SAME SBC 2017

Published November 10, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

We’ll be exhibiting at booth 522 at the SAME Small Business Conference November 15-17 in Pittsburgh, PA at the David. L. Lawrence Convention Center. We are excited to announce three new strategic partnerships at the show:

  • We have launched a new product: Cost Map. Cost Map is an ArcGIS Platform interface to the industry standard RSMeans Construction Cost databases from Gordian. Cost Map allows you to plan a construction project in GIS, click a button and retrieve accurate construction costs.
  • GISinc is a new Partner with both OSIsoft and Esri as an implementer of the Pi Integrator, a GIS interface to OSIsoft’s Pi System. The Pi System and the Pi Integrator allow you to combine multiple sensor networks (SCADA, Smart Lighting, HVAC, Access Control, etc.) and leverage the asset management framework and predictive analytics of OSIsoft and the spatial visualization and analytics of Esri. Put you IoT on the Map!
  • GISinc and Pro-West & Associates have partnered under the US SBA All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. This allows us to offer the capabilities of nearly 200 GIS professionals under select federal contracting set aside categories including: Small Business, HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise socioeconomic status

Come by our booth to see live demonstrations of these solutions and more!

Being a GISinc Employee Owner

Published October 31, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Written By: Amy Hrdlicka

What does being a GISinc employee owner mean to you?  After pondering this, both as ESOP Communications Committee Chair and as a 10-year veteran of the company, I came up with the word “longevity.”

Longevity is defined by Merriam Webster as “a long duration of life” or “long continuance” as in service.  This sums up my feeling towards being an employee owner perfectly.  We at GISinc tout our core values as the guiding principles behind every transaction we make:

  • Working Passionately and Inspiring Others
  • Candor and Openness
  • Respecting Others in our Pursuit for Excellence
  • Being Intellectually Relentless
  • Self-Initiative and Honoring Commitments

At my very first All-Hands Company meeting in Birmingham, the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) was revealed – Be the premier GIS firm to work for and with.  What does this mean?

“We will change the way people see the world, not only in the work that we do, but in how we do it. We believe that when the right people with shared values and philosophies work together for the right reasons, something very special happens. All employee owners, clients, and partners will be personally invested and engaged in our shared work. This passion will ignite profound change as people experience the power of location technology to create clarity and connectedness, and will establish GISinc as the standard by which others are measured.”

I knew from the moment this was unveiled, that I was committed to making it happen.  This is not accomplished overnight; premier firms take years to build.  As long as the powers that be were willing to keep me working, I was willing to strive for that goal.  I see it happening with many of our Federal, State & Local, and Enterprise clients today and know that I made the right commitment.

Our company founder, Dale Dunham, said one of the original reasons he had for “going ESOP” was employee retention, people stay longer if they know they have a stake in the business, and that the business has a stake in an individual’s success.  We have definitely improved our employee retention rates since then!  When I started there were 30 people at GISinc, and today there are over 160.  Good thinking Dale!

So retention is one aspect of longevity here at GISinc for me; the other is the idea of “life” and our core values of passion and inspiration.  To me you can get by and stay somewhere a long time without having the “life” that makes a person say they truly love their job.  My job is not always a dream come true, there are bad days with the good.  Even on the bad days, though, I know that those core values can drive me at all times.  I believe that if I work passionately, it inspires others to find that same passion, which is where the LIFE really comes out.  Our passion captures new and returning clients, it leads to teams driving a project to success, it is the foundation for innovative ideas that help grow our business to the next level, and it gives us all the life we want.  After all, we take that paycheck home to our families and our life outside of work.

Longevity is sticking it out over time, and being part of the life of the company…..that is what being a GISinc employee owner means to me.

 

A few answers from other employee owners:

Kourtney Reynolds, Geospatial Analyst, Bureau of Land Management Support

“Taking life by the horns and weathering the storm together.”

 

Parker Badders, Senior Geospatial Analyst, Range Managers Toolkit

“Being with the company pre-ESOP, I have been able to see the ESOP start from 0 and grow to the great benefit that it is today.   The quarterly bonuses we used to receive, although were nice, has been exceeded with the value gained through the ESOP.  I smile every time I open my ESOP statements. The company leadership definitely made the right decisions, as usual, when thinking of the future and wellbeing of the company’s employees.  It’s good to know that doing a job well not only benefits me, but all other employees as well.  Pride and loyalty to the Company is of paramount importance to me. This was tested several times during my first 10 years with the company.  I was presented with several job opportunities during that time, but trusted in the plans and successes of the company, and was convinced that staying with GISinc was always the way to go.  As RFMSS administrator for the past 10 ½ years, I was in my comfort zone, and highly successful in that position.  However, there was a risk of staying in that position and not being a part of GISinc in the future.  Was not looking forward to possibly having to leave the company at some point.  Fortunately, I was offered a different position that would alleviate that risk.  So here I am, still with the company, and looking forward to many more years with GISinc.” 

