Time once again for another GeoGeek rapid fire, this time I have Lowell Ballard, Director of Geospatial Technology at Timmons Group where his role is to provide overall leadership and strategic direction for some ~100 GIS professionals. Ballard also works very closely on Strategic Planning projects with clients helping them to mature through GIS programs with the critical elements of a highly-functioning program including people, data and overall governance.
10 quick questions to get to know Lowell a little better:
Q: PC or MAC?
Q: Coffee or Tea & Beer or wine?
A: Dark Coffee, Dark Beer/IPAs
Q: ArcGIS or QGIS (or other)?
A: Various flavors with an importance on the right tool for the business problem
Q: iOS or Android?
Q: ESRIUC or FOSS4G?
Q: If I was to look on your coffee table, what are you currently reading? (Sorry if this sounded creepy!)
A: I’m currently reading John Lydon’s biography “Anger is an Energy”
Q: On the job front, is your company hiring or have you recently made a hire? Also, are there any challenges you face in hiring Geotech/Dev talent that you’d like to share?
A: We have roughly 100 staff specialized on GIS. Our staff includes those focused on GIS Data Management, Strategic Planning, Asset Management, Mobile and Web Development and Hosting and Support. We hire people monthly with our toughest hires being application / mobile developers typically.
Q: Any advice for GeoGeeks that are thinking of launching a startup venture?
A: The best ideas are typically simple ideas and take little “education” for people to understand their value. The more you have to “explain it” the less value it typically has.
Q: I’m a College student wanting a career in “GIS” what words of wisdom can you give me? Also, I often get people asking what courses or prof. development can I suggest. Is there a short course through Coursera or code academy etc… that you would suggest for a geogeek?
A: We rarely look at education when hiring people. We have hired people without college degrees numerous times. I would focus on “what you’ve done” versus “classes I’ve taken”. Doing a side project that shows initiative and skill will travel much further than getting an A in a class.
Q: I’m a bit of a skeptic regarding the economy at the moment and don’t view things as being completely rosy. How do you see the current business climate unfolding?
A: The world of mobile and GIS isn’t going anywhere (i.e., not shrinking).
Q: Can you share a snippet of what’s exciting and/or on the horizon for you & or your company?
A: We are continually intrigued by the growth of mobile and location-based solutions. The advent of Google Maps and other commercial services into our daily lives has heightened the importance of what we do and opened a million new doors.
Thanks for taking part Lowell!
For over 20 years, Timmons Group has provided proven geospatial solutions inspired by our clients and their vision. Our professional staff offers the expertise and ability required to design and execute innovative, challenging solutions that push to the forefront of our industry. Timmons Group is steadfastly committed to our mission – “To achieve unparalleled understanding of our clients, their businesses and their visions resulting in unrivaled client service and shared success.”
We carefully listen to each client’s precise needs and evaluate all potential options in order to develop sound and innovative solutions. Our clear communication and time-tested technical expertise enable us to think outside the box as we tirelessly strive for solutions that express you, our client, your stakeholders and the community.