Former Intern Returns as Full-Time Survey Technician 

Former Intern Returns as Full-Time Survey Technician

After completing two summer internships as a land survey intern, L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) is proud to announce that Nikolas Heath has returned as a full-time survey technician. Heath’s journey with LIS began in the summer of 2022 when he was a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM). During his first year as an intern, Heath spent most of his time working out in the field as a member of the survey crews, becoming more familiar with survey equipment and data collection procedures.

The following summer, Heath returned. This time, however, he was able to split his time between working with the field crews and the office technicians. He learned valuable skills such as AutoCAD drafting, project management, and more about the various types of survey projects. Further, Heath’s leadership skills shone through as he took on a mentor role with the new interns. Having already completed a summer with LIS, Heath was able to assist and mentor the new interns who were less familiar with the instruments and procedures.

Now reflecting back on his earlier experiences at LIS, Heath claims he felt his internship allowed him to gain extensive knowledge and develop his passion for land surveying further. “Even within the first week, I gained so much knowledge about surveying and I also learned that I loved it,” Heath says. 

Fast forward two years, Heath is now a recent graduate, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in engineering technology in May of 2024. Through his hands-on experiences during his internships, he applied the knowledge and skills he learned to his classes at UTM.

In his new role as a survey technician, Heath will take on new responsibilities both in the office and field, such as operating surveying instruments including prisms, GPS/Robotic Total Stations, and auto-levels, as well as recording survey measurements and descriptive data using notes, drawings, sketches, and data collection files. In the office, he will perform technical drafting and provide support for specific projects.

Heath states that he chose to return to LIS for full-time employment because he enjoys the work environment of the office, saying that it was a place that offered comfort as it is not overly strict or rigid, and, also, that he was offered plenty of hours and overtime as an intern. When asked, Heath said he would absolutely recommend LIS to others seeking out internships, remarking, “Everybody here is great. It was easy to come in because everyone was welcoming and willing to teach.” 

However, Heath now has his eyes focused on the future with his full-time position at LIS. Through his new position, he plans to study and learn in order to conquer his fundamentals test and, in two years, his state license test. Overall, Heath is excited to further his professional career and skills at LIS as a survey technician.

“Nick will be a tremendous asset to our team. Throughout his time interning with us, he has shown his strong work ethic, ability to adapt, and willingness to learn,” remarked LIS Vice President of Marketing and Communication, Ashley Horn.


LIS Admin Team Provides Advice for Administrative Day 

LIS Admin Team Provides Advice for Administrative Day

Administrative Day is a national holiday that recognizes the men and women working diligently behind the scenes in a clerical or support role, ensuring that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) has a diverse administration team, each of them playing a valuable role within the business. Without them, LIS would not be the company it is today.  

To showcase the importance of their positions within the company, we asked each team member to describe their role and provide a piece of advice that may be beneficial for those interested in perusing an administrative career in the future.  

Amanda Perry, Billing Specialist: Can you share a bit about your role within the administrative team and what it entails daily?

My role includes invoicing and accounts receivable, expense management, budget management, and accounts payable. I generate and send invoices to clients, while processing and tracking clients’ payments. I manage the company’s expenses by verifying receipts and ensuring compliance with company expense policies. I monitor the organization’s budget by tracking expenses for the different departments and ensuring adherence to budgetary constraints. I am also responsible for accounts payable, which includes managing vendor invoices, processing payments, a maintaining accurate records of outgoing payments. By compiling financial data, preparing reports, and providing analysis, I provide the financial data to help the administration team make important decisions.

Angela Dortch, Project Administrator- Survey: Can you describe a particularly challenging situation you’ve encountered in your role and how you handled it?

No matter where a person is employed, challenging situations arise. It is simply inevitable. The situation might involve the work environment, a co-worker, a client, a lack of supplies, etc. The way in which a person handles a challenging or stressful situation is key. It is a reflection of the individual as well as the company as a whole. We are not always going to address a situation in the best way possible all the time. However, whether the situation involves a person or not, I try to maintain composure and professionalism.

