Mike Ilko Promoted to Sergeant Major 

Mike Ilko Promoted to Sergeant Major

L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) Survey Coordinator, Mike Ilko, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major. As of December 1, 2022, he was assigned to the position of Operations Sergeant Major for the Headquarters Troop (HHT) at the Regimental Engineer Squadron (RES) in the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), belonging to the Tennessee National Guard. His new duty station is located in Lebanon, Tenn. 

“I am excited and honored to join the 1% of personnel in the entire Army who make it to this level,” commented Ilko.  

The Operations Sergeant Major is a senior noncommissioned officer in the unit’s headquarters working in the command post (CP). Ilko will be responsible for managing the performance of the enlisted operations staff. He will also assist the operations officer with relevant processes, including planning, rehearsals, and monitoring and controlling operations in the current operations integrating cell (COIC), or the section of the command post that manages ongoing missions, among other duties.  

In this role, a normal training year for Ilko will consist of two days a month, usually a weekend, and two consecutive weeks for an annual training (AT) event. At times, three-day weekend drills and three-week ATs may be required as deemed necessary. In addition to the time requirements for training, the National Guard can be activated at any time for multiple reasons, such as natural disaster relief, conducting law and order assistance for civil disturbances, and deploying overseas in support of the interests of the Federal Government. If mobilized, on state or federal orders, Ilko could be gone for up to a year.  

“Balancing the time between your family’s requirements, civilian job, and military obligation is a dilemma all military reservists are faced with. Many soldiers have great difficulty with this, several of which cannot reach that balance and, in turn, get out of the military,” said Ilko. “I have been blessed with a wife, who also served 20 years in the Army, that understands the situation and an employer who is a strong supporter of our nation’s military and its personnel.”  

For the past 10 years, Ilko has played a critical role at LIS. Throughout this time, he worked his way through the ranks from rodman to party chief before assuming his current position as survey coordinator. Ilko is responsible for scheduling field crews from both the Nashville and Paris office locations while also acting as a liaison with project managers. In addition, he manages all company vehicles, survey equipment, and materials needed to complete projects and meet deadlines. 

“LIS is proud to support our veterans. Although our military personnel are sometimes required to leave for extended periods of time, we understand the importance of the leadership skills and personal devotion that come along with the many sacrifices they make. They bring unique value to our team,” stated LIS President Patrick Smith.  

Prior to his promotion, Ilko was the First Sergeant for the 212th Engineer Company (EVCC), located in Paris and Camden, which is part of the 230th Engineer Battalion (EN BN) in the 194th Engineer Brigade (EN BDE). 

In addition, Ilko is a licensed Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilot. He also belongs to the Henry County High Band Boosters, in which he supports and assists the HCHS band during competitions.   


Austin (AJ) Maxwell Becomes 2nd Lieutenant of Tennessee Army National Guard

Austin Maxwell becomes 2nd Lieutenant for the Tennessee Army National Guard

At the University of Tennessee at Martin ROTC Battalion’s Spring 2022 Commission Ceremony, L.I. Smith & Associates’ Austin (AJ) Maxwell, took his oath as a commissioned officer and became a 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) for the Tennessee Army National Guard.

The ceremony took place on May 6, 2022, at the University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) in Watkins Auditorium. Maxwell’s sons, Jack and Easton, were both in attendance and had the opportunity to pin Maxwell’s 2nd Lieutenant bars on his uniform.

Jan Bass, the Skyhawks Battalion Recruiting Operations Officer for UTM, stated, “AJ is a great soldier and family man. He will make an amazing leader as a Tennessee National Guard 2LT.”

In May of 2022, Maxwell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in Agriculture Engineering and Technology with a concentration in Land Surveying and Geomatics and a minor in Military Science. Upon graduation, Austin became a Field Artillery Officer for the Tennessee Army National Guard, having previously held the position of Combat Engineer before contracting into the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program at UT Martin in the fall of 2019.

Leadership opportunities and professional growth both played a key role in Maxwell’s decision to become an officer. He stated, “As an officer, you are responsible for the lives of American sons and daughters. I knew I could be that leader that soldiers trusted and counted on.” In his new role, he will now be responsible for equipment, people, and planning.

In January of 2023, Maxwell will begin a Basic Officers Leader Course (BOLC) in Fort Sill, Okla. The training is geared towards Maxwell’s area of emphasis, Field Artillery. The training will span five months, ending in late May.

Maxwell has been working with L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) for six years, currently in the role of a Survey Technician. While Austin was working at LIS and in the National Guard, he was a full-time college student as well. When talking about the ROTC program, Maxwell said, “The program at UTM is great and I would recommend it to anyone interested in ROTC.”

UT Martin’s ROTC is a four-year leadership development program that prepares college students to succeed in any competitive setting. The program is geared toward students whose career goals require leadership and managerial skills.

