Unable to find a satisfactory job and stuck in a job I hated I finally opened up my own Land Surveying Firm in mid 1992. I was 32 at the time and thought that I knew everything about Land Surveying because of my previous experiences. It goes to show you that ignorance is most often a result of arrogance.

As I look back now I realize that I had no idea at that time what I was doing and I am really uncertain at this point how I managed to survive in the beginning. After a couple of bumpy years however the business began to pick up dramatically. The quality of my product began to improve enough that my practice became sustainable. I quickly gained a reputation as being honest and thoughtful. I was thorough and took time forming an opinion that I could support with the facts. As a result of this some of my clients were on the rich and famous side of things which was a source of great pride for me.

One day after a few years in my own business I got a call from an extremely wealthy client who owned a billboard advertising company. He said he needed a survey performed on a property about an hour from the center of the town I was working in. There was nothing unusual about this and he had ordered many other surveys from me in the past. I dispatched a field crew and later even visited the site myself to make sure of all of the evidence. Once again there was nothing unusual about this. The property was in fact vacant save an old billboard at the very edge of the subject tract boundary. The only noteworthy thing about the survey was that that the house on the adjoining property and the billboard were less than 2 feet apart with the boundary of the properties running between them. Somebody had cut notches in the eave of the roof of the house that corresponded with the location creosote wood posts on the billboard even though the edge of the roof of the building and the sign posts were both wholly within their own property and did not touch. As far as I could tell the sign was perpendicular with the earth contrary to what the notches in the house roof indicated. I thought maybe somebody was being careful worrying that the sign may start leaning into the house because violent storms were common in this area. The sign looked like it had been there for a thousand years and I could see nothing indicating that it had anything done to it in years.

I delivered the survey to my client, collected the money and never thought anything about it until I received a phone call from the owner of the billboard advertising company some three weeks later. He informed me that they were in a legal battle with the adjoining property owner with the house and the local City government. He said the adjoining property owner claimed the billboard was on his property and the City government was claiming he had violated a City ordinance for working on the sign. He wanted to hire me to be an expert witness for him and he wanted to see if I was free the next day for the beginning of the trial.

A wave of different emotions swept over me all at once as I listened to him on the phone. First off I was a little upset that he had not told me this was being litigated when I went out to survey it in the first place although I gave him the benefit of the doubt that this matter may have just arisen. The thought of being chosen as an expert witness in yet another legal contest caused my ego to inflate my brain with hot air so fast all the cells were forced out through my ears causing temporary hearing loss. I was angered that some other Land Surveyor would be suggesting my survey of the property was incorrect since I always went way overboard with a search for evidence. I could not fathom a scenario where new evidence the other Land Surveyor might have would be able to overcome the evidence I had found on or near this site locating the boundary of the property.

I agreed immediately to be available and asked to talk to his lawyer and see any evidence that the other Land Surveyor may have. My client faxed me copies of the material sent to him by his lawyer along with his lawyer’s phone number. I reviewed the material late into the evening to try and prepare for the trial the next day. A nagging question kept tugging at me which was why they had not contacted me sooner or why they had not told me about this litigation to begin with when I was hired to do the survey on it. These questions evaporated from my mind when I was reviewing the survey performed by the opposing Land Surveyor and realized that it was substandard and violated State Law. It contained the incorrect reference for the recording information on the face of the survey. It failed to show controlling monuments or much of anything. All it did show was the billboard over the boundary in question. I went to bed confident that I would be able to discredit the other Land Surveyor at the trial.

I woke up early the next morning and got to the trial early so I could get a word with my client’s lawyer. I tried calling my client’s lawyer but just got his voice mail. I got to the courthouse early but the lawyer, client and his witnesses did not show up until the last second.

I sat awkwardly on the defendant side of the courtroom alone while on the other side a small army of lawyers for the City and the adjoining property owner and their witnesses sat. I could not tell who the Land Surveyor was I was facing because there was nothing distinguishing him from everyone else on that side. I started sweating as people on the other side kept looking over at me all alone smiling as if to say “we are going to bury you”. I nervously fiddled with all of the files, drawings and other evidence I had brought with me and drew some comfort from the fact that apparently the other Land Surveyor had brought nothing with him because nobody on the opposing side had anything with them. This gave me confidence that I was going to get my point across no matter who the other Land Surveyor was. Just a moment before the trail started my client, his lawyer and his witnesses came pouring into the courtroom. My client had a small army to match the other side and this boosted my confidence even further. The client seemed defiant and his lawyer confident as I was hustled out of the courtroom to wait my chance to testify.

