Welcome to the Grand Finale of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  Listen in on the group chat, then explore their individual geo journeys:

Celebrate National Geography Awareness Week!

Learn how young professionals are redefining what is means to be a geographer in a 15 minute group chat.

Explore their Geo Journeys:

Reed 
Tomlinson
geo business starter
Lauren 
Herwehe
globetrotter & student
Mike 
Colosimo
geo business starter
Sam 
Zuhlke
nat geo 
educator
Myles 
Sutherland
startup incubator

Interview led by Rachel Kornak, GISP, Creative Director & Editor of GeoPivot Magazine.  This story series is brought to you by National Geographic Education in celebration of 2013 National Geography Awareness Week and the 125th birthday of the National Geographic Society. Check out their blog for more exciting geography stories.  Special thanks to Justine Kendall, the Geography Awareness Week Program Coordinator for making this story series possible.
 
 
Welcome to Part 5 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  Later today, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Myles Sutherland, Santa Monica, California

Meet Myles Sutherland, Emerging Business Manager at Esri.  Myles was instrumental in creating a new sales and support division within Esri specifically to incubate start-up companies.  You may spot him in a make-shift garage office discovering the next geo-rock star or leading a Dev Meet Up in a city near you.
Learn about Myles' Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Supports start-ups and other businesses that want to integrate geography, but don't know how to get started.
  • Promotes small businesses and helps them leverage the latest mapping technologies.
  • Connects people and opportunities in creative ways.

Geo Shout Out:

"I've always been super passionate about physical geography.  I grew up in an outdoorsy family and my father is a geographer, so it has always been a big part of my life.  While at University, I got more into the human side of geography.  I often work with start ups who are either working with the physical world or people.  My geography background enables me to combine both people and place.  For example, I can show businesses where their customers are located and how they behave."

Zig Zags:

"I studied geography at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, where I learned about mobile technologies like GPS.  After I graduated, I became a Product Manager for Trimble Navigation.  After three years working there, I moved to the U.S. and became a Mobile Product Manager at Esri.  My role there has evolved over the last six years.  I now focus completely on working with start ups to integrate geography into their Software as a Service (SaaS), web, and mobile products."

Advice Byte:

"If you are curious about starting your own geo business,  go and talk to as many folks as possible who have already started one.  Ask for their advice about how to run a company.   You need to think about questions like: How you are going to start building prototypes? Who is going to buy your products? How are they going to gain value from your product or service? What's the culture of the organization you want to create?"

"Another way to get started is to intern with an early stage start up.  Pretty much every company I come across has some way they need to leverage location data, but they don't know how to actually create the maps, set up the data, or run the analytics.  If you have these skills, you can add value to their company."

Say What?:

"Having multiple mentors is important, since  everyone has a unique background and perspective.  Tapping in to these can help you grow in multiple directions.  I've learned that people can achieve the same results by going down totally different pathways.  They will have different advice on how to achieve the same goal.  You have to be able to make your own decisions from conflicting information you gather from multiple sources."

Stay in Touch:

Linked In: linkedin.com/in/mylessutherland

Twitter: @mylessutherland

Website: www.esri.com

Munch on More Stories in this Series:

Reed Tomlinson
geo business starter
Lauren Herwehe
globetrotter & student
Mike Colosimo
geo business starter
Sam Zuhlke
nat geo educator

Written by Rachel Kornak, GISP, Creative Director & Editor of GeoPivot Magazine.  This story series is brought to you by National Geographic Education in celebration of 2013 National Geography Awareness Week and the 125th birthday of the National Geographic Society. Check out their blog for more exciting geography stories.  Special thanks to Justine Kendall, the Geography Awareness Week Program Coordinator for making this story series possible.
 
 
Welcome to Part 4 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Samantha Zuhlke, Washington, D.C.

Meet Samantha Zuhlke, a 25 year-old Project Manager at the National Geographic Society.  Sam gets to tell the world how great geography is on a daily basis and helps people learn about our world in fun ways.  Before joining the National Geographic team, she completed a bachelor's degree in geography at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, was a student video journalist, and interned at a conservation organization called the Lake George Association.
Learn about Sam's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Produces free educational resources for National Geographic Education.
  • Geography education advocate.
  • How'd she do it?  Persistence.  She turned an internship into a contracting position, and then spun that into a full-time position.

 
 
Welcome to Part 3 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Mike Colosimo, Marina del Rey, California

Meet Mike Colosimo, 31 year-old Co-Founder & CEO of thrdPlace.com.  Mike creatively combined his passion for urban planning and business, and mashed them together with geography to start a company.  ThrdPlace* is a platform that enables companies to organize and mobile resources around community projects and tell better stories about the great work they are doing.  