 

Bridget Perry, Federal Geospatial Project Manager

“I have jokingly said to people that my relationship with GISinc is the longest one I have ever had.  When I really stop to think about it, aside from family and a handful of college friends, it is true.  I have been working with GISinc for nine years, almost a quarter of my life!  A lot has happened over the course of those nine years at GISinc, for my career, and my personal life.  GISinc has grown with me and I have grown with them.  When I started, GISinc had about 35 employees and was a privately held company.  Today we are 145 strong and have become 37% employee owned.  When I started, I was a full time Senior Geospatial Analyst hoping I could live up to that title.  Today I am a part time Geospatial Project Manager supporting a wide array of project and companywide activities.

For me, being a GISinc employee owner means mutual commitment and flexibility. GISinc has supported my life’s journey over the course of the last 9 years.  My husband’s job has had us relocate several times; GISinc has been flexible so I could take my job with me and work out of a home office.  After my first son was born, I came back to work in a part time capacity so I could focus more of my time on being a mom.  When I needed more maternity leave with my second son, GISinc told me to take as much time as I needed.  This showed their commitment to, not only me, but my family as well.  GISinc has asked me to jump in on projects, proposals, recruiting and more so I jumped into these new tasks fortifying my commitment to them. GISinc has always been there for me and in return I am here for GISinc.  I look forward to continuing my journey as an employee owner well into the future!”

 

Ry Ginsberg, Senior Geospatial Analyst, Range and Training Area Management – Marine Corps Installations West

“It means that I can make a positive contribution to my company. Since becoming an employee owner, I have felt my contributions to the company more valued by management and fellow employees.  I have felt more dedicated, motivated, and proud of the work I do for my clients and other employees.”

 

GARC Event 2017

Published October 31, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Wendy Peloquin will be representing GISinc at this year’s GARC event in St. Simons Island, GA November 9-10. If you would like to set up a meeting with her while she is in your area, connect with her here: http://gisinc.com/our-story/company/connect-with-us

Connect with Tyler – Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI

Published October 30, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Tyler Prahl, Regional Account Manager, will be in the Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI Areas throughout the month of November. Specific dates are yet to be announced, so please check back soon for more information. You can coordinate a meeting with Tyler while he is in your area at this link: http://gisinc.com/our-story/company/connect-with-us

ESOP Principles: Not just for Businesses

Published October 27, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Written By: Stephen Rhea

One term frequently used within GISinc is “ownership culture,” which is an employee-wide mindset that everyone has the opportunity to bring in new business, to bring about new ideas, and to bring up any areas that need improvement, all based on the understanding that everyone has their own perspectives, experiences, passions, and expertise. Everyone has something unique to offer, and the leadership team listens to the ideas, works through them to see if they’d be a good fit, and may choose to implement them. It’s what has kept us at the forefront of innovation and exemplifies the philosophy that Susan King, a former leadership team member, shared with me: “Structure allows flexibility.” We have a leadership team, and each business unit has its own structure, but everyone understands that innovation within, and occasionally to, the structure allows the company to thrive.

One of the coolest ways we hunt for new ideas is through the annual hackathon. People are encouraged to work on pet projects throughout the year, but the hackathon shines the limelight on internal innovation with teams forming to solve a particular problem, flesh out a pet project, fix an internal workflow, or just experiment with new technology. Afterward, the projects are judged by members of the leadership team, and the top projects are allotted work hours and budget to research or develop further. While the projects are the primary focus of the hackathon, an important byproduct is the camaraderie formed within the teams and from friendly competition. Fellow owners and I have been on separate hackathon teams but been inspired by piecing concepts together and starting a separate pet project. The joy of puzzle-solving and excitement of new ideas builds the ownership culture all the more!

