Mentoring Youth

Qfactor is committed to the Future of Surveying

In today’s ever-evolving job market, it’s important for surveying professionals to take the lead in developing and mentoring new talent for the next generation of employees and leaders. That’s a driving force behind BizWatt’s commitment to youth mentoring. As BizWatt’s CEO and co-developer of its popular Qfactor™ project management software, Fred Dyste believes that the future of the industry lies in not only embracing and maximizing the full potential of software and automated systems, but in reaching out to the latest generation of high school and college students to help them see how the computer and social media skills they have grown up with can be a marketable asset in the surveying field of today and tomorrow.

We sat down with Fred and Heather Keenan, BizWatt’s Client Onboarding Specialist for Qfactor™ to discuss the importance of mentoring young talent.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

FRED: As you may know, Qfactor™ for Surveyors harnesses the power of popular software programs that most small businesses use on regular basis, including QuickBooks, Time Sheets and Google Maps. As we began demonstrating Qfactor™ software to surveying companies (including many smaller firms), we were surprised to learn that a lot of these small businesses didn’t really know how to use QuickBooks and TimeSheets effectively, which was creating bottlenecks for information flow and effective project management. We discovered that some older “mom and pop” shops were somewhat averse to (or even fearful of) learning software. By training a number of these small shops to set up and learn the best basic practices of using QuickBooks and TimeSheets, we more easily moved them into using Qfactor™ to streamline and automate their projects. This has freed up time for employees to do the jobs they were trained for (not necessarily bookkeeping or data entry) and allowed some spouses to refocus on projects and activities they truly enjoy (rather than keeping the company books). 

It was clear to me that harnessing the computer familiarity (and software learning comfort) of GenZ could be a boon to the future of the surveying industry.

HEATHER: As a college student who also grew up in a land surveying family, it’s clear that high school and college students have only a vague sense of the opportunities a career in surveying affords. It’s important that we go into high schools and colleges to talk about the industry and explain the many pathways to a rewarding career in surveying. Not everyone is suited to, nor interested in, field work, so we need to highlight the “inside” positions of the office including project management, business management, accounting and drafting-related and AutoCAD skills. A few surveying careers do require a four-year college degree, while others need two-year associate degrees, certificate training or even no formal college training at all. Discussing all these options and jobs is important to keeping a land survey company moving forward.

Googling, Posting and Branding

FRED: And of course, let’s not forget about the power of marketing and social media influence in building a brand for your surveying company.

HEATHER:  Indeed! GenZ is all over social media: From creating and posting images and short videos on TikTok and Instagram, to harnessing the power of YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook to help improve a brand’s image. These skills are and will be vital to helping get the word out on surveying businesses. The Baby Boomers who built and are running many of today’s surveying companies grew up using The Yellow Pages to find businesses and services.  But who even has a copy of The Yellow Pages any more?! Today it’s all about searching Google for the business or service you need. Surveyors who embrace this reality will have an edge and this is a place where high school and college students can add massive value  . . . even today as interns!

Mentoring Up and Mentoring Down

FRED: As I mentioned, much of the early days of BizWatt and Qfactor involved “mentoring up” — training people in the industry to accept and adapt to technology to help their businesses become more efficient and profitable. “Mentoring down” is seeing the need to reach students that may have little knowledge of the opportunities available to follow what they already enjoy into a career in surveying

HEATHER: Exactly. I love talking with college students (my peers) and those in high school about all surveying has to offer them, and how they can bring their skills to help move our industry forward. For me, this also includes learning how we in the surveying industry need to adapt to the future workforce. My father, Trent Keenan, started a podcast he calls “Mentoring Mondays” wherein he talks to land surveying industry leaders about their experiences and also people who are bringing new ideas and practices to the profession – including Fred and Qfactor. It’s clear that we’re in a period of passing on the institutional knowledge of the Baby Boomers who will soon be retiring from surveying. It’s time to soak up their experience! I appreciate the opportunity I have with BizWatt and Qfactor to not only help “Mentor Up” with training and onboarding, but also continuing to “Mentor Down” and plant the seeds for tomorrow’s industry employees and leaders.

FRED: I’ve recently begun speaking to high schools in Santa Barbara County, California (where I grew up and still reside) about my career story and the many different paths open to them – not only in surveying, but also software development, marketing and entrepreneurship. My mentors helped shape me along the way and now it’s my time to step up and give some time back.

Introducing Heather Keenan
BizWatt Client Onboarding Specialist for Qfactor for Surveyors

With her unique combination of experience and enthusiasm for surveying, Heather Keenan recently joined BizWatt’s Client Success Team as a Qfactor Onboarding Specialist. In this role, Heather leads Qfactor clients through each step of the setup and implementation process. Her commitment to delivering exceptional service and ensuring client satisfaction makes her an invaluable asset to both BizWatt and the surveying community.

Heather has been around the surveying profession her whole life and started working with her family’s business, Diamondback Land Surveying, the summer she turned 16. Today she is Diamondback’s field crew coordinator, managing up to six surveying crews a day. In addition to her field responsibilities, Heather provides administrative support for project setup, proposals and accounting tasks using Qfactor for Surveyors.

While currently studying surveying at Great Basin College, Heather serves as the president of Nevada’s Young Surveyors Network and Secretary of the National Young Surveyors Network, actively contributing to the growth and development of the next generation of surveying professionals.

Heather is also committed to expanding her industry knowledge and expertise in surveying through volunteering. She serves as a director on the board for the Southern Chapter of NALS (Nevada Association of Land Surveyors). She is also an active student member of CLSA (California Association of Land Surveyors) and NSPS (National Society of Professional Surveyors).

Gete Kids Into Survey

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