* Urban theory states that we all exist in three places: home, work and community (the third place).  
Learn about Mike's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Co-created a business based on a conversation with friends about the inability for people to take initiative to build their own communities.
  • Became an Esri Business Partner, exhibited at the Esri International User Conference and was an invited keynote speaker at the Esri Locate Event in Los Angeles.

 
 
Welcome to Part 1 of our National Geography Awareness Week Story Series in partnership with the National Geographic Society!  We're celebrating this special week by highlighting five innovative young professionals and students who are blazing their own paths in geography.  We'll post a new interview every day this week, so check back often.  On Friday, we'll bring all of our new friends together in a virtual panel discussion.

Reed Tomlinson, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Meet Reed Tomlinson, a 26 year-old geo rock star.  Reed started his own GIS-centric nonprofit and co-founded a start up company that combines augmented reality and GIS to solve real-world problems.   
Learn about Reed's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Built multiple companies from the ground up.
  • President and Founder of EduContribution, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that pairs GIS grad students with small nonprofits. 
  • Chief Technology Officer of Carbon Objects, a new start up company in Chattanooga, TN.
  • Serves on the URISA Vanguard Cabinet

 
 
Welcome to our High Fives! Stories Series - Innovative Young Professionals in GIS
Meet Dr. Anthony Robinson, who started managing Penn State's Online Geospatial Programs at age 30.  He continues to blaze a path in uncharted territory by leading one of the first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Geography.  The five week course begins July 17th, 2013.
Picture
Anthony exploring Easter Island.

Silly Snafu

"I was about to give a software demo in front of everyone important in my field.  I began with a long intro about how, unlike other tools...mine actually worked.  Awkward silence filled the room as my computer crashed on the first screen.  We all waited patiently for my computer to restart, then it crashed AGAIN!  The demo never worked."

Claim to Fame

Jumping Out Moment

Deciding to become an academic:
"I came from a community where being an academic was like being an alien.  Growing up, I didn't see it as a possible future for me since I didn't have any tangible examples of success. I was inspired to pursue a PhD while getting my Masters Degree at Penn State."

Who Inspires You?

  • Cynthia Brewer: my confidant; "gut-checks" and career advice.
  • Alan MacEachren: how to innovate and lead research projects.
  • David DiBiase: how to empower teams and manage academic programs.
  • My Grandfather: how to analyze business challenges & read people.
By Rachel Kornak, GISP; based on a recent phone interview with Anthony Robinson.

Explore More Geo Stories

 
 
By Shannon McElvaney, Esri GeoDesign Evangelist, Redlands, California
Picture
Shannon exploring the ancient city of Petra, Jordan.
Geographers - The New Explorers

I always wanted to be an explorer, to set off into the unknown and find new cultures, new plants, and new animals; to document the unknown, map new territories, and study new creatures, people, and places to understand how they work, how they came to be, and what impact each had on each other’s development.

 
 
By Edward Pultar, PhD,  Lecturer, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California & President, Founder, Geographic Information Scientist at Valarm
Picture
Blaze your own career path!
While studying computer science and mathematics as an undergraduate, I decided I wanted to get my boots dirty and apply my love for the outdoors to my career.  I found geography and GIS at the University of Utah. 

My undergraduate research project was advanced for the time.  We mapped urban data clouds, performed in-situ wireless network data collection, and worked with agent-based models and cellular automata. 

A National Science Foundation grant funded my M.S. geography degree, where I developed a dynamic, spatio-temporal GIS including space-time algorithms, data structures, and queries. 

Michael Goodchild, one of the proverbial "fathers of GIS," was a Principal Investigator on the project, which helped land me at the University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB).  

 
 
By Sara Stokes, Assistant Instructor GEOG487, Penn State World Campus, Golden, Colorado
Picture
Embrace your experiences...you earned them!
A career is much like a wool sock dragged through a field of grass seeds. The sock is your career path and the grass seeds are the tangible and intangible nuances experienced along the way. 

Age, therefore, is an asset; it is only through time that your sock can collect those valuable, and yet intangible sticky seeds. On a personal level, my career path has taken me through many a field. 

I launched my career as a field biologist, transitioned to working in small museums, then to legal marketing, and on to event coordinating. And not to be forgotten, the years I joyfully spent raising my three boys. It wasn’t until many years later that I met my GIS career pivoting opportunity.