Ashley Horn, Vice President of Marketing and Communications: How do you maintain a positive attitude and morale, especially during busy or stressful periods?

No matter where you work, things will get busy and stressful from time to time. In order to maintain a positive attitude, I like to step away from the situation at hand and take a moment to myself. If possible, I like to take a walk around the square to get some fresh air. This allows me to reflect on the situation and make a plan to move forward.  

Working in marketing and communications, specifically, it is our responsibility to present a positive face, even during difficult times. When stressful situations arise, it is important to keep in mind that we are representatives of LIS, and as such, we play a major role in how the public perceives the company.  

Caleb Orr, Project Administrator- Construction: Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your time working in administration?

Being able to be a part of conversations and planning that will have an impact across our state and improve transportation for so many people has been the most memorable and rewarding part of what I do.

Carolyn Dotson, Human Resources Officer: What are some qualities or skills you believe are essential for success in administrative roles? 

Organization is one of the most important skills for an administrative role. Being organized helps minimize frantic searches for items, helps prioritize tasks, and maintains confidential information. This is essential in every department of a company. Another required skill is communication. While it is important to convey information so that others understand it, it is equally important to learn to listen so that you can process the information and respond appropriately to the situation. If you are organized and communicate effectively you can easily incorporate other skills and qualities that contribute to your success not only at work but in your personal life.

Chris Mills, Project Administrator- Engineering: What strategies or tools do you find most helpful in staying organized and efficient?  

There are many helpful strategies and tools to help us stay organized and work efficiently. Personally, I create daily ‘to-do’ lists to prioritize tasks and keep track of what I have and have not completed. Utilizing today’s software also helps me stay organized, whether it is simply using the calendar in my email or using more sophisticated time management apps. I find that having multiple methods to time and track tasks helps me stay focused and up to date on items I need to complete. I also believe that regularly reviewing your progress and reflecting on what is working well and what is not is a great method to incorporate into your daily functions.

Madison Bickerstaff, Communications Specialist: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in administrative work?  

Seek out opportunities to job shadow each specific role you’re interested in! Every administrative role looks different and even though every company may have a “Marketing Department”, that department will look different at each company. For example, some Marketing Departments may be more consumer focused, while others are mission focused. The responsibility of the role truly depends on the company. Other than job shadowing at various companies, take a quick look at current job descriptions for open administrative positions and become familiar with the tasks that you see correlate among different positions.

MJ Hooper, Marketing and Communications Intern: How do you handle unexpected challenges or changes in workload?

When I am faced with an unexpected challenge or change in workload, I make sure to prioritize my tasks first. If there are multiple deadlines that I need to meet in a short time, I always get those done quickly and efficiently to ensure those deadlines are met. I also make sure to reach out to other people on the administrative team if I need a helping hand with tasks because it is better to ask for help rather than make your work a mess!

Steve Isbell, Technology Administrator: In what ways do you feel your role contributes to the overall success of the organization?

My role in Information Technology (IT) plays a crucial role in the success of LIS in various ways. For example, IT systems can facilitate the automation of tasks, streamline our processes, increase productivity, and improve efficiency. Additionally, I am also able to enhance LIS’ communication with tools such as email, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms, which further enables seamless communication among our employees, teams, customers, and partners and fosters teamwork and innovation. By leveraging IT effectively, it can give us a competitive advantage by implementing innovative technologies, allowing us to quickly adapt to changes, and delivering our products and services more efficiently than our competitors.

Tami Winston, Receptionist: What do you enjoy most about being part of the administrative team?

My role is to create a positive first impression, provide customer service, offer administrative support, and enhance the overall efficiency of our team, and it keeps me on my toes. Being part of the admin team is rewarding because of the opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving, and my contribution to the success of LIS.

