor this tournament. This year the Hole Sponsors included the following:
Courthouse Research Specialists
Dal-Tech Engineering, Inc.
Geomatic Resources LLC
Halff Associates, Inc.
Lina T. Ramey & Associates, Inc.
North American Western Data Systems, Inc.
Surveying and Mapping, Inc.
Surveying Consultants, Inc.
The Wallace Group, Inc.
TSPS Fort Worth Chapter 2
Thanks to these sponsors we are better able to promote our local survey classes.
We need to give Special Thanks to Duane Horning and GeoShack (previously Midwest). They give extra each year and this year was no exception, with them providing the 1st Place prizes (putter and wedges), 1 additional drink tickets for each player, and several more door prizes. They always go above and beyond!
We would also like to recognize TSPS Fort Worth Chapter 2 for assisting in this fundraiser, and promoting these survey classes and students. With Dallas and Fort Worth being so close in proximity, there is a lot of overlap of students and instructors for these classes. Participation from both Chapters is a great testament to that partnership.
Once we balanced the income and expenses, the Chapter netted $2,402.67 to go towards Education. This is the fifth year that this tournament has provided funds to local scholarships, and the total amount donated for these 5 years is $12,879.75. That is really fantastic!!
If anyone needs more information on how these funds are designated, please contact either John Pierce (214.631.7888) or Chris Freeman (214.979.1144).
Thanks again for everyone who participated, and another Special Thanks to our sponsors!! I look forward to our 14th Tournament next spring.
Sean M. Flaherty
Committee Reports: were provided by various Chairmen:
(Justin Waldrip): Chapter 5 currently has 161 members in the following categories:
(Gary Matthews): John Pierce reports the following activity related to the Trig*Star program, a high school outreach. Due in large part to John’s relentless involvement, this initiative is undoubtedly the strongest Trig*Star activity of any TSPS chapter. The Dallas Chapter mailed 162 letters to every high school in the seven county area in January advertising Trig*Star, and 13 schools requested packets. Of the 13 schools, 9 returned the completed packets, with a total of 163 students participating, and a total of 8 scores of 100, which is low. The survey problem was tough. Jasper High School had the Texas State winner, a 10th grader named Angela Zhang, in a time of 19 minutes 40 seconds. Also due to a lack of volunteers from Chapter 2, we gave the Trig*Star exam to Guyer High School in Denton, with 71 students taking the exam, with 75 being the highest grade. So all in all, the Dallas Chapter gave the exam to 234 students.
(John Pierce) (John Pierce) John will administer the CST Level 1 test to 2 Duncanville H.S. students who scored more than 70 on the written portion of the Skills State Survey Contest back in March.
The next Certified Survey Technician testing is scheduled for Saturday September 8 at the DFW Education Center of North Lake College.
A reduced fee (for TSPS members) 8 hour CEU seminar is scheduled for Friday July 13. This first time event will be held at the Halff Associates office in Richardson, but also offered via telecast at any Halff Associates office across the State. The topic will be the History of the Texas Public Domain, presented by Terry Cowan, a licensed Surveyor and Instructor at Tyler JC. Details and registration is available via www.tsps.org homepage.
(John Pierce): General fund total is $2,713.00, and the Scholarship Fund totals $2,980.00.
Additional scholarship funds totaling $2,402 were generated from the Annual Golf Tournament, according to final numbers released by Tournament Chairman Sean Flaherty. The Tournament averages about $2,500 a year for the Chapter scholarship fund.
(Randall Marshall): The Texas State high school winning team from Mansfield High School was planning on attending the SkillsUSA National Convention in Kansas City in late June. They will be providing a demonstration of the Texas State Competition so that reps from other states can observe and take ideas back to their state for possible survey competitions.
(Paul Mannel): Members are encouraged to submit ideas for Chapter meeting programs to Chairman Paul Mannel. Next up on July 10 is TBPLS Investigator Garey Gilley, who will discuss proposed rule changes being considered by the TBPLS. Come join us.
