National Surveyors Week at Cox and Dinkins
March 20, 2020
National Surveyors Week is celebrated annually beginning on the third Sunday in March. This event was first recognized nationally under the administration of President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The week is dedicated to publicly promoting the profession of surveying and honoring the contribution of surveyors throughout our nation’s history.
At Cox and Dinkins, surveyors play an integral role in the operation of our business, and in many ways are considered foundational to all that we do. In fact, Cox and Dinkins was established in 1963 with a focus on providing surveying and mapping services to the greater South Carolina area. Even as Cox and Dinkins has expanded its services to include civil engineering and landscape architecture, surveying remains an integral aspect of our business. Whether we are delivering a loan survey for a prospective homeowner or whether we are providing topographical modeling services for an in-house engineering job, we strive to provide all our surveying clients with accurate, “field-to-finish” services to assist them in their goals.
According to a publication about National Surveyors Week by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), “education of the public is the number one goal of National Surveyors Week.” With that in mind, we asked several members of our team, with a background in land surveying, to sit down and answer a few questions about the industry.
Meet the crew
Rob Echols, Jr., PLS, PE
Rob is the Transportation Director at Cox and Dinkins and has been licensed as a Professional Surveyor in South Carolina since 1987.
Don Rawls, Jr., PLS
Don is the Surveying Department Manager at Cox and Dinkins and has been licensed as a Professional Surveyor in South Carolina since 1990.
Fletcher is a Surveying Associate at Cox and Dinkins and will sit for his professional surveying licensure exam in the coming months.
See their responses
What is your background in surveying? How did you get into the profession?
I worked on a survey crew at Florence and Hutcheson as my first summer job during high school. From there, I went on to take surveying courses during my engineering degree at the University of Kentucky which landed me in a 4-week, summer surveying camp as a requirement for graduating. I obtained my LSIT certification as a senior in college, and after graduating joined the engineering staff at Florence and Hutcheson where my background in surveying helped me excel as an engineer. From there I ended up serving as CEO of Florence and Hutcheson, a firm that got its start in the land surveying industry. -Rob
I was taking civil engineering classes at Midlands Technical College, and my wife worked for a local law firm that regularly saw home closing surveys completed by Cox and Dinkins. I was connected with Gene Dinkins through my wife and was hired for a summer field crew job. I really enjoyed the work—especially the ability to work outside, and I have been in the industry ever since. -Don
I have relatives who worked in the surveying profession, and while searching for a summer job during college at USC Aiken, I was hired to work on a field crew in Camden, SC. After finishing up my business management degree at USC Aiken, I enrolled in the Surveying Fundamentals Certificate Program at Midlands Technical College to prepare to take my state licensing exams to become registered as a Professional Land Surveyor. I like that no day in the surveying industry seems the same. I constantly work on new things, and I enjoy the ability to work both in the office and in the field. -Fletcher
What does a surveyor do? How would you describe your job?
Surveyors have the important task of locating and describing, in the field, what is shown on plans and computers in the office. Construction projects rely on accurate, surveying data to locate improvements in the field. Surveyors provide this data. -Rob
When I first started working in the industry, most of my time was spent in the field recording measurements and collecting data. Now, as the Department Manager, I spend a large amount of my time giving oversight to the surveying teams and employees who are responsible for research, drafting, and fieldwork. -Don
Surveyors describe and interpret boundary lines to the general public to help them make sound decisions about their land investments. We prepare maps that show geographic and geospatial data for landscapes in the U.S. and around the world. -Fletcher
What is the importance of land surveying? What should the public know about it?
Surveying is important for defining the legal extents of land ownership—particularly when someone is buying or selling land. Without a survey, you cannot know exactly what land you have ownership over, and the maps which surveyors produce determine what you legally own. Surveyors can help property owners identify any encroachments on their property like fences or easements. That means, sometimes, surveyors are called on the settle the disputes between Hatfields and McCoys. -Rob
Surveying is important to the public because of its ability to help protect an individual’s interest in his or her land. Surveying allows someone to know how, or to what extent, their property can be affected by nature or others, like flooding issues, encroachment issues, or claims made by a neighbor. -Don
Land is a valuable asset, and it’s a good idea to have a survey to know exactly what land you own. We can determine if there are any encroachments onto your property or off of your property. I think the public should know that we exist to serve them. We have to show on our documentation what actually exists, and finding out the truth is in the best interest of the public. -Fletcher
Are there any misconceptions about surveying?
Technology is great and provides us with many wonderful tools, but one of the reasons I think surveying is so important is that what you see on a computer is not necessarily fact—surveyors are tasked with field verifying that information and determining the facts. In that light, surveying is an immensely important job. -Rob
When we go out to survey a piece of property, individuals often think we are there to represent the person who hired us, but we are required to be unbiased in our presentation of our findings. Surveying requires honesty and integrity. So, I think there may be a misconception which casts surveyors in a bad light—we aren’t the enemy. We are just called on to present facts. -Don
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