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.


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!