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Inspirational Women Making History – GISinc 25th Anniversary Edition

Inspirational Women Making History – GISinc 25th Anniversary Edition

Published March 23, 2016 by Amy Hrdlicka

Over the past eight-and-then-some years of my time with GISinc, there has been no shortage of truly inspirational women to learn from. Company leaders, clients, and some of my favorite “A-Team” ladies – I can cite examples of how they are making history in my eyes. As GISinc looks forward to UnPlugged 2016 (our annual company meeting in Colorado this year), we can proudly celebrate 25 years of making history in the GIS services industry. March is Women’s History Month and it seems appropriate to highlight the company’s women who have played no small part in getting GISinc to where it is today.

Susan King – Chief Catalyst & Chief Administrative Officer

susan 2When I first came on board at GISinc, Susan was the one who interviewed me. She liked my personality and potential, though I am not sure her cat felt the same. Susan has shown me by example how to always stay positive, look within for the answer or lesson, and keep the end-goal in sight. She and Kevin Stewart have already made history by laying a foundation for Navy GIS enterprise architecture and technical expertise at the Mid-Atlantic GeoReadiness Center. This led to over 12 years of continued GIS support and many other projects helping the Navy utilize GIS capabilities for a variety missions. Following within a year of her departure from Norfolk, those were big shoes to fill for me; she left her mark on client service excellence, branding GISinc core values in Federal contracting, and establishing some of our longest-running clients. Not to mention she coined her own title when she took over as the company’s head – Chief Catalyst. Susan is not only an inspiration for all of us women in GIS positions, but one of the foundational “rocks” for me at GISinc.

Tonya Brown – GISinc Home Office Manager

tonyaTonya is the first face anybody sees when they walk in the door at GISInc, and one of the first people to make me feel like I was part of the family. Tonya celebrated her 15th GISinc anniversary this month. Before we had a full Accounting crew, other offices with managers, and new business techniques, Tonya did it all and continues to be the glue that holds us all together. When I walked in the door on my first day at the Home Office, Tonya said “I love that suit, you have great style” and I have loved her since! She contributes to a major part of UnPlugged (our company meeting) planning each year, and manages to pull the employee owners together at each new location without a hitch. Her spot in GISinc history needs no justification – just call our main phone line and you will know why.

Sandrine Schultz – Former Client, Navy Energy Program

sandrineWho doesn’t get inspired when Sandrine speaks to a crowd about the impact GIS has made on the Navy’s Energy Program? Supporting her program fired me up daily because it is such an incredible mission (energy awareness, reduction, and alternative sources), and she truly believed in the product and services our team provided and continues to support daily. I joined the team just weeks before NSGEM went live in its first promotion, and am inspired at what the Energy team has accomplished since. Sandrine and the team accepted a SAG award for their work, and Sandrine’s contribution to the Navy’s energy reduction goals earned her recognition from the Secretary of the Navy. Sandrine’s new role at the US Department of Energy will keep her working towards a bigger mission, but her mark on the Navy’s Energy Program (and GeoReadiness enterprise practices) is permanent I have no doubt. Ms. Schultz exemplifies to me a woman who knows how to get ‘er done, and she helped me achieve my first article publication.

Melinda Dubaj, Geospatial Analyst, NEMAP and Kanita Sellers, Senior Geospatial Analyst, NEMAP

melinda kanitaI feel like I have known Melinda my whole life. And Kanita is one of the most easygoing and delightful team members to work with on any project. She always has a smile and you can even hear it on the phone in meetings. Both are part of the NEMAP Team, coming to the project with addressing and City of Norfolk, VA local government expertise. This subject matter expertise solidified the project’s success and the completion of our mission for the Navy. Melinda has done EVERYTHING, and amazes me that I keep learning more about her all the time – we share an alma mater, she knows how to fly a plane, ride a motorcycle, fly across the world on standby…with a baby! Kanita is fearless, and always ready to try new things which makes her the perfect travel partner. Melinda and Kanita continue to keep NEMAP moving forward, and inspire and motivate me with their persistence to the finish line. The team accomplished an overwhelming mission in the past few years, and I truly believe they made history in addressing all of the Continental United States Navy bases in twenty-one months. Both ladies have left their mark for generations to come in E911 base addressing at our Navy’s home ports.

Lynn Phillips, Federal Strategic Account Manager and Catherine Marshall, Federal Territory Account Manager

catherine lynnMy most recent inspirational experience was last week, driving to places in the desert I never thought I would go in my life! Traveling and visiting our newest employees at GISinc with Lynn and Catherine was an amazing, eye-opening, and career-enhancing trip. They both have an incredible background of contributing to the field of GIS, specifically for the military. And to add to the trio’s shared experiences, all three of us have loved a man in uniform (sorry ladies, giving the readers something juicy). From Catherine’s accomplishments with automation at Esri (before it was cool and easy), to Lynn’s innovative outside-the-box solutions in her past life as MCIEAST IGI&S Manager – collectively I know they are going to make some history for GISinc and Marine Corps Installation Geospatial Information and Services.

Danielle Pugh, Senior Geospatial Analyst, Federal Unit

daniDani is like my “work sister” I never knew I needed. We share similar childhoods and family backgrounds, and in this I have found another female who I can relate to in a career where that is uncommon. Add to that our shared technical interests, projects, and quests for finding new, cool, solutions for our clients – and you get what I often think is a dangerous combination of great intellect. Dani made GISinc history already by building the NEMAP Facility Address Search Tool (FAST), the first ever ArcGIS Online web application to be approved for Navy data hosting – also the first web application named in a DoD contract as a deliverable.

