Celebrating National Surveyors Week with Stacey Fenn
In celebration of National Surveyors Week, we talked with staff surveyor Stacey Fenn to learn more about her journey as a young professional in the industry.
While attending Lone Star College in Texas, Stacey went through the course catalog with an eye for subjects that aligned with her interests in maps, geology, and land management. This is when she stumbled upon land surveying, which piqued her curiosity. After speaking with her professor and learning about the field’s diverse opportunities, Stacey was inspired to pursue it further. As she took more courses and gained practical experience in the field, her passion for surveying grew, especially as she retraced the steps of previous surveyors out in the field. With encouragement from her family, Stacey ultimately decided that this was the career path for her, and she graduated in 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science in Land Surveying and Mapping.
After graduating, she worked on a 2-person crew before becoming a licensed Certified Survey Technician in 2019. In 2021, she graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. Today, she is currently working towards taking her Professional Surveyors licensing exam while building her experience in the private sector, which consists of research, processing of data, and fieldwork for retracement boundary surveys, ALTA surveys, construction staking for residential and commercial development, elevation certificates, topographic surveys, and as-builts.
When it comes to surveying, Stacey says it has been the most rewarding career. “It has been gratifying because of what we, as professionals, can provide for the public and our clients. As surveyors, we are collectors of evidence, expert measurers, and error managers.” She explains that multiple paths can be taken in the surveying profession, such as hydrographic surveying, forensic mapping, pipeline surveying, retracement of boundaries, route surveying, and aerial surveying. For someone interested in the profession, Stacey advises you to push yourself to find your limitations and what area of surveying you enjoy, then practice it.
The surveying profession is favorable for young professionals, with the recent technological advancement providing more tools and software for them to learn. Additionally, the demand for surveyors is high. The industry has been dealing with declining licensed professionals and technicians. Nationwide surveyors have tried to combat this by lowering the requirement to obtain licensure and promoting the profession through outreach programs. Currently, Michigan has 806 licensed surveyors, and 691 are Michigan residents.
Stacey is an active member of The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors and currently serves as their Young Surveyor Coordinator. Both Stacey and the organization understand the necessity of recruiting surveyors. Often recruitment starts at the local level. This means attending career fairs, participating in local school functions, interacting with affiliated organizations, and engaging with school personnel. While also being a state ambassador for Get Kids into Surveying, one of Stacey’s career goals is to recruit and promote one of the most fulfilling professions. She explains, “There has never been a better time to be or become a surveyor, demand is high, and the profession offers tremendous opportunities, but the best part is you get to be every engineer’s hero!”