I identified the other Land Surveyor when he was called to testify. As he came walking out of the courtroom afterward he appeared to me to be old and disoriented which made me think once again that I was doing the right thing with my plan to expose his survey as substandard. I was jacked up when I was finally called and as I walked past my client’s lawyer to go to the stand I bent down and whispered into his ear asking him to quiz me about the other Land Surveyor’s survey. On the stand my client’s lawyer took my advice and I proceeded to crucify the other Land Surveyor for the various deficiencies in his survey. I began to list the violations of State Law which caused the opposing lawyers to object however I had a copy of the law sent to me by the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying among the items I had brought. My client’s lawyer took that from my hand and introduced it into evidence and that is when the judge stopped the trial.

She called me back into her chambers and asked me if I was going to continue attacking the other Land Surveyor. I said I was and told her I would continue until I broke his arm off and totally discredit him if they continued to let me testify. She called the lawyers from the two sides into her chamber and asked me to sit in on the bench in a small hall on the side of the courtroom just outside the door of her chambers and wait for them.

As I sat on the bench I could barely hear the Judge telling my client’s lawyer and the opposing council through her chamber doors that she was going to have to stop the trial and render a judgment in order to save the opposing side embarrassment. I was filled with pride and the thrill of victory listening quietly in the small hallway when my somersaulting ego was interrupted by some snickering and laughing from some people just a few feet away.

The waiting area in front of the main courtroom doors was just around the corner from where I was sitting and apparently a couple of my client’s employees who had been waiting to testify were sitting on benches in front of the courtroom just out of my eyesight. They were talking about the trial but I was having difficulty hearing what they were saying even though they were laughing loudly because they were trying to not let anyone hear what they were saying. I edged a little closer and heard one of them say to the other “our boss is a genius”, the other said “Yea, he really pulled the wool over these suckers eyes.” The snickering rose as I edged even closer to the corner to hear them better. “That plan of his to go out in the middle of the night and straighten the sign and move it onto our property was too bold, I mean what if the tenant living in the house had heard something?” The other replied ”Yea, but they never woke up and nobody is the wiser, that is the quietest I have ever heard you work.” They once again broke out in loud laughter.

I realized that the other Land Surveyor’s survey was correct and that my client had been lying to me all along. I had destroyed another Land Surveyor’s reputation on technicalities when in fact it was I who had been wrong. At first I was horrified and embarrassed but then another emotion started crowding into my mind. A wave of anger began to rise through me and I almost got up to go around the corner and confront them but at that moment my client’s lawyer and the opposing lawyer came out of doors of the judge’s chambers into the hallway I was sitting in and my client’ lawyer leaned over as he was passing and patted me on the shoulder saying “it’s all over, we won.”

I walked out of the courthouse in kind of a fog trailing the entourage that was following my client. They were all congratulating him and slapping each other on the back. The group stopped at the street to wait for the crosswalk light and that was when I took the opportunity to push my way through the crowd to my client. “Don’t ever call me again” I told him. “You lied to me and you caused me to ruin the reputation of another Land Surveyor just for money, you are no client of mine” I said to him angrily.

He looked at me kind of bewildered and then looked at the bewildered faces of each of his employees and lawyer in the crowd surrounding us then looked back at me and broke out laughing hysterically. Everyone else began uproariously laughing as the light changed and they all filed past me as I stood with an expression of rage not moving. The whole group walked off across the street and down the sidewalk laughing and grinning continuing with their celebration, one of the people in the group turned back to look at me as they followed and shot me the bird with his middle finger.

I got several phone calls from them about work I had done previously and they also asked me to bid on some new projects. I always sent back a message saying I was not interested in providing a service and product to them. After a few months the phone calls ceased and I never heard from them again. As a few years of practice stretched into decades of practice my peers, clients and detractors have all said many things about me….but one thing they don’t say is that I lack integrity. This mind set of mine has limited my practice for many years but I will never be bitter about that. For me living a life of virtue was far better than living a life of deception no matter what. When it is all over I can always say, like Frank Sinatra said,….”I did it my way!”

This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network

Views: 579

Find Similar Content by Clicking These Tags ☟
Subject Tags: business, ethics, integrity, land, opinion, practice, professional, surveying, surveyor, wealth

Say Something ⇣

Comments Welcome Surveyor!   Please Sign in or register to continue.

