Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations for the Geology Certification Program [18 VAC 145 ‑ 40]
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7/31/23  3:45 pm
Commenter: Barry Franz, Gemini Engineering LLC

Support of Continued Registration of Professional Geologists in Virginia

I am writing this comment as a private citizen with more than 40 years' experience as a practicing geologist. I have had my Virginia geology license, certificate #2801000222 since 1984, my first license as a Professional Geologist. I am licensed in four states which I work in regularly. I also have offered expert witness testimony in multiple states dealing with various aspects of geosciences from landslides to ground water impacts.

It is imperative that we have Professional Geologists of high standing held to professional and ethical standards to provide answers to questions from clients and the public that impact the health, safety, and welfare of our clients and the public at large. Professional licenses are a crucial part of the answer. I further suggest that continuing education requirements be made part of the continuing licensure.

When looking for new hires at the 8+ years' experience level, if they are not registered as a Professional Geologist, frankly I have a challenging time taking them seriously as a consultant in the geological sciences. I actively encourage and mentor my younger staff into obtaining their license as soon as they are able in the states they currently work in. Within the past 2 years, I have had 3 young geologists who have obtained their registration as a Professional Geologist in Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky. I have a fourth geologist who will sit for his exam in October of this year.

It is important that we have geologists that are properly trained and demonstrate a minimum level of competency. I implore the politicians of Virginia to not move backward by eliminating this licensing program, but to move forward and require all geologists offering services to the public in Virginia be licensed. Only then can we protect the environment and safeguard the health and property of the citizens of Virginia.

CommentID: 218221