Character Spotlight ‘L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS)’

Introducing Pat the River Cat!

Company Name: We are L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS)! Our company dates back to 1975 when our co-founder o-fish-ally earned his professional surveying license in our state. When LIS was first named, it stood for his initials: Larry Isham Smith.

As our company has grown over the years, our name has adjusted to better encompass the services we provide. LIS now stands for Land Development, Infrastructure Design, and Surveying Services!

Location: We are located in the state of Tennessee. While we do have multiple locations in the state, our main river (office) is in Paris!

If you’re ever in the area in the spring, you cannot miss the World’s Largest Fish Fry! Don’t worry, I am the official company mascot and walk in the grand parade, so I’m safe!

Why is it important for your company to help Get Kids into Survey? Our team believes it is important to help Get Kids into Survey because we see value in educating the younger generations about the survey industry. We want to raise awareness about the importance of surveyors and what they do. Seeing kids learn about an industry that others may have forgotten is something that is very important and valued by our team. With a well-educated youth, we think any-fin is possible!

What do you do? We are a surveying and civil engineering company that provides services for public and private businesses. Our fin-tastic team of civil engineers and fellow surveyors work together to bring exceptional results to our clients in land development, infrastructure design, and surveying projects. 

How long have you been in the survey industry? LIS has been in the survey industry for almost 50 years, so we’re pro-fish-ionals! We are a family-owned company that dates back to 1975. Our business started as a team of only two staff members, our co-founders Larry and Lucile Smith. Almost five decades later, we are happy to see how much our business has grown throughout the region!

How did you end up getting into the geospatial industry? Our fish-tory in the geospatial industry dates all the way back to the 1970s! Shortly after graduating from Tennessee Technological University (TTU) with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, our co-founder Larry Smith became a Registered Land Surveyor (RLS) in the state of Tennessee in 1975. This professional licensure marked the birth of LIS, as it provided Larry with the necessary certification to do survey work at the pro-fish-ional level. At the time, Larry was working within the construction industry and pursuing survey work part-time. In 1980, Larry began to pursue his surveying career full-time. 

State a funny fact about you… My species can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world, and some can even walk on land or breathe air when the water is low! This makes surveying on land a whole lot easier!

Favourite piece of kit and why? My absolute favorite piece of equipment to use when surveying is the Lidar Drone! The reason I like the drone is because of its capability to pick up so much data. You can fly it for 15 minutes and collect millions of data points. Through this data, we are able to provide our clients with more than just a 2-D drawing. Now, we can send post processed data clouds that makes it seem as if you are standing on site. It’s so cool. I’m totally hooked!

Favourite Survey technique and why? My favourite survey technique is boundary surveys, especially in rural areas. 

Since catfish date all the way back to the days of the ancient Egyptians, I’m so-fish-ticated when it comes to history! My interest in learning about history definitely ties into my love for boundary surveys, as they give us the opportunity to retrace the steps of land surveyors from years ago! 

Boundary surveys allow us to follow the evidence left behind or called for by the previous surveyor(s). From the research, fieldwork, and drafting it’s somewhere between a treasure hunt, and a real-life jigsaw puzzle, and we are the ones that get to figure out how everything fits together, or how it was supposed to fit according to evidence.

 Your website: Our website is You should check us out! We have lots of information about our river (office) locations and blogs highlighting my co-fish (co-workers) and their many accomplishments. 

How did you choose the character and what does he/she/it represent? Mean to you? What’s his/her name? Since our main river (office) is located right on the Tennessee River in Paris, home of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, a catfish was chosen as my character.

Every year in April, Paris will host a fish fry celebration and parade. Businesses build extravagant floats and get to walk in the parade. This is a big celebration for our community, and it is so fun to see everyone come together and participate. It’s even on TV!

My name is Pat the River Cat, but my friends sometimes call me Survey Fillet. Ideas for my name were suggested by my co-fish (co-workers). Members of our community then voted and chose my name! I think I was named after our President, Patrick Smith, but I’m not sure. It’s a very fishy coincidence if you ask me.