Getting to Know Esri Support: Todd S.

Blog Post created by mjarman-esristaff Employee on Dec 15, 2011
An interview with Desktop Senior Support Technical Lead, Todd S. Before the end of the year, we wanted to introduce you to another member of our team - this time from the Charlotte office! We snapped a picture of him and his Charlie Brown tree as he reflects on his past GIS experiences and how he got to where he is today.Support Services Blog: Welcome Todd. Can you tell us what position you have within Support Services?Todd: I am the Senior Support Technical Lead for the Desktop Unit.SSB: What do you do as a Technical lead?Todd: I create content for our new Learning Management System (LMS) within Support Services. I also create and deliver training for new analysts as they come on board and help keep existing analysts up-to-date on the current software. In addition, I am a technical resource for analysts when working with users that need help troubleshooting issues with our software.SSB: How did you get into GIS?Todd: Honestly, it was by complete accident. Here’s the condensed version of how it happened… Against better judgment, I received my undergraduate degree in anthropology. The subject matter was interesting, but I decided that I did not want to spend the rest of my working career begging for money in the form of government grants and making next to nothing in the process. That being said, I decided to start taking masters classes for environmental planning. My advisor at the time suggested I take a GIS class over the summer. I had never heard of GIS but I took the class, and I’ve been hooked ever since.SSB: What brought you to Esri?Todd: Prior to Esri, I worked as a GIS analyst for eight years at a civil engineering firm in upstate New York. Then I ran an office concerned with providing mental health services. I oversaw the maintenance of their statewide GIS, which consisted of 28 campuses and nearly 3000 layers of data. Now I know this may sound like an exciting way of life, but it was too much of a good thing and I was antsy for something different. On top of that, my complete hatred of cold weather, snow, and long gray northeast winters made a job opportunity with Esri in Charlotte a no brainer.SSB: Do you use GIS outside of work and how?Todd: My wife is getting her PhD in geography, and she picks my brain every once in a while. Sometimes I’ll get driving directions online. Other than that, not really.SSB: What was the coolest/strangest/most interesting GIS project you worked on?Todd: The most interesting was a pavement management system I helped build at my old job for a busy local airport. The system itself was actually pretty boring, but the data collection was crazy. It was cool climbing under all the planes on an active tarmac and runway. The jet blast from some of them was pretty powerful. We ended up buying some of the guys in the control tower a couple of pizzas and they let us out on the runway a lot more than they probably should have.SSB: How do you describe to family members and friends what you do for a living?Todd: No one in my family really has a clue what GIS is. Most of the time I’ll tell them that I work for a company that makes mapping and analysis software. 90% of the time this is good enough, but sometimes I’ll need to explain in more detail. My mom, however, still doesn’t get it. Ask her what I do and, after nearly 14 year of explaining, she’ll tell you that I “do something with maps.” Sigh.SSB: What is one of your favorite hobbies or pastimes?Todd: I’m a home brewer. There’s nothing quite like coming downstairs in the morning and seeing ten gallons of pale ale happily fermenting in your laundry room.Previous "Getting to Know Esri Support" Interviews- Shan C.
- Grant R.
- Sumedha S.
- John G.