After hearing an Econtalk podcast with Ryan Holiday on recognizing the contributions that others make to our success, I resolved to regularly consider men and women in my life who helped me reach important accomplishments or develop as a professional. Today I want to recognize my mentor Kris Nehmer.
I started working with Kris as soon as I graduated from college, in the Spring of 2003. At the time, Kris was the second-in-command for the land surveying department at KSN Engineers, in Stockton, California. Since that time, the company has grown with an additional office in West Sacramento, and Kris now manages all of the land surveying operations at KSN.
Kris Nehmer is the licensed land surveyor who mostly strongly influenced my own development as a professional (followed in a close second place by Brett Setness). It was Kris who taught me the majority of my office skills as a land surveyor. Things I learned from Kris included:
Kris Nehmer is the licensed land surveyor who mostly strongly influenced my own development as a professional.
Kris is also (in my opinion) the best geodetic surveyor west of the Mississippi River. I was blessed to have an opportunity to learn from a land surveyor with a superb understanding of GNSS and geodetic control surveys. No one else can explain the challenges of datum conversions between NGVD 29 and NAVD 88 like Kris. The quality that sets Kris apart form other geodetic surveyors is his emphasis on the practical and pragmatic. Kris showed me how to take the academic concepts of geodesy and apply them to real world land surveying to get stuff built. I had a fantastic opportunity to learn geodesy from a great teacher and man who valued the need to accomplish real work every day.
The quality that sets Kris apart form other geodetic surveyors is his emphasis on the practical and pragmatic. Kris showed me how to take the academic concepts of geodesy and apply them to real world land surveying to get stuff built.
The excellent grasp of Geodesy isn't the most important element of what Kris taught me. The most important thing I learned from Kris was how to show a real personal interest in your employees. From the very beginning, I could see that Kris was sincerely committed to my growth and success as a land surveyor. He never held back his knowledge from me. He regularly met to help me study for the land surveying licensing exam. He gently prodded me to achieve professional goals. He fully supported my effort to become a Certified Federal Surveyor.
I had never been asked that sort of question, or had any boss concerned about my progress in that way.
One of my most memorable visits with Kris was the first time he sat me down in his office and asked me to define a list of professional goals for the following calendar year. I had never been asked that sort of question, or had any boss concerned about my progress in that way. It is a quality that I try to imitate in my own land surveying practice now, and a question I will never forget.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kris has played a key role in making KSN a success civil engineering and land surveying company. The land surveying profession is blessed to have a mentor and teacher like Kris in their ranks. I was blessed to spend the first 12 years of my career learning from men like Kris Nehmber, Brent Boitano, and Brett Setness.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kris has played a key role in making KSN a success civil engineering and land surveying company.
Kris is a good husband, good father, good manager and a great land surveyor. He has claim to a huge part of my professional success.
Today’s world of social media and personal branding can lead a person to become too focused on their own skills, abilities and I occasionally catch myself failing into this trap. I was recently inspired by a couple of podcasts to make a practice of applying more humility in my own life. This includes recognizing the role others have played in my modest success as a professional and a land surveyor. (The first podcast that inspired me is entitled “Robert Frank on Success and Luck”. The second was entitled “Ryan Holiday on Ego".)
I’d like to buy out a few moments a couple times each month to deliberately practice the quality of humility, and the recognition of others. (This could be important accomplishments by others or their role in my own success.)
I wanted to start this new habit with a short post about the most important influences in my professional life.
Look for more posts in the near future about the impact others have had on my life and on the great things they have accomplished.