Member Spotlight – Andrew Christenson

This month, we will feature an Individual for our Member Spotlight. That Individual is Andrew Christenson. Andrew works for The Nebraska State Patrol. Responses are his own.

 

NE GIS/LIS: Tell us a little about your company and your role.

AC: The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is a law enforcement agency with a wide variety of duties including: improving public safety, enforcing traffic, criminal and drug laws and investigating crimes. It’s no surprise that there is a GIS component to all these people, places and events. NSP houses Nebraska’s Fusion Center where I, as the GIS Program Coordinator and a Crime Analyst, create maps, datasets and products from case related data and maintain databases, ArcGIS services and web applications for investigators and disseminate information to local, state and federal entities.

Christenson

NE GIS/LIS: How long have you worked with GIS?

AC: I have worked with GIS for over 9 years from the ground up starting with mass hand-digitizing streams and engineering using ArcView 3.2 for the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

NE GIS/LIS: What was your first Nebraska GIS/LIS Association activity?

AC: With wide eyes I attended the 2011 Symposium in La Vista.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like most about your job?

AC: I have the unique opportunity to run the whole show by taking primarily non-geographic records, geocode them, serve them as map services, consume them using the Geocortex Essentials web application and display the records back geographically to users. The whole circle just feels so nice and furthers the use and value of the records in the first place; which is what we are all trying to do anyway.

Christenson_Graphic1

NE GIS/LIS: If you couldn’t choose your current career path, what alternative path/career would you pursue?

AC: If not on this path I’d teach high school physics.

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest career moment?

AC: Landing such a unique position to learn and really make a big difference with NSP where I get serious recognition for serious work has been my proudest career moment.

Christenson_Graphic2

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest personal life moment?

AC: You know I am going to divert because it isn’t fair to my life to pick ONE. I did conquer basic cheese making and can turn out a tasty batch of farmhouse cheddar; people are talking about it.

NE GIS/LIS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

AC: In 5 years I’ll be at the ninja level in the GIS world. I did convert my workspace to a standing workspace. So wherever I am, I aim to be standing.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like to do in your spare time?

AC: I like to play with my wife and kids, tinker with python programming and origami, and experiment in the kitchen in a bake-eat cycle.

NE GIS/LIS: We would like to thank Andrew for taking part in our Member Spotlight!

Member Spotlight – Mark Steele

This month, we will feature an Individual for our Member Spotlight. That Individual is Mark Steele, GISP. Mark works for Lamp Rynearson & Associates in Omaha. Responses are his own.

 

NE GIS/LIS: Tell us a little about your company and your role.

MS: I am the GIS Specialist at Lamp Rynearson & Associates, Inc, a civil engineering, planning and consulting firm headquartered in Omaha.  We offer design, planning, survey, construction management and GIS services for a plethora of projects including land development, aviation, roadway, and water and sewer systems.  In addition to our Omaha office, we have branch offices in Kansas City, MO (Larkin Lamp Rynearson/Larkin Aquatics), Fort Collins, CO (Lamp Rynearson & Associates), and Lakewood, CO (TZA Water Engineers).  Through these offices, we offer additional expertise in oil and gas, waste water and water, water rights, and aquatics.

NE GIS/LIS: How long have you worked with GIS?

MS: My first exposure to GIS was Dr. Merchant’s intro course in 2002.  I have been working professionally with GIS since 2004.  During that time, I have worked with the USGS, University of Nebraska (CALMIT and ARDC), US Air Force, John Deere and LRA.  It’s safe to say, I’ve been around.

NE GIS/LIS: What was your first Nebraska GIS/LIS Association activity?

MS: I attended the 2003 Biannual Symposium in Lincoln.  It was my first professional conference.  I don’t remember much about the talks.  But I still have and use the “Leather” notebook cover that was given out as SWAG that year.

Steele

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like most about your job?

MS: I love the problem solving aspect of my job.  A big part of my role at LRA is to identify tasks and procedures that can be streamlined by utilizing GIS and then build the tools to complete these tasks as efficiently as possible.   I enjoy the process of identifying a process start point and the desired end point, and then figuring out how to get to the end point with as few clicks as possible.

NE GIS/LIS: If you couldn’t choose your current career path, what alternative path/career would you pursue?