Terri Hendrix, Project Administrator-Survey: How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines or competing demands?

One of the most valuable tools for me is a prioritized task list. Given the numerous projects I manage on a daily basis, each with distinct priorities and deadlines, I find it essential to reconstruct my list every morning to reflect the tasks that take precedence for the day. As I progress through this list, I systematically mark off completed tasks, providing a visual representation of the progress made and instilling a sense of achievement. Any incomplete tasks are promptly reassessed and reprioritized, and clients are promptly apprised of their project statuses. Keeping clients informed serves to underscore their significance and assures them of our unwavering commitment to completing their projects diligently.


Young, LaPointe Recognized at TAPS Conference  

Young, LaPointe Recognized at TAPS Conference

At the 2024 Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors (TAPS) conference held on March 7-9, Thomas Young and Tyler LaPointe were each recognized for their distinguished experience and exceptional leadership within the surveying profession.

John J. Harris Surveyor of the Year Award: Thomas Young

PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Charles Whittenburg and Thomas Young

Thomas Young, Vice President of Surveying at L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS), received the John J. Harris Surveyor of the Year. In order to qualify for the award, professionals must display an attitude of cooperation and dedication, show responsibility in the survey profession, as well as possess a strong character of dependability, loyalty, enthusiasm, and morality. In addition, they must be an active member of TAPS and fulfill their civic responsibility as a survey professional.

“If anyone is deserving of recognition for service and achievements in the surveying profession it is Tommy Young,” LIS President Patrick Smith remarked. “Tommy has never stopped being a student of boundary surveying and I consider him to be one of the most knowledgeable surveyors in our profession.”

Young is an experienced leader in the surveying industry with more than 27 years of experience, 23 of which have been spent with LIS. He holds surveying licenses in 10 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in survey and mapping from East Tennessee State University and a second bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Tennessee Technological University.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and I could not have done it without a long list of great mentors, including Ron Ashe, Moses Mitchell, Larry Click, Peter Messier, Larry Smith, Lucile Smith, and Patrick Smith,” Young reflected.

Student of the Year Award: Tyler LaPointe

PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Tyler LaPointe and TAPS President Andrew Stokes

The Student of the Year Award was given to Tyler LaPointe, a survey technician and professional land surveyor in training (LSIT) at LIS. The award is presented to a student who has exceptional leadership roles and involvement in their land surveying programs at their university, local chapter, and state organization. To qualify for nomination, a student must be a current member of TAPS, dedicated to becoming a licensed surveyor, and hold the following positive traits and attributes: attitude, cooperation and dedication, projecting a professional image, self-improvement, and enthusiasm.

“Tyler has impressed me with his zeal for surveying from the first time that I met him,” stated Smith. “He is exactly the type of young surveyor that the profession desperately needs. His contributions to his community and profession are early indicators of more accolades to come.”

LaPointe holds a bachelor’s degree in surveying from East Tennessee State University, having completed the program in 2023. Additionally, he graduated from Warrant Officer Candidate School in the spring of 2024 and now plans to attend the Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC) to become a 120A Construction Engineering Technician. Throughout his military career, LaPointe has had the opportunity to survey in six countries which include Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Jordan, Kuwait, and Iraq throughout his time in the military.

“I am very honored to have been nominated and have won this award. It means a lot to me to be recognized by the state organization,” LaPointe commented.

Both the John J. Harris Surveyor of the Year and Student of the Year Award are voted on by the Board of Directors in the fall meeting. Once the votes are in, the Executive Secretary will count them. The awards are presented at the TAPS annual luncheon. Austin (AJ) Maxwell, a Survey Technician at LIS, also received the Student of the Year Award back in 2022.


Surveyors Week Showcases Profession’s Impact on Society 

Surveyors Week Showcases Profession's Impact on Society

National Surveyors Week, celebrated annually from March 17-23, marks a time to honor the contributions of the surveying profession. It is also a week that showcases the importance of this industry and all that surveyors do in shaping the world around us.

