I don't often write about my work. Part of it is intentional - a distancing between work and family life, and part is just because people don't dig GIS like I do. Mapping is great, but most people think I sit around making globes all day. It's a bit of voodoo.
But as part of my job my colleagues and I all go out to San Diego for a software users conference every year. It is a gathering of 18,000+ GIS (Geographic Information Systems) professionals where we come together to network and learn about what is coming, software changes and exciting developments. It is an invaluable week, one I look forward to every year. None of this is to mention that I think San Diego is about the best place in the world, climatically. The best.
This year was made even better as Waukesha County was recognized as a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award winner. Every year ESRI, the software company, awards a small percentage of their user base this award. We were last recognized in 2004, so this was a repeat visit for us, which was nice. It made the trip out west even more special.
As part of the recognition, there is an official ceremony where everyone who is interested can get their picture with the owner of the company, Jack Dangermond. Jack is a Forbes billionaire, but you'd never know it if you met him. He is forever humble and seems interested only in helping make the world a better place through the tools and technology of GIS and the people who run it. (He just happened to make a little money along the way, but his passion for making the world a better place is glaringly evident at this conference.)
I take pride in my work and it was good to be recognized. I owe a debt of gratitude to my co-worker, Kim who weathered the winds of change with me around the office when our division was cut in half by a retirement and resignation. She is dependable, supportive and helped me keep my sanity during what I would call the hardest two months of my career, anywhere. Coupled with her and my two new employees Chris and Andrea, I am psyched about where we can take the program.
Otherwise the conference was a whirlwind of technical sessions mixed with vendor meet-ups and networking with peers. This event is always a mixed blessing for me however. The closet extrovert in me rises to the occasion and I absolutely love the time talking and socializing with friends and colleagues. At the same time after it is over I go into hermit mode for 3 days as I try and re-energize after a draining week.
I love/dread it - all of it. Does that make me a bad person? Ha!
Anyway, it was a great week and if all the stars align I will get out there again next year.
Because I LOVE San Diego.
*(A special shout out goes to my ex-cohorts, Don and Bill who are not pictured but whom played big parts in getting this award.)