gisi folks

For those of you who haven't already noticed all of the job postings we've been putting out there, something really exciting is happening within GISi. We are growing and it has been such an incredible thing to see. When I came onboard nearly 2 years ago, I had many questions - everything ranging from company culture to GIS in general. I was brand-new to the GIS industry and had a lot to learn about it. In fact, I felt a little embarrassed when our CEO asked me in my interview if I liked maps. I really hadn't given it much thought! My response was "I find them very useful" (I get lost quite a lot). In the back of my mind I was thinking...these people are different - and I LIKE IT. Plus I liked the opportunity to learn and appreciate something new - though I was still so overwhelmed in my first couple of months.

Reflecting back on my own thoughts and emotions when I first joined GISi, I thought it might be fun to compile some quotes from a few of my GISi co-workers. As a way of introducing them and also hinting at what it's really like being a newbie at GISi. The question I asked our folks was: If you had only a few minutes alone with someone new to our company, what advice would you give them? Here's what they had to say...

“Join ABPET.” – Chris Bupp, Professional Hair Whipper

“Stop using your personal Dropbox. Go here instead: dropoff.gisinc.com.” – Zachary Wilson, Senior Geospatial Analyst

“For remote [employees], communication is key. Remember you aren’t alone. And for both remote and office, please ask questions. I don’t care how many you ask or how many times. I would rather answer the question 10 times than restore a server.” – Niklas Zisk, Solutions Engineer

“Participate in as much as possible.” – Kelly Bigley, Geospatial Developer

“Get to know your fellow GISi teammates. The depth of talent here is amazing and it’s difficult to take advantage of it at first if you’re used to being the lone figure-it-outer.” – Zac Odom, Navy General Manager

“Don't be afraid to call up people just to say hey. It is very hard to remember everyone as the company continues to grow. It’s so easy to make a connection when you hear someone's voice in lieu of just having virtual communications. Don't worry about being silly, all you need to do is look on Yammer to see that we all enjoy letting our inner child out on there. Also, if you direct an email to the Tech distro list, be conscious of the need to hit reply all. This is an easy way to overload inbox's.” – Danielle Pugh, Analyst

“Melinda is awesome so do whatever she tells you to do.” – Melinda Frost, Chief Work Prevention Officer

“If you want something to change, change it.” – Corey Fields, Senior Geospatial Developer

“Along the lines of what Zac said, what is very different here vs. other companies, is that the majority people here are GIS professionals. All of my other experiences involved either a small GIS team among many engineers, PM's, scientists or what not. In many more situations, I was the only GIS person there. There are a few unique situations regarding this. It's also a smaller company. (1) If its new to you I'd suggest observing the culture a bit to get comfortable and then participate in what you are interested in, or 'start' something that doesn't yet exist that you are interested in as long as there is a benefit to doing so for you and others. (2) Tap into the talent pool for help, be humble...realize now that you are surrounded by other GIS experts so pretending you know something you don't will eventually be obvious, its ok to contribute what you know and learn from others where you are weaker (though I'd say that anywhere -- people here will be onto you much quicker!) as "employee owners" collaboration is not just a nice idea it benefits everyone. (3) If you are used to a rigid structure or a larger company get used to the idea of a more evolving culture and structure, and build expectations that are more in line with where the company is at now and the positives and negatives that go with that. Basically there may not always be a right answer to everything, someone may not have thought of it yet. There are boundaries, but maybe not as set in stone and obvious as older companies. Also, there is a particular culture surrounding animated GIFs. Learn it. One well placed GIF and you are golden. Make a few GIF missteps, or can't control yourself, its going to be hard to come back from that. Trust is broken.” – Connie Pokorny, Solutions Engineer

“I'd tell them to read through Yammer, theGrid, project files, anything they can get their hands on, and not wait to be told to do something. If they have suggestions, write them down and ask! And I'd give them insight to what an EDP is/does, so they can continually think about it.” – Denise Hakanson, Senior GIS Analyst

“The EDP [employee development program] is real, not a check-the-box kind of thing like at many larger companies. People in leadership read it and make decisions based on it. So take it seriously. Be honest with yourself and the company about what you want to be when you grow up. Opportunities arise quickly, so be prepared.” – Craig Erlandson, Navy Deputy General Manager

“You have to put the time into getting to know your fellow GISi'ers. Spend time each day participating on Yammer. Just because we are a distributed work force, it is important to engage with everyone each and every day. Also, if you say our company name wrong, there will be serious consequences. You write it GISi and pronounce it GIS Inc.” – Jeff Vreeland, Marketing Manager

“Don't be afraid to ask for help early and often. For reals, it's ok.” – Kimberly Denison, Technical Architect

“Make friends with Tonya Brown.” – Amy Hrdlicka, Geospatial Project Manager

“That's right, think of GISi as one big happy family and I'm big momma, trying to keep her family trucking along.” – Tonya Brown, Office Manager

“And if momma ain't happy, no one is happy!” – James Gibson, Geospatial Developer

“And if you're ever in the Birmingham office, just remember that we keep our office supplies downstairs!” – Rachel Ankersen, Marketing Coordinator