Bass stated, “We develop these leaders to become United States Army commissioned officers for active duty, National Guard, and U.S. reserves.” The program also consists of classroom instruction and hands-on activities.


Larry Smith Retires from Tennessee State Guard

Larry Smith Retires from tennessee state guard After 18 Years of Continuous Service

24-year veteran, Larry Smith, has announced his retirement from the Tennessee State Guard, effective January 31, 2022. At the time of his retirement, Smith served as the Regimental Commander for the First Tennessee Regiment located in Henderson, Tenn. He held this position for the last three years.

Smith led a highly decorated career, having received numerous awards and decorations throughout his near two decades of service. These honors include Commanding General Letter of Commendation, Meritorious Service Ribbon, Commendation Ribbon, Aid to Civil Authority with one Oak Leaf, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Task Force Volunteer, Community Volunteer Service with two silver and three Oak leaf, Recruiting Achievement Ribbon, to name a few.

“I would never have realized that my time in the State Guard would have had such a rewarding and fulfilling experience in my life,” Smith said. “Obtaining the grade of Colonel and becoming a Regimental Commander has been a reward for me that is hard to put in words. The overall experience definitely fulfilled the greatest aspiration of my life.”

During his extensive military career, Smith paved the way for the implementation of numerous initiatives that benefited both his fellow guardsmen and the community.

In wake of the flood that devastated Waverly and Humphreys County in August of 2021, Smith served as the Ground Commander for the First Tennessee Regiment as they were deployed to assist victims in the flood’s aftermath. Smith assumed responsibility for the overall supervision of the state guard soldiers on the ground in Humphreys County. 

Another such initiative was the development of the Military Funeral Honor Detail for the First Tennessee Regiment. This detail has the duty of performing “Taps” and presenting the American flag to the deceased’s nearest relative. Due to a lack of training, there was a shortage of soldiers helping with the detail. Smith, along with a local Corporal, begin training with the National Guard to fill this void. The program evolved over time and as of the end of 2021, there were 18 soldiers qualified with 40 hours of training and current uniforms, all of whom assist with upwards of 30 funerals per month.

In 2005 Smith, then a Lieutenant, assisted with the refugees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina at the Milan National Guard Training Center.

Smith’s son and current president of L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS), Patrick Smith stated, “We are extremely proud of the service and leadership that Larry has given to the Tennessee State Guard. Through his leadership at LIS, we have promoted the hiring of veterans and active service members in all phases of the company.”

Larry Smith is the founder and Vice President of L.I. Smith & Associates, a civil engineering and surveying company headquartered in Paris, Tenn. He holds more than 45 years of industry experience, having started the company and earning his first professional licensure in 1975. He is a well-established civil engineer and land surveyor, holding Registered Land Surveyor licensures in seven states and Professional Engineer licensures in six states. Smith credits his immense career in the engineering and surveying industries as a key component to his military success.

“My experience as an engineer and managing an engineer and surveying company helped to prepare me to lead soldiers. Leadership in the private sector has many of the same attributes as leadership in the military,” stated Smith.

Smith is a member of several professional and military organizations including the National Guard Association, State Guard Association, American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, Society of the American Military Engineers, Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors, and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers.


Tyler LaPointe completes Advanced Leadership Course

Tyler LaPointe completes Technical Engineer Supervisor Advanced Leadership Course

Throughout the month of August, Tyler LaPointe attended the 164th Regional Training Institute (RTI) at Camp Grafton in Devils Lake, N.D. LaPointe, who serves as an E-6 Staff Sergeant (SSG) in the Army National Guard, completed the Technical Engineer Supervisor Advanced Leadership Course (12T3O ALC).

The course required 30 days of rigorous training. In which, LaPointe learned alongside “the most overall technically proficient group of soldiers” he had ever been given the opportunity to work with.

The Advanced Leadership Course focuses primarily on project management within the surveying field. Specific topics covered within the course include verifying soils, material analysis and testing, processing survey data, planning survey missions, producing construction site designs, construction management, roadway and culvert design, as well as planning geodetic airfield surveys.

“ALC prepared me to plan and manage military projects from start to finish—planning travel, lodging, man hours and coordinating all things associated with the project,” said LaPointe.

LaPointe has been a member of the L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) team for over two years. He works part-time as a survey technician in the Paris office, where he draws surveys within the Carlson software system, while also working closely with the survey teams to ensure projects are completed.

“The engineering courses that SSG LaPointe took at Camp Grafton will provide him with leadership training that L. I. Smith & Associates does not provide. 30 days off from work to get the quality training that SSG LaPointe received is well worth the investment,” stated LIS Vice President Larry Smith.

In conjunction to his role in the Army National Guard and position at LIS, LaPointe is currently working toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Surveying and Mapping from East Tennessee State University.


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