MS: Well, in college I tried teaching.  A mulleted, 4th grade boy named Randy showed me that wasn’t the career for me (I’m not kidding.  He had a mullet. . .).  I also tried Meteorology where Calc II proved to be a problem (Stupid integrals. .. ).  So that won’t work.  I guess if I could do anything, I would love to do some sort of European travel advising/guiding/education, kind of like Rick Steves, but with better hair.

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest career moment?

MS: My proudest professional moment was probably when I successfully completed my first project with my first GIS client at LRA.  In my past positions, I was always in more of a support role and didn’t have to worry about marketing or managing clients.  That was the first time that I went into a client’s office, pitched a project, got the contract and completed the work on my own.  The client was pleased and continues to come to LRA for GIS services.

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest personal life moment?

MS: I would say that my proudest personal moment would have been the day that I successfully defended my Master’s Thesis, “Non-destructive estimation of Leaf Pigments and Monitoring Phenology of Grapevines”.  (You can find it at UNL’s Love Library.  Check it out, it’s a gripping read).   That day I insisted that my friends call me “Master” (few listened) and I attempted to get the manager at Village Inn to name a custom Skillet dish, “The Master” in honor of my achievement.  Yeah, I may have taken it a step too far. . .

NE GIS/LIS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

MS: I hope to continue to grow in the GIS field with further responsibilities in marketing and project management.  I also hope to become more involved in the Association.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like to do in your spare time?

MS: As my wife will attest, I am a man with too many hobbies.  Here is a short list:

  • Beer brewing
  • Wine making
  • Wood working/kayak building
  • Traveling
  • Tinkering with small electronics and computers
  • Road cycling
  • Reading

NE GIS/LIS: We would like to thank Mark Steele for taking part in our Member Spotlight!

Member Spotlight – Pat Larson

This month, we will feature an Individual for our Member Spotlight. That Individual is Pat Larson. Pat works for the Grand Island Public School District. Responses are his own.

 

NE GIS/LIS: Tell us a little about your company and your role.

PL: I work for the Grand Island Public School District.  We are a k-12 district with an enrollment of over 10,000 students.  I am responsible for the care and maintenance of our Student Information System (SIS).  Part of that responsibility includes maintaining the address locations of our Students.  This helps us, among other things, to keep tract of attendance centers and help balance our enrollment with changing population densities.

NE GIS/LIS: How long have you worked with GIS?

PL: I have worked with GIS for the past 21 years.  I was introduced to GIS during Graduate research at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.  We were mapping rare/endangered plants and small mammals along the Loup River corridor for the Bureau of Land Management.  We used GIS extensively to help select sites and to map out locations.

NE GIS/LIS: What was your first Nebraska GIS/LIS Association activity?

PL: I was a regular attendee in the early years.  Once on the board, I have helps organize breakout sessions and secure laptops for the workshops.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like most about your job?

PL: My job requires a lot of problem solving.  Many times other staff will want to view data in a different way.  Much of my time is spent querying data and presenting it in unique ways that help people make decisions.

NE GIS/LIS: If you couldn’t choose your current career path, what alternative path/career would you pursue?

PL: I would choose a career path that was devoid of computers.  I would like to have been a window washer for a tall skyscraper or the guy that changes the light bulbs on tall radio towers.

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest career moment?

PL: My career has been made up of many great moments.  I’m proud of the Special Achievement in GIS I received for ESRI.  I am proud of the great public access GIS website we have in Grand Island/Hall County that I helped create many years ago.  I am proud that I was asked to fill out a members Spotlight for the Nebraska LIS/GIS Association blog.  And I’m proud of the GIS community in Nebraska.  We are growing!

NE GIS/LIS: What is your proudest personal life moment?

PL: I’m a father of two boys.  Of all the titles and hats I’ve worn, my favorite is Dad.

NE GIS/LIS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

PL: Right here, doing what I’m doing, where I will keep on keeping on.

NE GIS/LIS: What do you like to do in your spare time?

PL: I am an avid outdoorsman.  In the summer I spend a lot of time on the Middle Loup River where I live, kayaking, fishing or just playing.  In the fall and winter, I hunt.

NE GIS/LIS: We would like to thank Pat Larson for taking part in our Member Spotlight!

For the Spatially Challenged