Bridget Perry, Federal Project Manager

bridgetBridget has made her mark ten times over in GISinc history already her seven years here. She helped set up the Army GIS Support Center, a major contract in my early days with the company. In addition, Bridget was the first GISinc Alexandria, VA office manager, contributing to everything from design to stocking the break room shelves. The Arlington National Cemetery project, where GISinc helped catalog and geospatially enable the cemetery’s thousands of gravesites, is among many on her list of historical accomplishments. The work GISinc partnered in made it possible for loved ones of buried soldiers to easily pull up and map to their gravesite, and also helped cemetery staff do their job efficiently and without disturbing current graves. I think everyone in the company can note this as a deeply meaningful, historic project that hits at the core of our company’s values.

Kelley Lindish, Service Delivery Technical Architect

kelleyThe first time Kelley inspired me was when she managed to whip the Navy Energy’s project budget into shape. She effectively planned and executed the budget down to ten cents at the end of the contract! Kelley’s tone is always calm and soothing, and she leaves me feeling positive when I call frantically for help with my project. As for historical accomplishments at GISinc – if you are a member of the Federal Project Review crew, you know she has made a monumental impact in wrangling this group of busy PMs and TAs every week. She pulls our heads out of our projects and helps us share a collective outlook on project forecasting, resourcing, and solutions development. Kelley continues to bring us together to speak up every Friday, and I believe her mark is historical in the Federal Unit’s Client Services.

Melinda Frost, Katie Reiter, Kelley Bigley and all the Women of GISinc who Develop, Program, Code, and Build Widgets and Stuff

devFrom Service Delivery to Fedland and all the State and Locals in between, we have a female tech crew who amaze me with the crazy ideas they can make a reality. Our projects wouldn’t be possible without these ladies and for that they are pillars of GISInc history.

Carrie Green, Chief Financial Officer and Lea Renfroe, Controller

carrie leaCarrie’s fiscal conservatism helps us make wish lists and ESOP contributions possible.

And Lea has saved everyone from Unanet despair more times than I bet we can count and magically assures we all have paychecks twice a month. She has been with GISinc longer than I have and has a legendary place in our history.

Rebecca Carpenter, Marketing & Proposal Specialist and Rachel Ankersen, Marketing Coordinator

rebecca rachRebecca taught me how to effectively use SharePoint for document collaboration, and keeps all of us Feddies employed by polishing and shining those proposals we keep winning.

Rachel inspires me with her “can-do” attitude towards all of GISinc’s marketing efforts. She is making GISinc history by laying the groundwork for our Federal (and other Business Units of course) clients to be able to show off the incredible innovative solutions we help them accomplish for their missions. Not only did Rachel help me become a published author, a few times over, she also has contributed to the success of our programs by drawing in new clients who have a shared need.

And she, under the leadership and strategic vision of our Marketing Manager Lori Page, helped bring back the GISinc brand. Thank you thank you thank you for that…and for all that you, Lori, Kaitlyn, Rebecca, and Kathy do to help GISinc stand out in the GIS industry.

Dawn Siegel, Local Government Channel Partner Manager

dawnShe never ceases to amaze me when I witness her interact with clients; she helped build the State and Local and private sector business to the successful business unit it is today.

Wendy Peloquin, State and Local Account Manager

wendy2She wowed me with her personal, professional, and technical skills as a team member on a Navy Project but also brought the contacts and expertise to GISinc that allows us to draw so many awesome new clients in each month.

Denise Hakanson, Federal Senior GIS Analyst

deniseIs one very cool lady who has been at GISinc almost as long as me. We just clicked when I met her over dinner with Susan and tried curry for the very first time. Denise married the love of her life and transcended boundaries I never thought would be possible. For that alone I dedicate an entire chapter in GISinc history, though her work with the Army and the EPA have already solidified that spot.

Tammy McCracken, Service Delivery Senior Technical Architect

tammyTammy has such a positive outlook and passion for her job that I can relate to, and the work she is doing for Williams Energy will no doubt go down as one of GISinc’s premier projects.

Linda Tucker, Lisa Spencer, Angelina Antonucci, and Leigh Perry, Federal GIS Analysts Onsite MCIWEST

lisa

Making GISinc history for their dedication to the mission of their U.S. Marine Corps clients. They waited over a year (some kind of GISinc record I am sure) to go back to work full time at their respective USMC installations. Angelina and Leigh studied during the interim, while Lisa and Linda let us throw whatever we needed at them, which they did a fantastic job handling for us!

Judy Reagan, Culture Curator, Robin Dubble and Jamie Garrett, Human Resources

robin

This team of ladies, and many more, managed to almost fully staff 30+ positions in just a few months, and continue to provide us leadership, excellent HR service, and inspiration for me personally, daily. I have watched each of them join the GISinc family and can truly say all three play a significant role in our company’s history.

There are so many groundbreaking, history-making women at GISInc, contributing to the history of our GIS industry as a whole. When UnPlugged comes around each year, I am always amazed at the talent we managed to capture and add to our company’s intellectual profile. So even though I’ve named just a few here, there are so many women at GISinc making tomorrow’s history.

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