(From the Interior Angle, Spring 2012)
At the 2012 Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors (KAPS) conference banquet, John K. Schneider, PLS was honored as Surveyor of the Year by President Don Pedigo, PLS. A Middlesboro, Kentucky native, John has been a KAPS member for more than 20 years, joining immediately after receiving his Kentucky professional surveying license in 1990. After experiencing what an integral part of a surveyor’s career KAPS was, John made the decision to become more involved in the Association in 1999 when he began his first of three separate terms as the Southeast Chapter Chair. Since then he has also served as Director, Conference Committee Chair, and currently he is serving as Vice President of Internal Affairs.
“Early in my career, I did not understand why I was being asked to give up an occasional Saturday or an evening to attend a KAPS meeting. Fortunately I was being mentored by some of the best professionals in the industry and they understood that professions change, industries change and these changes are being guided by those willing to participate. With time I understood that the issues addressed by KAPS impact my livelihood and touch the lives of everyone who carries the surveyor title. We can choose to be a part of the conversation or be left to live with the decisions.”
John is living proof that hard work, ability and professional growth go hand in hand. John began his surveying career in 1979 at age 17 with a summer job at Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers, Inc. Like most surveyors, his early years were spent either in the field, the drafting room or the court house gaining the required experience for licensure. Thirty-three years later John is serving as the vice-president of Vaughn & Melton’s Kentucky Region and as the Office Leader for the Middlesboro, KY office. John coordinates the daily efforts of the Kentucky region and utilizes his 30 plus years of experience as Principle-In-Charge on a wide range of surveying projects. In addition to KAPS, John supports his profession by serving on ACEC’s Council of Professional Surveyors (COPS) Steering Committee and Business Practices Committee.
John firmly believes that much of his professional growth is a direct result of his being given the opportunity to participate in KAPS and other professional organizations. “Participating in professional organizations keeps you abreast of the latest technologies, provides a forum for discussion of the issues that contribute to the welfare of the surveying profession and allows you to learn from the best surveyors in the industry. I am honored to have been selected as surveyor of the year and I challenge every employer to provide your staff the same opportunity provided me.”
More and more companies like Vaughn & Melton realize that they can only benefit from their commitment to support professions, including surveying, by allowing employees like John the time off from work that is needed to play an active role in professional organizations like KAPS. In today’s world, many firms are including professional organization involvement as an integral part of their mission statement. As an example, Vaughn & Melton has a mission of “providing leadership and support to our region and to the various professions to which our staff members belong. “ They, along with many others, are realizing the return on the investment in both their employees’ growth and the advancement of the profession in which they practice.
Although he doesn’t get in the field as much as he used to, John still appreciates that one of the most unique aspects of surveying compared to many other jobs is the ability to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. During the span of his career, John has been fortunate to be a part of surveying some of the most unique and beautiful land in Kentucky. Projects like the 120 mile “Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail”, Kentucky’s first linear state park, or the roughly 4,000 acre Wheeler Boone WMA and a 36 mile section of abandoned railroad right-of-way which will soon be Kentucky’s longest rails to trails project. It is gratifying for him to know that most of these wonderful properties have been acquired by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and thus are now available for enjoyment by everyone including our future generations.
John enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Sheree, they are celebrating 33 years of marriage this year, and his two lovely daughters Andrea and Deborah. In his spare time John is an active volunteer working with his local church and other community service projects. As a juried member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, John also enjoys spending time in his woodworking shop.