L-R, Rohland Bryant, PTC, Jared Phillips, Surveyor, Public Works-Pinellas County Government, Charles Arnett, Project Manager-Southeastern Surveying and Mapping Corp and Penny Simone, Public Works-Pinellas County Government
BY J.A. JONES, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — As plans progress toward the establishment of a survey technician training program at Pinellas Technical College (PTC), last month the college hosted a meet-and-greet and planning session for industry professionals.
The event was an opportunity for experts in the field to view the planned curriculum and give feedback on the skills and knowledge needed for entry-level survey technicians.
Attended by more than 20 representatives from some of the industry’s largest employers, including DewBerry, Southeastern Surveying, Florida Design Consultants, George F. Young, King Engineering Associates, Pinellas County Public Works and the City of St. Pete, it was clear almost as soon as the meeting began the those in the room believed the demand for the program was immediate.
L-R, Travis Eustice and Michael Richardson from Element Engineering Group, LLC with Faye Watson and DuWayne Tison, also from Element Engineering
Attendees offered insight into the lack of applicants entering the field, even with the competitive pay and benefits being offered. They discussed the challenges inherent in bridging the gap between older, experienced surveyors preparing to leave the field, and the newer technology being used – more suited to a younger demographic – a situation that is making it hard for the industry to keep up without new blood.
They also gave the proposed curriculum a thorough inspection, noting necessary additions such as on-going math prep necessary for the surveying work.
Long-term educator Rohland Bryant, who served as director of the Public Works Academy he helped to found at PTC, led the meeting. Afterward, he shared his appreciation of the event and offered thanks to each participant and business partner that attended.
“For many programs, an educational institution will develop a program and tell the industry ‘this is what you need.’ For the Surveying Technician Program, we are using an industry-driven approach wherein the surveying industry will tell Pinellas Technical College what needs to be taught,” he said.
Bryant affirmed that the collaborative effort would increase the program’s success.
“The industry will take the lead — with the end result being highly qualified and employable technicians who will fulfill the needs of the surveying industry.”
Faye Watson, founder and director of DAB Community Services, Inc., was instrumental in bringing the idea of a surveying program to Bryant and PTC, said she was most impressed by the sincere and well-thought-out recommendations as industry employers reviewed the proposed curriculum.
This was a clear indication of the effectiveness of an IDA-WDT (Industry Driven Approach to Workforce Development Training),” she said.
This past March, Bryant and Watson reached out to industry experts and employers to confirm the impending shortage of professional surveyors and survey field technicians, and in just a matter of months, program planning has moved quickly.
For more information on the survey technician program planning at PTC, contact Rohland Bryant at (727) 893.2500 ext. 2589, (727) 580.2248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.