Follow Land Surveyors United :

Reply by Paul Quagge on May 10, 2014 at 2:20pm

Thanks Deward for sharing your experiences. I always learn something from your posts....on a personal note I've always thought that you have to have respect for your self. I believe that respect comes from knowing you have done everything within your power to accomplish your goal within the law. Its hard sometimes to accept that there are others who do not have a sense of right and wrong. In any event thanks again for your post. See you, Paul

Reply by Nick de Weger on May 8, 2014 at 5:24pm
This is wll written and an example of conscience a professional should hav.
Reply by LSU Justin on May 7, 2014 at 12:38pm

Live (Survey) and learn, eh Karl!  Great story buddy...always a good read!  Other surveyors can learn a lot about this lesson.  thanks for sharing it!

Global Trade organization for Professional Land Surveyors and Geospatial Pros. Frictionless GeoCollaboration Surveying Forum and Groups

Contribute and Share

Get Started Guide

Network Feedback

Send Us a Tip

Questions Comments

Help Keep Us Free


What You Missed

M.A.Mithraprema replied to Malik Abdur Rehman's discussion Cross Section & Quantity by VBA in the group Excel Spreadsheets for Surveyors
2 hours ago
M.A.Mithraprema joined Malik Abdur Rehman's group
2 hours ago
Noe Garcia posted a photo
5 hours ago
Mike McCall posted a status
"I am so sorry to Skips family for their loss...I did not know Skip personally, however we spent many hours on the phone talking the old days"
6 hours ago
Mike McCall replied to Kathleen (Kate) Burnham-Evans's discussion Not in Alaska in the group Law Enforcement Applications
6 hours ago
Mike McCall joined LSU Justin's group
6 hours ago
mahmoud mohamed ghoname promoted Kennedy Kwashie Komla's discussion Flood Zonation Maps using (ArcGIS)
6 hours ago
Profile Iconcut fill and Survenator joined LSU Justin's group
6 hours ago
cut fill promoted LSU Justin's group 3D Scanner Support
6 hours ago
cut fill promoted LSU Justin's group 3D Scanner Support
6 hours ago
LSU Justin's 4 groups were featured
7 hours ago
Survenator replied to Phil Fedor's discussion Party Chief/ Drafstman Resume in the group Résumé Review
7 hours ago
Phil Fedor's discussion was featured
7 hours ago
Survenator's discussion was featured
7 hours ago
Survenator replied to Survenator's discussion Google Resume Builder Saves The Day in the group Résumé Review
7 hours ago
Survenator replied to Kathleen (Kate) Burnham-Evans's discussion Not in Alaska in the group Law Enforcement Applications
7 hours ago
Kathleen (Kate) Burnham-Evans's discussion was featured
7 hours ago
Scott D. Warner, PLS's 2 discussions were featured
7 hours ago
Survenator promoted Scott D. Warner, PLS's discussion Crime scene surveying & traffic collision scene surveying.
7 hours ago
Survenator replied to Scott D. Warner, PLS's discussion Crime scene surveying & traffic collision scene surveying. in the group Law Enforcement Applications
7 hours ago

Take This Page With You

follow us in feedly

Take this Page With You

QR Code for This Page: What is this?

Surveyor Support

Surveyor Community Hubs For World Regions

Surveying Hubs For US States

Social Support For Equipment

Surveying Photos by Tag

Surveying Videos by Tag

Engage and Post


Dedicated to the Memory of Skip Farrow (1953-2015)

+ Surveyor Sharer

Drag Button to bookmark bar and view submitted links here.Will soon be moved to a directory

