ALISHA BECKER, GIS TECHNICIAN
College: Brigham Young University – Idaho
Degree: GeoScience Computing
How did you get into GIS, and what attracted you to it as a career?
I was originally a geology major and I took a GIS class as a requirement. Shortly into that semester I realized I wanted to be doing something in the field of GIS. I really liked that GIS combined a lot of different fields and covered a lot of different subjects, all in one discipline.
What do you find rewarding about working on data development projects?
I enjoy starting from a place where there isn’t a lot of data to start with, or when the data isn’t providing value to the client and turning it into something visual and usable.
Tell us the most important thing you’ve learned in your career.
Throughout my career so far I have learned the importance of communication. In the positions I held before working at Pro-West, I was the sole GIS person working on projects and wasn’t part of a team that regularly communicated about project status or with whom I discussed what I needed. That has been the biggest transition and the greatest lesson.
The Pro-West team is working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. How have you had to adjust? What have been the pros and cons of working at home?
The adjustment hasn’t been too big because I was already based at Pro-West’s small satellite office in Crosslake, MN. The biggest pro, though, is having mascots (my two dogs) at work, while the biggest con is sometimes the mascots can be a bit distracting. I also really like that I never forget to pack a lunch.
If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing?
I think I would either be doing something with horses, or I would be pursuing geology.
What does your typical weekend look like (pre-pandemic!)?
Usually on the weekends I am dog sitting for someone or going for a trail ride.