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An interview with Desktop geoprocessing and Python analyst, Stephanie W.Bringing you another member of our support staff, we interviewed Stephanie who is a support analyst from the Charlotte, NC office. We talked with Stephanie about everything from her hobbies, a recent trip to the South East User Conference, and Stephanie's career at Esri after studying geography at UNC Chapel Hill.tiny.jpgSupport Services Blog: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into GIS?Stephanie: Growing up I lived in Wisconsin and Michigan, but I would consider North Carolina my home. My dad got me into GIS with his career as a weather man. He is always working with maps and his passion for weather really inspired me and in turn got me interested in the environment. As I got older, I realized the environment was a lot more complex when you added humans into the mix. This helped me to develop a curiosity about geography and from there GIS was the ultimate tool to understand this connection.

SSB: What brought you to Esri?
Stephanie
: In my job search, I was always considering the companies I heard of while in school. Esri seemed like a good place to try since it was mostly what I learned GIS on and they are a leader in the GIS industry. I was very fortunate to meet some Esri employees at a career fair at UNC Charlotte and before I knew it I was showing up for my first day at work!SSB: Tell us a little bit about your role as a desktop support analyst and what you like best about being a support analyst.
Stephanie
: Since this is my first real GIS job, I had a lot to learn. It was a challenge from day one to absorb all the information about the parts of GIS I had never used or even heard of. But this challenge is one of my favorite parts about working in support, I am always learning every single day. In desktop, we work on a wide range of issues. My most favorite is working on geoprocessing incidents that come in as I enjoy figuring out suitable workflows for users or what is causing the tools to fail. Geoprocessing is what really led me to learn Python, which is now my favorite specialty. It really is amazing what things you can do with this simple language to automate your processes and workflows. It's also like a game to me to try and figure out the minor things that need to be changed or done to make the script work perfectly. I know, I know, you probably think I'm crazy to think coding would be any kind of fun!SSB: How do you describe to family members and friends what you do for a living  supporting Esri products?
Stephanie
: I still don't think I have this worked out yet. Sometimes I try to explain that I work with maps for a living. However, when I tell people that I work in a support center, I often end up getting dragged over to my family member’s computer to fix random issues with their OS (usually having nothing to do with GIS!). It seems like it has always been hard to explain to people what one might do with geography and GIS, but if they would just think more about the connection place has with components of society and the environment, they would realize it is a lot more important that just knowing where things are on a map.SSB: So what have you been up to lately at work?
Stephanie
: Recently, I attended the South East User Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was like a mini-UC for any of you who have been. It was a ton of fun to meet GIS users face to face and help people directly face to face. It is also great to see all the cool projects that people are using GIS for in their day to day lives. And you’re probably thinking, "Orlando, Stephanie… tell us you went to Disney too!" Well how could I not! I was a girl on a mission and hustled around to three of the parks. I needed to get back to my desk just to have a break. But for those of you who've never been to an Esri conference, go! Even if you can't make it to the big one in San Diego, go. It's a great experience to meet people who share the same passion for GIS and to learn new things about what is happening in the world of GIS.SSB: Tell me a little bit about yourself outside of work. Are there any hobbies that you enjoy?Stephanie: Outside of work, I enjoy painting. I've been oil DSC_0012-300x199.jpgpainting for over a year now at the civic center near my house. I love it because time just slows down and my brain can take a break from all the learning that I did throughout the day. I also just recently adopted a dog. He is a basset hound mix; you know the short legs, long body. He's a cutie. We enjoy taking long walks on the greenway near our house. I also enjoy photography; I do okay, with a good picture every once in a while.Previous “Getting to Know Esri Support” Interviews

- Todd S.- Gaurav N.
- Shan C.
- Grant R.
- Sumedha S.
- John G.
An interview with ArcIMS and ArcGIS Server Analyst, Gaurav N.
To continue our “Getting to Know Esri Support” series, we’ve interviewed a member of the Redlands Server team. Gaurav has traveled far and is now living his dream working for Esri!.Support Services Blog: Welcome Gaurav! Let’s jump right in with finding out a little about how you got into the GIS industry and what brought you to Esri?Gaurav: While I was studying for my bachelor’s degree, I attended a conference on disaster management and learned how GIS is helpful in relief services. I tried to find out ways to enter the industry, did some research and found that Esri is the market leader in GIS. I contacted Esri India and took an ArcGIS Desktop and ArcIMS course. I started working in the GIS industry and later, I got hired at Esri India where I worked as a Technical Support Analyst. After working for 7 years in the GIS industry, I got the opportunity to come to the USA and work as consultant at the Esri Redlands headquarters. I am now working as a full-time Support Services Analyst in the Server Unit. My dream came true, and I even got to meet Jack Dangermond and talk to him in the Esri cafe one day during lunch!SSB: Tell us a little bit about your daily responsibilities as an analyst.Gaurav: I work as a Tier 2 Analyst in the Server Unit where I am responsible for troubleshooting complex problems reported by customers. My expertise is mostly on troubleshooting performance related issues with ArcIMS and the ArcGIS Server products.

Sometimes users call and report their production environment is down and need us to help. We help discover workarounds, if they reach a software limitation, to enable them to continue with their work. Also, we get calls at times for disaster relief where the customer application is down. For example:
  • During wild fires or floods, organizations need to demarcate the affected area on the web for their relief work force.
  • During hurricanes, power companies plan a restoration on the GIS website.
  • During oil spills, petroleum companies want to track where the oil spill has happened.

I feel that my work is very important, and I take pride in being able to help in such situations.SSB: What do you like about working as a support analyst in Redlands?Gaurav: Interacting with customers and facing new challenges every day. Not only to help troubleshoot the problem, but also to assist with changing, improving, or optimizing their systems. I like the open and friendly work atmosphere. You have opportunities to engage with others throughout the company, allowing you to exchange ideas, learn from others, and leverage their skills to accomplish a task.SSB: What do you enjoy when you are away from work?Gaurav: I enjoy spending time with my wife and 2.5-year-old son. I am also taking guitar classes and working on my MBA.SSB: Good luck with learning the guitar, and thanks for your time Gaurav!Gaurav: Thank you. It was nice talking with you.Previous "Getting to Know Esri Support" Interviews
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.

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