AFGHANISTAN SURVEYORS ALBANIA SURVEYORS ALGERIA SURVEYORS AMERICAN SAMOA SURVEYORS ANDORRA SURVEYORS
ANGOLA SURVEYORS ANGUILLA SURVEYORS ANTIGUA & BARBUDA SURVEYORS ARGENTINA SURVEYORS ARMENIA SURVEYORS
ARUBA SURVEYORS AUSTRALIA SURVEYORS AUSTRIA SURVEYORS AZERBAIJAN SURVEYORS BAHAMAS SURVEYORS
BAHRAIN SURVEYORS BANGLADESH SURVEYORS BARBADOS SURVEYORS BELARUS SURVEYORS BELGIUM SURVEYORS
BELIZE SURVEYORS BENIN SURVEYORS BERMUDA SURVEYORS BHUTAN SURVEYORS BOLIVIA SURVEYORS
BOSNIA & HERZEGOWINA SURVEYORS BOTSWANA SURVEYORS BRAZIL SURVEYORS BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY SURVEYORS
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM SURVEYORS BULGARIA SURVEYORS BURKINA FASO SURVEYORS BURUNDI SURVEYORS CAMBODIA SURVEYORS
CAMEROON SURVEYORS CANADA SURVEYORS CAPE VERDE SURVEYORS CAYMAN ISLANDS SURVEYORS CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SURVEYORS
CHAD SURVEYORS CHILE SURVEYORS CHINA SURVEYORS COLOMBIA SURVEYORS COMOROS SURVEYORS
CONGO SURVEYORS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO SURVEYORS COOK ISLANDS SURVEYORS COSTA RICA SURVEYORS COTE D'IVOIRE SURVEYORS
CROATIA SURVEYORS CUBA SURVEYORS CURACAO SURVEYORS CYPRUS SURVEYORS CZECH REPUBLIC SURVEYORS
DENMARK SURVEYORS DJIBOUTI SURVEYORS DOMINICA SURVEYORS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SURVEYORS ECUADOR SURVEYORS
EGYPT SURVEYORS EL SALVADOR SURVEYORS EQUATORIAL GUINEA SURVEYORS ERITREA SURVEYORS ESTONIA SURVEYORS
ETHIOPIA SURVEYORS EUROPEAN UNION SURVEYORS FAROE ISLANDS SURVEYORS FIJI SURVEYORS FINLAND SURVEYORS
FRANCE SURVEYORS FRENCH GUIANA SURVEYORS FRENCH POLYNESIA SURVEYORS GABON SURVEYORS GAMBIA SURVEYORS
GEORGIA SURVEYORS GERMANY SURVEYORS GHANA SURVEYORS GIBRALTAR SURVEYORS GREECE SURVEYORS
GREENLAND SURVEYORS GRENADA SURVEYORS GUADELOUPE SURVEYORS GUAM SURVEYORS GUATEMALA SURVEYORS
GUERNSEY SURVEYORS GUINEA SURVEYORS GUINEA-BISSAU SURVEYORS GUYANA SURVEYORS HAITI SURVEYORS
HOLY SEE SURVEYORS HONDURAS SURVEYORS HONG KONG SURVEYORS HUNGARY SURVEYORS ICELAND SURVEYORS
INDIA SURVEYORS INDONESIA SURVEYORS IRAN SURVEYORS IRAQ SURVEYORS IRELAND SURVEYORS
ISLE OF MAN SURVEYORS ISRAEL SURVEYORS ITALY SURVEYORS JAMAICA SURVEYORS JAPAN SURVEYORS
JERSEY SURVEYORS JORDAN SURVEYORS KAZAKHSTAN SURVEYORS KENYA SURVEYORS KIRIBATI SURVEYORS
KOREA SURVEYORS KOREA REPUBLIC OF SURVEYORS KUWAIT SURVEYORS KYRGYZSTAN SURVEYORS LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC SURVEYORS
LATVIA SURVEYORS LEBANON SURVEYORS LESOTHO SURVEYORS LIBERIA SURVEYORS LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA SURVEYORS
LIECHTENSTEIN SURVEYORS LITHUANIA SURVEYORS LUXEMBOURG SURVEYORS MACAU SURVEYORS MACEDONIA SURVEYORS
MADAGASCAR SURVEYORS MALAWI SURVEYORS MALAYSIA SURVEYORS MALDIVES SURVEYORS MALI SURVEYORS
MALTA SURVEYORS MARSHALL ISLANDS SURVEYORS MARTINIQUE SURVEYORS MAURITANIA SURVEYORS MAURITIUS SURVEYORS
MAYOTTE SURVEYORS MEXICO SURVEYORS MICRONESIA SURVEYORS MOLDOVA SURVEYORS MONACO SURVEYORS
MONGOLIA SURVEYORS MONTENEGRO SURVEYORS MONTSERRAT SURVEYORS MOROCCO SURVEYORS MOZAMBIQUE SURVEYORS
MYANMAR SURVEYORS NAMIBIA SURVEYORS NAURU SURVEYORS NEPAL SURVEYORS NETHERLANDS SURVEYORS
NEW CALEDONIA SURVEYORS NEW ZEALAND SURVEYORS NICARAGUA SURVEYORS NIGER SURVEYORS NIGERIA SURVEYORS
NIUE SURVEYORS NON-SPEC ASIA PAS LOCATION SURVEYORS NORFOLK ISLAND SURVEYORS NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS SURVEYORS NORWAY SURVEYORS
OMAN SURVEYORS PAKISTAN SURVEYORS PALAU SURVEYORS PALESTINIAN TERRITORY OCCUPIED SURVEYORS PANAMA SURVEYORS
PAPUA NEW GUINEA SURVEYORS PARAGUAY SURVEYORS PERU SURVEYORS PHILIPPINES SURVEYORS POLAND SURVEYORS
PORTUGAL SURVEYORS PUERTO RICO SURVEYORS QATAR SURVEYORS RESERVED SURVEYORS REUNION SURVEYORS
ROMANIA SURVEYORS RUSSIAN FEDERATION SURVEYORS RWANDA SURVEYORS SAINT KITTS & NEVIS SURVEYORS SAINT LUCIA SURVEYORS
SAINT MARTIN SURVEYORS SAINT VINCENT & THE GRENADINES SURVEYORS SAMOA SURVEYORS SAN MARINO SURVEYORS SAO TOME & PRINCIPE SURVEYORS
SAUDI ARABIA SURVEYORS SENEGAL SURVEYORS SERBIA SURVEYORS SEYCHELLES SURVEYORS SIERRA LEONE SURVEYORS
SINGAPORE SURVEYORS SINT MAARTEN SURVEYORS SLOVAKIA (SLOVAK REPUBLIC) SURVEYORS SLOVENIA SURVEYORS SOLOMON ISLANDS SURVEYORS
SOMALIA SURVEYORS SOUTH AFRICA SURVEYORS SOUTH SUDAN SURVEYORS SPAIN SURVEYORS SRI LANKA SURVEYORS
ST. PIERRE AND MIQUELON SURVEYORS SUDAN SURVEYORS SURINAME SURVEYORS SWAZILAND SURVEYORS SWEDEN SURVEYORS
SWITZERLAND SURVEYORS SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC SURVEYORS TAIWAN; REPUBLIC OF CHINA (ROC) SURVEYORS TAJIKISTAN SURVEYORS TANZANIA UNITED REPUBLIC OF SURVEYORS
THAILAND SURVEYORS TIMOR-LESTE SURVEYORS TOGO SURVEYORS TOKELAU SURVEYORS TONGA SURVEYORS
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO SURVEYORS TUNISIA SURVEYORS TURKEY SURVEYORS TURKMENISTAN SURVEYORS TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS SURVEYORS
TUVALU SURVEYORS UGANDA SURVEYORS UKRAINE SURVEYORS UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SURVEYORS UNITED KINGDOM SURVEYORS
UNITED STATES SURVEYORS URUGUAY SURVEYORS UZBEKISTAN SURVEYORS VANUATU SURVEYORS VENEZUELA SURVEYORS
VIET NAM SURVEYORS VIRGIN ISLANDS (BRITISH) SURVEYORS VIRGIN ISLANDS (U.S.) SURVEYORS WALLIS AND FUTUNA ISLANDS SURVEYORS YEMEN SURVEYORS
ZAMBIA SURVEYORS ZIMBABWE SURVEYORS SURVEYORS