(Chris Freeman): The Special Meeting of the TSPS Board of Directors held in Austin on June 6 resulted in the approval to hire DJ Kyle as the new TSPS Executive Director. Jerry Lehew represented Chapter 5 by proxy since Chapter Rep Chris Freeman was attending the Chapter Golf Tournament.
Nominations for State Board of Director positions are open. If you are interested in serving on the TSPS Board, or know of a worthy candidate willing to serve, please contact Chris Freeman or Nominating Committee Chairman John Watson.
Marcelino Estrada has been hired as the new Executive Director at the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying. The Board is working with TSPS on potential legislative items (see Chapter Rep Report above). Also, TBPLS Investigator Garey Gilley will speak at the July 10 Chapter meeting to go over the proposed rule changes that will be considered by the TBPLS at their August Board meeting.
On the Horizon ...
Chapter 5 elections are upon us, and the ballot will be prepared and distributed soon. Nominations for 2 Directors and Chapter Officers are welcome, and should be directed to any current Chapter 5 Officer. The future of the Chapter depends on volunteers willing to serve in leadership positions.
The next TBPLS Board Meeting is scheduled for Friday August 10 in Austin, and 4 CEUs are awarded to attendees of TBPLS Board meetings. See their website for meeting location and agenda information. (www.txls.state.tx.us).
Chapter 5 is presenting a reduced fee 8 hour CEU seminar. History of the Texas Public Domain will be presented live by Terry Cowan, RPLS, and Instructor at Tyler JC at the Halff Associates office in Richardson on Friday July 13. Additionally, attendees can attend the seminar via simulcast at any Halff Associates office in Texas (Ft. Worth, Houston, McAllen, San Antonio, Austin). Fees are $120.00 for TSPS RPLS, $60.00 for any para-professional (no CEU’s awarded), and $220.00 for non-TSPS RPLS. A light breakfast and a lunch, as well as course materials, are included in the fee. This unique and innovative offering at a bargain price is provided as an incentive to those RPLS who are TSPS members.
The next regularly scheduled TSPS Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 18 from 1-4 p.m. at the La Torretta Resort & Spa on Lake Conroe near Montgomery, Texas. Also, various committees will be meeting and discussing their activities in the morning, so it’s a great time to get involved and offer your expertise and energy. Chapter Rep Chris Freeman will be attending to represent Chapter 5. The annual Strategic Planning will occur August 16-17 at the same location, and is open to all TSPS members. If you have any matters that you would like Chris to take to the TSPS Board, feel free to contact him (972-226-8181).
SIT and RPLS Study Groups
The April testing is completed, and results were approved at the June 8 TBPLS Meeting. But if you are preparing for either of the exams for October, the following study groups have proven very helpful for candidates in their preparation. The groups will typically meet in person as the exam day nears.
SIT Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/land_surv/
RPLS Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rpls_study_group/
is looking to hire a part time two man survey crew local to the South Fort Worth area. Pipeline staking/locating/as-built, boundary and Trimble GPS experience are requirements for consideration. Personal truck and equipment is a plus and will be compensated. Successful candidates will be required to pass ongoing drug screenings. Send resume’s to firstname.lastname@example.org
||Courthouse Research Specialists||509 Main St., Suite 333||Dallas, Texas 75001|
|"Your Turn Key Title Solution"||email@example.com
||214.994.9521 mobile||972.346.4267 office
Safety First…..Make it a Priority
Click here for links to various Safety websites that might be helpful to your firm and staff.
Chapter 5 Membership…Recruit a Member!
For 2011 there were 182 members of Chapter 5, including 137 registered members. TSPS encourages all Chapters to work at increasing their membership. Encourage your co-workers, staff, and colleagues to consider joining TSPS. Invite non-members to the meetings. As we witnessed during the past legislative session with the action related to the TBPLS, strength in numbers, with a strong and united voice, will be critical when we likely face the issue again during the 2013 Legislature. If all members would recruit one other member, Chapter 5 would double in size. Justin Waldrip (ARS Engineers, Inc.) is the new Chapter 5 Membership Chairman; contact him or any other Chapter Officer for information or guidance.
