Nathan Grasfeder Earns Professional Engineer (PE) Licensure   

Nathan Grasfeder Earns Professional Engineer (PE) Licensure

Nathan Grasfeder has officially earned his Professional Engineering License (PE), making him the third professional engineer on the L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) staff. Grasfeder is a civil engineer, specializing in Site Development.  

LIS President Patrick Smith remarked, “The only thing that exceeds the happiness I have for Nathan as he passes this milestone in his career is the confidence I have that we will contribute to this profession for decades to come.” 

Grasfeder holds 10 years of experience within the Construction industry. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) in 2013. He began his career shortly thereafter, when he went to work for Harold Coffey Construction doing large scale sitework.  

For the next four years, he gained hands-on experience in commercial and industrial construction, including how to run survey equipment and an array of construction equipment. In addition, he obtained valuable experience in estimating time and materials for multi-million dollar projects. Once he established a strong foundation in construction, he was hired into LIS as an EIT in 2017. 

“Becoming a Professional Civil Engineer has been a lifelong goal. I knew from the first time I dumped out a load from a TONKA truck that this was the industry for me,” stated Grasfeder. “I was set on going to school for engineering all the way back in middle school, maybe even before then.” 

Grasfeder began his career with LIS just over five years ago as an Engineer in Training (EIT), which is essentially an apprenticeship prior to becoming a professional. In his new role as a PE, Grasfeder will assume a more prominent leadership position within LIS’ engineering department. He will be responsible for more projects while also managing and mentoring the team of EITS.  

“While at LIS, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, sometimes the hard way! I hope that the next ten years of my career are even better than my last 10 years, which has been amazing!” 

Grasfeder is already planning for the future. He wants to earn a PE licensure in Kentucky, and maybe another nearby state. Professional development is also important to Grasfeder. He plans to get more involved in professional engineering organizations including the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and AAEES (American Academy of Environmental Engineers). Participating in organizations such as these provides means for professionals to network and attend activities that promote professional development.  

“Nathan has devoured design concepts while applying his construction knowledge to design some of the most efficient solutions for our clients,” said Smith. “I have noticed that what he does not know, always ends with yet.” 

In order to maintain the professional license, PEs are required to submit 24 Professional Development Hours (PDH) earned through education every two years.  This is to ensure that professionals stay on top of their field and are informed about current rules and regulations.   


National Surveyors Week Highlights Workforce Gap 

National Surveyors Week Highlights Workforce Gap

Celebrated annually during the third week of March, National Surveyors Week brings awareness to the surveying profession and recognizes the contributions of land surveyors and the vital services that they provide to the public. The celebration dates back to 1984, when then-President Ronald Reagan proclaimed it as an industry holiday.  

This year, National Surveyors Week will be celebrated on March 19-25, according to the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). NSPS serves as the voice of surveyors throughout the United States and orchestrates the event each March, with each year focusing on a different theme. This year, the theme is communication, as clear, effective communication is essential in educating the public and our youth about the importance of this profession.  

While sometimes overlooked, land surveying, a profession in which data is collected to create maps and a detailed record of land features, is a viable career that is needed in many industries, including the engineering, construction, forensic, environmental, and hydrography fields, among numerous others. With the average age of a licensed Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) in United States at 57, there could soon be a shortage of surveyors as this age group retires, leaving young people with a large gap in the workforce that will need to be filled. 

Vice President Chris Conrad commented, “As surveyors, like me, continue to get older, it is essential that we educate the younger generation about this vast profession.”   

Individuals pursuing a career in surveying have job opportunities at all levels, with positions available outdoors in a field position or in an office setting. For those who enjoy working with their hands or working outside, positions such as a rodman or party chief may be a good fit. These positions generally provide extensive on the job training, and neither of these roles require a college degree. 

Office positions are also available for those choosing not to further their education. Survey technicians work on Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to draft, design, and layout surveys. Technicians provide support to project managers and survey crews and play a key role in projects. While specialized software experience is necessary for these positions, a degree is not required. 

