•  April 11, 2018

    Doing What I Believe by Bill Johnson

    This article was originally published by Applied Geographics Inc. (AppGeo), a company acquired by The Sanborn Map Company Inc in September 2022.

    I love Mark Twain, who broke the mold on stuffy Victorian writing and introduced an American vernacular voice to literature.  There are lots of his quotes that I like, but a favorite is this one:

    “Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment.”

    I’m 58, with more than 33 years in the GIS profession, so I have plenty of experience.  And based on that, I guess I can now claim to possess some measure of good judgment. There aren’t a whole lot of advantages to growing older, but at least you come to be viewed, sometimes, as having a bit of wisdom, which is another way of getting at Mark Twain’s quoted sentiment.  I hope that none of my classmates from Marjorie A. Rice Elementary School in Holden, MA are reading this, as I am sure they would laugh out loud at the thought that little Billy Johnson; the skinny, fidgety, nail-biter who didn’t stand out in any way except for his goofy cowlick, is laying claim to wisdom.  

    I’ve become much more deliberate about the things that I choose to do.  Particularly in my professional life, I find that in order to give my best effort, I have to be doing something that I believe is worth doing, something where whatever modest talents I have, combined with my accumulated experience, can be applied to do something positive, something that makes me feel like I am “moving the needle”.  When talents and purpose are well aligned, good things happen. I feel energized. I find that my creative processes, where ideas are born and nurtured, naturally work better. I project a more positive attitude to others. I smile and laugh more easily. I am more productive. I just plain feel better. I can only speak for myself, but I assume that the same is true for nearly everyone.  

    That’s why I am so pleased to be joining AppGeo.  I have known some of the principals since before AppGeo started.  Peter Girard, VP of Software, began his career at the New York State Dept of Transportation shortly after I began my career there, and we worked together for six years.  His wife, Yen, was also part of that mapping team at DOT. I look forward to her Christmas card every year with it’s tiny, neat, hand-printed message. Rich Grady was at Intergraph in Huntsville, AL in those days, where Peter and I dealt with him many times as a customer.  I actually recall hearing about Rich before he went to Intergraph and was at Esselte Mapping in Boston. And because I have been an AppGeo customer many times over the years, I have come to know quite a few others on the AppGeo team. I know how AppGeo works and I know that the company is not just chasing dollars.  They carefully choose the projects to pursue that align their pool of talented team members and a core belief in the power of GIS to do good things.

    That aligns with what I believe.  Count me in. All in.

    That’s carpe geo.

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