Todd Bauer of ForeSight Consulting explains why expertise matters in surveying.
article by Tammy Davis • photography by Steve Vorderman
Though many people assume land surveying only requires a working knowledge of angles and measurements, it takes a lot more than math and mapping tools to know where to draw the line. It also involves a healthy dose of judgment, particularly when past surveys of the same site may vary from current results. Such judgment, the product of the ability to navigate long-held property rights, changing terrain, technological advances, municipal code and human expectations, is how one surveyor distinguishes himself from another.
Todd Bauer, founder and principal of the civil engineering and land surveying firm ForeSight Consulting, explains, “It’s an art and a science. I liken it to law; it’s a practice, and you have to work in lots of different types of projects to understand the complexities of boundary law.”
Continual learning has been the hallmark of Bauer’s career. He got hooked on surveying while he was in college when one of his professors offered him a summer job. As they traveled together between job sites, Bauer’s professor would explain what they had done and why. Bauer hungrily soaked up the commentary that went along with his practical experience.
Thirty years later, Bauer has become an expert in his own right. He has taught surveying courses, served as the president of both the local and the state Society of Professional Land Surveyors, and currently serves on the board of directors of the latter. He has even been called on to offer expert testimony in matters of litigation. And he never shies away from a challenge.
“When a project stretches or challenges you or requires extra work,” says Bauer, “it becomes a growth opportunity.” Above all, Bauer believes that in this profession of measurements, calculations and analysis, the most important element is actually building relationships with people. “If you’re talking to other people, you’re not just living in your own little bubble,” says Bauer. “You can learn from what others have done.” Whether it’s with customers, regulators, inspectors, or colleagues, Bauer stresses the importance of being present, being a resource, and being respectful. “I always work under the assumption that we’re all on the same side and trying to get the same thing done,” says Bauer. “I take the time to understand each project’s requirements so I can perform to them.”
Some people, observes Bauer, approach surveying as if simply applying a formula will produce appropriate results. With all the different variables involved, such methodology rarely yields consistently satisfied customers. Professional qualifications and experience – not just having a license – make a difference.
“Find someone who will put the time in to do it right and do a professional job,” says Bauer. “I’m always going to give my customers a product I’m willing to stand behind.”
FORESIGHT CONSULTING, LLC
1910 Saint Joe Center Road, #51
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
(260) 484-9900 – Fort Wayne
(260) 232-1100 – Auburn
(260) 668-3600 – Angola
(574) 312-7024 – Warsaw
Leadership: Todd Bauer, founder and principal
Products and services: Civil engineering
and land surveying