Land surveying is a valuable industry and practice that helps determine the precise locations of points, distances, angles, and elevations on land. These measurements form the basis for creating maps, defining property boundaries, planning construction projects, and much more.

A few roles that land surveyors play involve establishing and defining property boundaries, communities, and infrastructures, the foundation of our everyday lives. They provide precise data to urban planners, architects, and engineers, to assist in the design of roads, bridges, utilities, and buildings. Surveyors analyze land conditions, identify potential obstacles, and determine routes for infrastructure designs. Their insight ensures that projects are performed safely, efficiently, and align with state and local requirements.

“Surveying is where history meets modern day mapping precision. Surveyors are required to understand how history impacts property lines while also leading the charge in precision mapping, drone technology, LiDAR processing, and so much more. The surveying industry is constantly changing and adapting and looks more prosperous than ever for people interested in making it a profession,” stated Trevor Teague.

While this profession can assist in building projects, it also plays an important role in environmental conservation efforts. By mapping out terrains and existing structures, along with natural features such as wetlands, forests, and wildlife habitats, surveyors help utilize land use while minimizing the environmental impact for sustainable growth and development.

As a surveying and engineering firm, L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) is significantly aware of the importance of spreading awareness regarding the surveying industry and the many career paths available within it. Throughout the year, LIS actively engages with schools, colleges, and communities, imparting knowledge about the vital role surveyors play in shaping our world. We also offer summer internships designed to provide students with hands-on experience and valuable insights into surveying.

As we celebrate National Surveyors Week, let us honor the importance of this profession and spread awareness of this industry. Through education, outreach, and a shared dedication to excellence, we can inspire the next generation of surveyors and continue to shape a world built on precision, accuracy, and foresight.


Inspiring Inclusion for International Women’s Day 

Inspiring Inclusion for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8 to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is to Inspire Inclusion and aims to forge a more inclusive world for women by bringing a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment to the workforce.  

The first IWD was held in March 1911 and, over a century later, has become a collective global day of activism and celebration that belongs to all those committed to shaping women’s equality. 

As we mark this significant occasion, L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) would like to recognize the women of our office and all their accomplishments. The LIS team is comprised of several impactful women, all of whom come from a unique background. Each of the women brings different talents to the table and play a key role helping our business run successfully.

Amanda Perry 

Amanda Perry, serving as the Billing Controller at LIS, is a proud two-time alum of the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM). Holding a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration, Perry’s educational journey has been marked by excellence. During her college years, she took on the role of treasurer for Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, showcasing her leadership and financial skills. Perry has a passion for numbers and plans to further enhance her credentials by pursuing a certified managerial accountant certification in the future. With her extensive background in accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation, Perry thrives in the dynamic environment of the accounting field, enjoying the unique challenges and opportunities that each day brings. 

Angela Dortch 

As one of the Project Administrators for our survey department, Angela Dortch brings a wealth of expertise. With two degrees from Murray State University, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and a master’s in human development and leadership, Dortch is well-equipped to handle various responsibilities. Her tasks include facilitating communication between clients and the surveying team, ensuring project adherence to timelines and budgets, and compiling client information for the preparation of proposals and contracts. 

Having over 30 years of professional experience, Dortch has served the public in both medical capacities and as a customer service representative. Her extensive background proves invaluable in ensuring the effective communication of demographic information with clients, facilitating seamless interactions, and ensuring timely payment for services provided. Dortch’s diverse skill set and commitment contribute significantly to the success of our survey department. 

Ashley Horn 

Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Ashley Horn, has played a significant role in the organization’s development. Horn helped establish the marketing department, achieving remarkable outcomes in our community outreach and employee relations programs. With a diverse background in communications, emphasizing higher education and nonprofit fields, Horn’s expertise greatly contributed to the creation of the LIS internship program. 

Currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Regent University, Horn holds a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Communication from UTM. Beyond LIS, she is actively a member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), serves as a board member for the American Advertising Federation (AAF), is a distinguished graduate of Leadership Henry County (LHC), and current pupil in Leadership Carroll County. Horn’s contributions at LIS and within the community showcase her commitment to the professional and community environments. 

Carolyn Dotson 

Carolyn Dotson assumes the role of the Human Resources Officer, bringing over 15 years of invaluable experience in the human resources realm. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a marketing concentration from UTM and a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University. Additionally, Dotson holds valuable certifications as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). 

Over the years, Dotson has demonstrated her expertise in various areas of human resources, including benefits and compensation, talent management, training and development, compliance in human resources, and safety. On top of her work experience, she has also been actively involved in facilitating classes related to human resources, management, and marketing, showcasing her commitment to professional development and knowledge sharing within the field. 

Madison Bickerstaff 

Madison Bickerstaff serves as the Communications Specialist at LIS and holds a pivotal role in overseeing our internal and external communications. With a Bachelor of Arts in English for Corporate Communications and a Professional Writing Certificate from Christian Brothers University, along with a Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies with a concentration in Student Affairs from the University of Memphis, Bickerstaff brings a diverse educational background to her position. 

Drawing from her experience in higher education, Bickerstaff understands the significance of education, both in promoting staff relations and driving community outreach efforts. Leveraging her expertise in corporate communications and professional writing, she ensures the effective distribution of important information in her role, playing a vital part in planning and executing staff relations events at LIS. Bickerstaff utilizes her diverse skills to contribute significantly to our communication strategies and overall organizational success. 

Martha Jane (MJ) Hooper 

Martha Jane (MJ) Hooper, currently serving as the Marketing and Communications Intern at LIS, has been part of our team for nearly three years. Throughout her internship, Hooper has actively contributed to various responsibilities, including the administration of the staff photo content, oversight of LIS’ social media presence, and collaboration on administrative tasks with Horn and Bickerstaff. Graduating from UTM in December 2023 with a Bachelor of Mass Media and Strategic Communication, emphasizing public relations, Hooper is furthering her education by pursuing a Master of Science in Education.

Tami Winston 

As the primary point of contact for LIS, Tami Winston excels in delivering a positive and welcoming experience for clients, whether in-person or over the phone. Known for her team-oriented approach, Winston actively supports multiple departments by contacting clients, conveying project updates, and maintaining meticulous records. Her passion for fitness has played a vital role in initiating LIS’ wellness program, where she serves as the program coordinator. Winston is committed to our staff’s well-being and by enhancing productivity, boosting morale, alleviating stress, and promoting teamwork through wellness initiatives at LIS. 

Terri Hendrix 

Terri Hendrix, who is also a Project Administrator in the survey department, brings valuable experience from 22 years in customer service, which has allowed her to refine her communication and problem-solving skills throughout the years. Her educational background involves studying business management at Bethel University, and she holds a certification from Kaplan University in commerce and insurance. With a prior role as an insurance producer specializing in property and casualty, Hendrix’s understanding of insurance processes has offered invaluable insights into related legal matters. 

Lucile D. Smith

Lucile D. Smith has played an influential role for the women at LIS by shaping the foundation of our company as well as leaving a lasting impact on the surveying industry. Not only was she co-founder and President of LIS, but Lucile also became the first woman in Tennessee to pass the state exam and obtain her surveyor’s license. Throughout her career, Lucile led a male-dominated team in a male-dominated industry and introduced many of the procedures used in boundary surveys today.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day in 2024, please join LIS in celebrating the progress that has been made over the past century. By continuing to create a culture of inclusivity, breaking down barriers, and empowering women, we can help inspire inclusion for everyone. Our goal is to make every day an opportunity to celebrate and uplift the women who influence us and those who continue to shape the future.


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