For those seeking a professional path, professional licensure is available. To become a Registered Land Surveyor (RLS), a person should obtain a bachelor’s degree in land surveying or a related field of study. The Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) must be successfully passed at the start of the licensing process. Once requirements are met and the exam is passed, they must submit a Professional Surveyor-In-Training (PLSIT) application to obtain a PLSIT certification. Finally, after completing the minimum number of mentorship hours and any other requirements, the individual will be eligible to sit for the state specific exam and, if successful, can upgrade to full licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor. 

“Professional surveyors are problem solvers, historians, and sometimes mediators. The greatest thing about surveying is there is no boredom, as no two days are ever the same,” remarked Conrad.  

L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) employs a vast surveying staff that includes both field and office personnel. More than 10 field crews, each comprised of a party chief and one or more rodmen, travel throughout 11 states to complete field work. In the office, six licensed surveyors, Patrick Smith, Larry Smith, Chris Conrad, Tommy Young, Mason Peale, and Trevor Teague, work with survey technicians to complete boundary and topographical surveys, route surveys, land title surveys, utility surveys, and constructional layout for public and private entities.  

Summer internships are available at LIS at the collegiate and high school levels. Survey Interns work directly under the mentorship of the party chiefs in the field, allowing students to grow their talents in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. Job shadowing is also available for those interested in surveying but aren’t ready to complete an internship.  

Conrad stated, “Using the knowledge obtained through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, young people already possess the foundation to pursue a career in surveying.” 

For more information about career or internship opportunities at LIS, contact Ashley Horn at 

Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Remarkable Women of LIS 

Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Remarkable Women of LIS

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually in the month of March and highlights the many accomplishments and contributions of trailblazing women throughout history. Women play a crucial role in culture and society, but their contributions are sometimes overlooked. Through the celebration of Women’s History Month, we hope to take inspiration from both those who came before and those working among us today.   

In the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, specifically, women have been underrepresented for decades. Because innovation can only be attained when people of diverse backgrounds and unique prospectives work together, the industry has truly suffered. In order to build a better, more diverse workforce in the future, it is essential that women feel empowered to enter and succeed in this industry.  

Lucile Smith, LIS Co-Founder and former President, is a true trailblazer in the world of STEM and land surveying. She made waves in the industry when she became the first woman in the state of Tennessee to become a licensed surveyor by passing the state-specific examinations. With Smith as its leader, LIS was a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) in the state of Tenn. for nearly 10 years, meaning 51% of the company was owned and controlled by a woman. Through innovative thinking and determination, Smith opened the door for women to enter the surveying industry and earn a professional licensure.  

“Our profession is white, male dominated, and can be tough for women to excel, unless you are Lucile Smith, my mom. Working under a strong woman, like my mom, provided me with the insight to recruit and hire females in STEM and leadership roles throughout my career,” remarked LIS President Patrick Smith.  

LIS is proud to recognize the remarkable women on our team. Each one brings a strong work ethic and unique perspectives to the business, and LIS would not be where it is today without them. Learn more about each staff member below! 

Our Co-founder

Lucile Smith, Co-Founder 

While no longer actively employed with LIS, Smith is by far the most influential woman in LIS’ near five decades of history. Smith co-founded the business in 1975 along with spouse, Larry Smith. She later became President of the company in 1996, with L. Smith serving as Vice President. During this time, Smith made history in the surveying industry when she became the first woman in the state of Tennessee to become a licensed surveyor by passing the state-specific examinations. After a prominent and influential career, she retired in 2017.  

Current staff

Kathryn (Katie) Bullion, Administrative Intern 

Henry County High School (HCHS) senior, Kathryn (Katie) Bullion, holds a great number of responsibilities for the Administrative and Marketing Departments as the Administrative Intern. She works with a diverse staff on various projects, including reporting, data entry, developing marketing communications, and acting as a brand ambassador at external events. Bullion has continuously proven that she can excel, both in academics and in the professional realm. She holds numerous leadership positions, including the President of DECA and the President of the 4-H Honor Club, and has won multiple awards for impromptu speaking on the HCHS Speech and Debate team, including one first place win. In addition, Bullion has been ranked at the top of her class all four years of high school. After graduating, she plans to attend a four year university and major in marketing.  