Location Based Surveying Practices

Land Surveyors United is the world's FIRST Global Social Network for geospatial professionals. We have dedicated, geolocated support groups for practically every country, continent and state on earth, for you to utilize for building your personal network. We are all essentially concerned with the same issues, no matter where we are located on earth. However, surveying practices and methods vary depending on the geographic location where we work. If you have noticed similarities and differences between the conditions, laws and practices between two or more areas of the world,discuss it in this forum. Build your reputation online by posting relevant discussions in your local group below.

Join and Introduce Yourself in Your Local Geosocial Forum:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Not based in the US? Here are other groups for surveyors around the world to join and contribute knowledge and experiences as a land surveyor:

Africa Asia Australia Europe Russia Canada
Antarctica S.America N. America India Malaysia Caribbean

And more... Find your group forum based on location.

Choose Your Equipment Group Here

Handheld US Social Support for Land SurveyorsNIKON Social Support for Land SurveyorsTrimble Social Support for Land SurveyorsTopcon Social Support for Land SurveyorsSokkia Social Support for Land SurveyorsAshtech Social Support for Land SurveyorsNAVCOM Social Support for Land SurveyorsMagellan Social Support for Land SurveyorsLeica Social Support for Land SurveyorsAltus Positioning Social Support for Land SurveyorsMicroSurvey Social Support for Land SurveyorsJuniper Systems Social Support for Land SurveyorsTraverse PC Social Support for Land SurveyorsCarlson Software Social Support for Land Surveyors

© 2015   © Created by Land Surveyors United

Badges  |  Contact LSU  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service

Live Support