January 2020

don elder 2020 pres

Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and managed to spend some time away from work with the people and pursuits you care the most about. Since this is my first message as the President of FSMS, I want to thank our members for granting me the responsibility, privilege, and honor of service to our Society. Right off the bat, I would like to draw your attention to two challenges for 2020 that I’m making to every FSMS member.

The first challenge is that to have every member recruit a new member, whether that member is a Full, Associate, Affiliate, Government member, or a Sustaining Firm. 

Membership is at the core of our strength in advocacy for surveyors and mappers, and every member matters. The math is simple – If each of us brings at least one new member in, our membership will double.

The second challenge is that every member needs to support FSMPAC. The regulatory and legislative world is always evolving and the need to proactively protect the public good and defend the profession is very real.  

Supporting the PAC is not about choosing to support a particular political party. The PAC gives us a collective voice and allows our lobbyist and leadership to better develop positive relationships with lawmakers who are educated about the importance of what we do and support constructive policy accordingly. 

Donating to the PAC is even easier now than in past years, as contributions can be made directly through a link on this web page: https://fsms.memberclicks.net/fsmpac 

Compared to other industries, surveyors are not a large group, which makes the support of our PAC by every member that much more critical. Our membership and our PAC are the dual reservoirs from which the Society draws its strength, and these two forces weave through virtually every endeavor we undertake. I cannot overemphasize how important these two elements are for each of us individually and all of us collectively as professionals.

Currently, FSMS is working hard on multiple endeavors, including combatting the rising plague of armed robbery of survey equipment, acquiring increased recurring funding for geomatics education, steering the transition to a new datum in 2022, and working on updating Chapter 177 to address the datum change, among other things. Those items are a small but important cross section of what we have going on, and in the coming months I will have the opportunity to detail other significant things we are working on.

Much of what we do is made possible by a wonderful collective of volunteers at the local and state levels. Whether the role is one on the Board of Directors, serving on a state committee, or helping lead a local chapter, we each owe an ongoing debt of gratitude to everyone who steps up to make a difference.

Our tremendous administrative staff in Tallahassee has done great things for us in their efforts to modernize and streamline Society operations, and their functional and fiscal prudence has improved our agility and ability to get the best value out of our resources for our members. 

Finally, 2019 was a year of many firsts and transitions for FSMS under the outstanding leadership of Dianne Collins. Her determined commitment to the advancement of the Society has made and continues to make the profession better for us all, and I really can’t adequately thank her for what she has put into her Presidency. She’s a tough act to follow, but I am going to do my very best to meet the high bar she has set.

Here’s to a great and profitable year ahead!