Martha (MJ) Hooper, Marketing and Communications Intern 

Martha (MJ) Hooper is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) and an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA), the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Women in Communication. As the Marketing and Communications Intern, she works to enhance the LIS brand through the development of innovative concepts and promotional writing. Hooper was hired in 2021 as one of LIS’ first collegiate interns, and she helped spearhead the internship program. In her role, she continuously exceeds expectations and sets new benchmarks for future hires with her great work ethic and attitude.  

Ashley Horn, Marketing Coordinator 

As Marketing Coordinator, Ashley Horn heads all of LIS’ marketing, business development, recruitment, and community relations efforts. In her role, Horn is responsible for managing the company’s overall marketing strategy, brand development, outreach, and oversight of LIS’ interns and internship program. Horn is education-minded, and she enjoys learning and developing new skills. She is currently a doctoral student at Regent University. Horn holds a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Horn is a member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), serves as a board member for the American Advertising Federation (AAF), a volunteer for the Paris-Henry County Arts Council (PHCAC), and is a graduate of Leadership Henry County (LHC).  

Debbie Kinsland, Human Resource Officer 

Hired by Lucile Smith in 2008, Debbie Kinsland has worked alongside three generations of the Smith family. She began her career with LIS as a Payroll Clerk. As LIS grew over the years, her role within the company grew alongside it. While working in that role, she helped to build LIS’ Human Resource Department, creating new policies and procedures as needed.  Kinsland was promoted to her current position as Human Resource Officer in 2022. As Human Resource Officer, Kinsland is responsible for onboarding new hires, maintaining employee files, processing payroll, and offboarding staff members, among other responsibilities.  

Ashleigh Trevino, Technology Integrator  

As Technology Integrator, Ashleigh Trevino is responsible for implementing new software and technology, as well as improving our existing programs. She works closely with the external Information technology (IT) company to ensure our technology stays up to date and works properly and efficiently. Trevino holds an associate degree in interior design and business marketing from Western Kentucky University. Upon graduation, she entered the workforce focusing on interior design but quickly realized that she was more interested in 2D & 3D CAD modeling. Trevino is an essential part of the LIS team and is constantly looking for new ways to improve our company’s use of technology. 

LaCole Webster, Senior CAD Technician 

As a Senior CAD Technician, LaCole Webster coordinates with and coaches fellow staff members across each of LIS’ three office locations on a wide range of projects. When interacting with her, staff members can always count on Webster to encourage them when they need it, no matter the amount of stress she might be under. She is knowledgeable in the field, holding more than 15 years of industry experience and a bachelor’s degree in drafting and design technology from Missouri State University. Webster has the heart of a teacher and truly cares about her fellow staff members. She is known as a constant ally to the field and office personnel alike. 

Tami Winston, Receptionist 

Tami Winston is the initial point of contact for our company. She provides a positive initial meeting and greeting of clients, both in-person and by phone. Tami is a true team player, as she supports various departments by calling clients, relaying project updates, and record keeping. Her empathetic personality and enthusiasm for her work make her a great teammate. In her spare time, Tami has raced various marathons and triathlons, including the Little Rock Half Marathon, Disney Marathon in Orlando, and the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, only to name a few. Her enthusiasm for fitness has led to the launch of LIS’ wellness program, in which she serves as program coordinator. Tami works diligently to promote wellness among the staff in hopes of increasing productivity, improving morale, reducing stress levels, and improving teamwork. 


Paris Hampton Inn Development Provides Additional Lodging for Visitors 

Paris Hampton Inn Development Provides Additional Lodging for Visitors

Since opening, the Hampton Inn, located at 1540 Mineral Wells Ave. in Paris, has provided an additional location for tourists to stay while visiting Henry County for fishing tournaments and other events. The new hotel opened to the public in the summer of 2022, and L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) was involved from beginning to end.    

