Happy New Year 2013 from the New England Chapter of URISA

31 Dec 2012 9:00 AM | Anonymous member
On behalf of the New England Chapter of URISA's Board of Directors, I want to wish you a safe, prosperous and wonderful beginning to 2013. As we look ahead toward a new year that promises to be an exciting one, with URISA's GIS-Pro coming to Providence in September 2013, its a great time to reflect back upon our success in 2012. What I remember most fondly about this past year is how the spirit of teamwork came through to help bring our professional community even closer together. In our mission to help geospatial and IT professionals to stay informed and connected, we called upon many people to selflessly contribute valuable time, expertise and friendly support. From all that we accomplished in 2012, I'm proud to say that the team came through like champions!

Here's a brief summary of our year in 2012:

Our second Ignite Spatial Vermont event in April attracted a mix of professionals and students from throughout northern New England for an increasingly popular way of networking and learning. The first ever Ignite Spatial Providence event in May followed quickly, with a capacity attendance of professionals and students from throughout southern New England gathered for an informative and entertaining afternoon of spatial goodness. In June, NEURISA hosted a popular webcast in collaboration with Robert Goodspeed and Meghan McGaffin, titled "Sharing Spatial Data in New England: Policies, Technology and Trends." We spent the summer and early autumn planning for what turned out to be a wonderful day at our annual conference, NEURISA Day 2012 on October 15th in Sturbridge, MA. Our fourth straight year in Sturbridge was a sold out event, attended by people from all over the northeast and we packed the agenda with topics that address a changing profession. The morning was devoted to all things LiDAR, followed by an afternoon full of interesting presentations addressing everything from open source technology, to cloud technology to unmanned aerial systems to mobile and web technologies. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response throughout the day, and were happy that our keynote speaker, Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, was interested in providing a follow-up LiDAR webinar. Footage from the resulting December 13th "Municipal Uses of LiDAR" webinar will soon be available.

As we head into 2013, the NEURISA Board of Directors is going through more changes than we have seen in several years. We have been quite fortunate to have several longtime board members stay with us as the chapter has gone through an unprecedented growth phase since being rejuvenated in 2008. Past Presidents Neil MacGaffey, Paul Samara and Feng Yang are stepping down as 2012 comes to a close. Our Treasurer for several years, Mary Hutchinson, is handing off the reigns to Nathan Dansereau. At-Large Board Members Kim Honetschlager, Randy Pickford and Judy Colby-George are stepping down after several years of close involvement in planning excellent events throughout our region. Each one of these board members made significant contributions to our organization and I want to thank them all. A few board members of note deserve some extra recognition. Neil MacGaffey, as a founding member of the organization, for many years was the face of NEURISA, keeping the organization moving forward through decades of hard work, persistence, diligence and the will to involve many people in organizing some memorable events. Neil will be greatly missed on the board. Paul Samara joined the board several years ago, and was instrumental in implementing some crucial new business processes, a corporate sponsorship structure and a complete new content management system that we now use as our website / event planning platform. Feng Yang moved the organization forward by establishing a regular quarterly event and communication schedule, while doing much to build the branding of NEURISA, all while mentoring me for my year at the helm. As the NEURISA Treasurer for several years, Mary Hutchinson implemented sound, efficient and trustworthy accounting practices, while working with a new president each year. This level of service was crucial to our growth as an organization, as were all of the contributions made by our board members. The word that best sums up the spirit of the work performed by our outgoing board members is "Dedication," and any organization needs plenty of that in order to be successful.

As 2013 arrives, I am excited to welcome our new at-large board members, Chris Akin, Erin Jacque, Diana Maties, Brett Horr, Brian DuPont and John Hangen. As a group, they bring new energy and resolve to our cause. As individuals, they each bring unique talents that we look forward to putting to great use for the geospatial and IT community in New England. Our new board members join an excellent crew that includes Secretary Robert Pruyne, Communications Director Chris French, At-Large member Shane White, yours truly, and our incoming President Steve Sharp. In working closely with Steve throughout 2012, I've come to recognize his strong leadership, organizational and team-building abilities. Steve was more than just a trusted advisor throughout this year, as he has taken on a leading role in the management and decision making that has helped to make this year a success. We are looking at a great year ahead with Steve at the helm and with our 2013 Board of Directors.

Now for a word about our corporate sponsors, AppGeo, Cartegraph, CDM Smith, DGT Survey Group, Sewall and VHB. These companies each contribute the funds that are necessary to keep our organization operating and focused upon helping our profession. As NEURISA passed the 1,000 member mark in 2012, while keeping membership free (if you're receiving this message, you are a NEURISA member), we recognize that it would not be possible without the support of our corporate sponsors, all of whom are leaders in the field. We appreciate the support and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with our loyal sponsors in 2013.

What I most look forward to in 2013, beyond the prominence of GIS-Pro coming to our region, is the opportunity for wider engagement within our professional community. The type of engagement of which I speak can happen in many forms, whether it is via involvement in efforts to plan events or training opportunities, or via reaching out to colleagues in our profession. At NEURISA, we are interested in working with you on facilitating more engagement that enriches our profession throughout the region. Please be in touch with us as a partner in the continued effort to make our profession a strong, hospitable community. We look forward to a great year of service, and toward working closely with you!

All the best,

Michael Olkin
NEURISA 2012 President

The New England Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (NEURISA) is the professional association of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) practitioners in New England. NEURISA is a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization whose mission is to advance the effective and appropriate use of GIS and related information technologies to solve challenges throughout the region.
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