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 2 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.

Lauren Herwehe, Tucson, Arizona

Meet Lauren Herwehe, a 24 year-old globetrotter.  Lauren can tell great stories around the campfire about her adventures in Timbuktu and Tajikistan.  She completed bachelor’s degrees in geography and geology at Penn State and is working on her master’s degree in geography at the University of Arizona. 
Learn about Lauren's Geo Journey in a 5 minute clip.

Claim to Fame:

  • Traveled to 40 countries in less than five years.
  • Can ask for directions in Tajik, Persian, German, Portuguese & Spanish.
  • Interned in Germany & Washington, D.C..
  • Fulbright Scholar and recipient of multiple awards, including “most well-rounded student.” 

 
 
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

 
 
By Rachel Kornak, GISP, GeoPivot Editor & GIS Instructor, Penn State. Redlands, California.
OK, I admit it...the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting wasn't really in Hollywood.  But it sure was close...just right down the street in downtown Los Angeles.  Being so close to Tinseltown inspired me to create my own movie about the Geo Community.  

Check out the results from the GeoPivot Conference Cam (a.k.a. my iPhone).  I captured mini-interviews with three first-time attendees at different stages in their geo-journeys.
Meet The Cast
  • Ray Tripp is a career flipper who pivoted into GIS after his career in finance crashed with the market.  He went back to school and is about to graduate!  
  • Tim Dewland is a recent grad from Penn State's Online GIS Certificate Program and on the prowl for his first GIS job.  
  • Urvashi Banerjea is an undergrad who jumped out of her comfort zone and presented a poster at her very first conference
Urvashi Banerjea, Undergrad Student. 

 
 
By Thomas Kirk, Undergrad Student, James Madison University, B.S. GISc Major, Harrison, VA
Picture
Thomas stands proudly next to his poster at the AAG Conference in Los Angeles, CA.
My journey to the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting began with a very determined professor.  

He informed me and three classmates in my senior capstone class that we were going to Los Angeles to present our work. 

At first I was apprehensive because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the conference, or what other attendees would expect from my presentation. 

I’d been to one geography conference before, but I'd never shared my own work. 

 
 
By Tom C. Zumbado
20 geographers crammed into an elevator.

Sounds way too sitcom, right? But that was the situation at this year's Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California. It seems that the hotel elevators had a penchant for crowding during the lunch hours.

My colleague and I were joyriding (yeah, I said it) in between sessions when, at the top floor, an elevator opened up to reveal a throng of stuffy professor-types, eager to get to the lobby and on with their lives.