Conveniently located near recreational areas, the Hampton Inn provides a much-needed lodging option for patrons seeking to enjoy the outdoors. With Kentucky Lake only 20 minutes away and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation a short 40 minute drive, the hotel is in a prime location. 

“This hotel was designed with the specific needs of the community in mind. This hotel features oversized boat parking spaces with 110 outlets for charging boat accessories,” stated LIS Engineer and Project Manager, Nathan Grasfeder.  

In the early stages, LIS met with VRL Hotels II, LLC and assisted with the initial site selection based on their needs. After the site was selected, a boundary and topographic survey were produced in order to assist with the design.  

LIS then designed a civil site plan that met the City of Paris’ requirements for items such as parking, access, utilities, and stormwater. In addition, LIS continued its involvement through the completion of the project by performing quality control during the construction of the hotel to ensure the site was built as designed.  

“The construction of this hotel has spurred new interest in commercial developments around this area south of Paris,” Grasfeder commented. 

The hotel is four stories, with 72 rooms, a swimming pool, a business center, and a meeting area. Other nearby attractions include Eiffel Tower Park and the Paris Landing State Park. The Hampton Inn is managed by Gibson Hospitality Management Inc. 

Frank Burch Begins 35th Year with LIS 

frank burch begins 35th year with lis

Frank Burch began his 35th year with L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) in February of 2023, making him the longest employed staff member outside of the Smith family. Having worked alongside three generations of the Smiths, he has established himself as a well trusted member of the LIS team and is largely relied on by his colleagues. 

Patrick Smith, LIS President, stated, “Frank has been surveying at LIS since I got my driver’s license.  If I have a question about surveying, I ask Frank.”

In 1988, Burch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Murray State University. While Burch was attending school, Andrew Kelly, one of his professors, referred him to LIS. Kelly had taught numerous LIS staff members throughout the years, including company founder, Larry Smith.

Burch began this career with LIS as a Rodman in 1989. At the time, he was one of only eight staff members. Within one year of employment, he was promoted to Party Chief. At the time, the company focused exclusively on land surveying and had not yet introduced full-service civil engineering work.

Burch said, “I started out doing boundary surveys because that’s primarily all they (LIS) did at the time… I was happy doing what I was doing, so I’ve accumulated a little bit of experience.”

Due to his love for the outdoors, Burch prefers to work in the field instead of the office. He has remained in his role as Party Chief since his promotion in 1990. However, after more than three decades in the industry, his role has shifted to that of a mentor to his team members. 

“It seems like I teach and train new people all the time. I’ve trained a lot of people, some of whom have licenses now. It’s an ongoing process, especially during the summer. There are always new people coming in and I get to teach them. I’m proud of that,” stated Burch.  

Outside of acting as a mentor to less experienced staff, Burch is responsible for survey crews, deed research, and calculating any necessary fieldwork. He has surveyed lots, large acreage, as-builts, topographic surveys, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) wetlands, route surveys, and subdivision layouts. 

Throughout his career with LIS, Burch has completed more than 6,000 jobs in the survey industry. His vital role as Party Chief has allowed him the opportunity to travel across the region and work on numerous unique and interesting projects.  

Burch said, “One of the coolest jobs I have done is when they were putting up 5G towers in downtown Nashville. I got to survey on top of the Omni Hotel, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and the Nashville Music City Center.” 

Another unique job Burch has worked on is a topographic survey of the floor of the Tennessee River at Pickwick Landing State Park Marina. In order to have new boat slips designed, a topographic survey of the floor of the marina was required, along with the location of all underwater objects in the vicinity of the existing marina. Mainstream Commercial Divers located these underwater objects and then tied a buoy to each one. Burch, along with other LIS staff members, then surveyed each buoy while in a boat. Some of the objects discovered were cable anchors, bicycles and tires.  

Larry Smith, LIS Vice President, said, “Frank is one of the most knowledgeable and hardest workers I have ever known. He has been an outstanding asset to LIS throughout the years.” 

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