Of course, ownership culture isn’t just for GISinc; the mindset that everyone brings something unique to the table applies directly to sports teams as well. I coach the ultimate Frisbee team at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, and at the beginning of every school year, I get to help build the next generation of leaders through the sport of ultimate. We always start with the basics: teams throw the disc back and forth down the field until someone catches it in the end zone; if the disc is dropped, intercepted, or goes out-of-bounds, the other team gets the opportunity to score. From there we add more and more building blocks until we can cover offensive and defensive systems, beginning at a high level and getting more fine-grained and advanced as the season progresses. Offenses have 2 basic principles: a shape and a movement pattern. Defenses have 3: how to guard the throwers, how to guard the cutters, and what to give up. We cover the standard systems so we have an idea what our opponents are going to do and what slight variants they may throw at us.

After a few months and tournaments, we have a special practice that I like to call “ultimate jazz.” I encourage every player to come up with a new offensive/defensive system or a tweak to an existing one for the team to try out. One at a time, the players teach their system, we clarify a few things if needed, then we try it out. Every idea gets a few reps to work out the kinks that don’t show up on a whiteboard, and some are vetted out quickly. Others that show promise are further discussed among the coaches, captains, and innovator(s) to sort through all the strengths, weaknesses, “what ifs”, and if our team has the personnel to execute it. Every idea we like gets extra attention at subsequent practices for further vetting and usually get incorporated into our overall strategy; one such offense carried us to end a season only two places lower than the previous year even though we graduated half of our roster. Since no team had ever seen it, we had a leg up over our competition while they tried to figure it out.

Encouraging innovation keeps every player engaged and constantly striving for improvement. After the “jazz” practices, players come up with even more ideas that combine different aspects of each system we tried out. All the players, especially the freshmen, get to see that their voices are heard and they learn how to think independently and collaboratively. We talk about the new strategies and the joy of the process for weeks or even years to come. One of the best feelings we share is hearing our opponents say, “Whoa. We have no idea what they’re doing, and we don’t how to beat it.” Those smirks couldn’t grow without our players bringing in their new viewpoints and our leadership being willing to accept criticism of current systems.

We at GISinc get similar smirks when we show off a new idea to a client or at a trade show and hear, “Whoa. I’ve never thought about that before.” Most of those couldn’t happen without our owners speaking up about a new idea and our leadership team listening humbly to suggestions. When everyone is given the chance to be right (and wrong), innovation gets the best chance at success. Structure truly does allow flexibility.

EWUG 2017

Published October 26, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Oct 26-27 Tyler Prahl is representing us at this year’s EWUG Event at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. We are exhibiting in Booth #2 and Tyler will be giving two presentations during the event. Check out the session schedule here: https://ewug2017.sched.com/speaker/tyler_prahl.1x5kt7c3 Find Tyler at the booth or in one of his presentations and learn about GIS services and solutions for local government!

URISA GIS-Pro 2017

Published October 23, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

October 23-26 Wendy Peloquin is representing GISinc in Booth 104 at this year’s URISA GIS-Pro Conference. You can learn about our core services and solutions for state & local governments by stopping by our booth or watching Wendy present at one of her two presentations on Roanoke County, VA PSAP Project or Hillsborough County and St. Tammany Parish’s OSC Solution to combat Zika Virus.

Esri Health GIS Conference

Published October 6, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

October 17-19 we will be represented by Dawn Siegel, Pete Erickson, and Charidy Paige at this year’s Esri Health GIS Conference at the Esri Headquarters in Building Q Atrium in Redlands, CA. We are sponsoring this year’s show so you can find us presenting with Loma Linda University Health during the conference on their Wellness Map showcasing how we further developed the application to be a more user friendly, non-technical interface that would further enable them to provide preventive health to the inland Empire community. Catch this presentation on Wednesday Oct 18th at 3:05 pm. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

GIS in the Rockies 2017

Published September 20, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Dawn Siegel, Pete Erickson, and Marshall Worthey will be representing us at this year’s GIS in the Rockies event at the Hilton Denver Inverness. We’ll have a booth in space #20 each day of the event showcasing our Colorado presence with clients such as Grand County, CO, Eagle County, CO, Greenwood Village, CO, and Westminster, CO. From ArcGIS Jumpstarts and Cityworks Implementations to GIS Support Blocks and Discovery Workshops, we have assisted several Rocky Mountain organizations accomplish their goals and take their GIS’ to the next level. Reach out to our company reps if you’re at the show to learn more about our work.

Arizona Connect

Published September 20, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Our Regional Account Manager, Corey Baker will be in the state of Arizona during the week of September 25th. Reach out and connect with him here to meet with him while he is in your area.