2006 Building Relationships
When Stephen Green assumed the presidency of the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association, he said that building relationships and networking and then one-to-one communication is the cornerstone of acquiring, retaining and developing clients in most of their businesses and that the Association needed to transfer some of this thinking as it moved towards a preferred future for Alberta Land Surveyors and the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association. President Green said that it is crucial for the Association to build and sustain relationships with other technical and professional groups that deal with geomatics, government and educational institutions.
When Stephen Green stepped down as president a year later, he reflected on what the Association had done to build relationships and increase its level of communication. In 2005-2006, the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association joined the organization known as CAPP, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. This allowed Alberta Land Surveyors to serve on two critical CAPP committees – the CAPP Geomatics Committee and the CAPP Resource Access Committee. Both of these committees asked for the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association’s opinion on survey matters related to the oil and gas industry.
President Green, through Council, invited the Director of Surveys to attend all future Council meetings in order for him to report on his activities and increase the level of communication.
Throughout the year, the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association had an opportunity to meet with a number of provincial government ministers to discuss issues such as public lands disposition mapping and proposed amendments to amend the Surveys Act passed at the 2005 Annual General Meeting. The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association was also active in meeting with quasi-government organizations such as the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, the Special Areas Board (encouraging greater use of technology) and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (discussing their plan to offer title insurance).
The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association also had extensive discussions with the University of Calgary and the Association eventually approved the establishment of a fund in the amount of $90,000 to fund cadastral research at the University of Calgary. The intent of the cadastral research program is to support specific projects that are of high quality, innovative and brought application and relevance to the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association and its members.
As President Stephen Green was helping the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association establish and build new relationships, his company, The Cadastral Group Inc., was establishing a relationship with Focus Surveys. Focus Surveys bought The Cadastral Group in early 2006. Focus itself underwent some ownership changes in 2005 as it entered into an equity partnership with KRG Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Denver, Colorado. This trend continued in 2006 as the Altus Group Income Fund of Toronto indirectly acquired All West Surveys.
The interest in Alberta-based survey companies by outside investors was fuelled by a continued strong provincial economy and a high demand for land survey services. While there weren’t as many articled students receiving their commission as the previous year, the Association’s Registration Committee was kept extremely busy and larger land survey firms scoured the universities and technical institutions across the country seeking the relatively few students available. It was not uncommon to hear of students signing bonus agreements and having multiple job offers.
In spite of this sustained prosperity, there were storm clouds on the horizon. At the 2006 Annual General Meeting, Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Jean Cote (grandson of Jean Leon Cote) outlined several obstacles to continued independence and self-regulation of a profession. At the same time, the professional engineers and engineering technologists were making overtures to the Government of Alberta about the relationship between professionals and technologists and the governments of Alberta and British Columbia signed a trade agreement in which they wanted to see a professional in one jurisdiction automatically be licensed to work in the other.
Within the Association itself, Lyall Pratt stepped down as Director of Practice Review after eight years and Fred Cheng was appointed the Association’s third Director of Practice Review on January 1, 2006. The ALSA added one more staff member to bring the number of full-time staff to nine.