2012 Chapter 5 MEETINGS & SPECIAL EVENTS SCHEDULE
Chapter 5 Meetings typically held the second Tuesday of each month at:
| July 10 ||Garey Gilley will discuss proposed rule changes for TBPLS|
| August 14 ||Mark Hanna will discuss the upcoming 2013 legislative session and update on sales tax of survey services|
| September 11 ||New Officer Installation by Curtis Strong |
| November 13 ||Bill Johnson, Jr., "Past, Present, and Future of Aerial Photogrammetry"|
| July 13 ||8 hour CEU Seminar: History of the Texas Public Domain presented by Terry Cowan at Halff Associates office in Richardson at reduced cost of $120.00 for RPLS TSPS members, and $220.00 for RPLS non-members, and $60.00 for para-professionals. Price includes light breakfast and a lunch. Contact Jason Jernigan ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for registration information, or refer to www.tsps.org|
Cantina LAREDO Restaurant
TSPS State Meetings & Events Calendar
165 Inwood Village, Dallas, TX 75209
(Southeast Corner of Inwood & Lover’s Lane, next to Inwood Theater)
Phone: 214/350-5227 www.cantinalaredo.com
Social/Dinner Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (order from the menu)
Chapter Meeting: Business @ 7:00 pm, Program to follow
| August 17-18 || TSPS Strategic Planning in Montgomery (north of Houston)|
| August 18 || TSPS Board of Directors Meeting in Montgomery |
| October 10-13 || Annual Convention in San Marcos|
| October 11 || TSPS Board of Directors Meeting in San Marcos|
Chapter Officers for 2012
The Executive Committee
for Chapter 5 for 2012 is as follows:
Chapter 5 Committee Chairs 2011-12
|Jason Jernigan, RPLS
|Paul Mannel, RPLS
||1st Vice President
|Justin Waldrip, RPLS
||2nd Vice President
|John Pierce, RPLS
|John Melton, RPLS
||1 year Director
||1 year Director
|Randall Marshall, SIT
||2 year Director
|Gary Matthews, RPLS
||2 year Director
|Jerry Lehew, RPLS
|Chris Freeman, RPLS
|Mark Williams, RPLS
THANK YOU ADVERTISERS!
A special THANKS to all the individuals and firms that have renewed their advertising in the Chapter 5 Newsletter. The funds generated from the ads go into the General Fund of the Chapter, and help
with educational and promotional events and activities throughout the year that benefit our members and profession. The rates are purposefully priced at favorable rates to provide maximum benefit to our supporters and sponsors. If you or your firm is interested in adding your business card or larger ad, please contact Chris Freeman (214-979-1144).
TSPS-5 Advertisers should be encouraged to send advertisements in .JPG format at 72dpi/ppi
Business card sized at 2" * 3.5"
Half page ads sized at 5.5" * 4.25"
Full page ad's 11" * 8.5"
Other acceptable image file format as follows: .tif, .bmp, .gif
.PDF are acceptable but require re-formatting which may affect final image quality.
Other file formats will require reformatting and take longer to post.
Advertisements may be sent as stand alone HTML based web code. For more
specific web code advertisement details please contact Chris Freeman at his email
Advertisements should be emailed to Chris Freeman at his email address:
Advertisements should be sent prior to Newsletter posting on the 1st of
Advertising prices are listed on the
TSPS-5.org Pro Listings page.
Thanks to the following Full-Page Ad subscribers:
Courthouse Research Specialists, WDS, and GeoShack.
Be sure to support our friends at these firms, they support us!!
And thanks to the following firms for their contributions to the Chapter by placing a Business card in the Newsletter:
The Wallace Group, Dunaway & Associates, R Delta Engineers, Winkelmann & Associates, Di Sciullo & Terry,
Lamb-Star Engineering, Gonzalez-Schneeberg, and Halff Associates.
Archived News Letters: