Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Public to Private

Several weeks in the private sector and some general observations to offer. Go here for background, if needed.
These are generalizations so don’t get all worked up.

1. Everyone puts their pants on the same way. Though it may come as a surprise, people are just people. They have families, eat, drink and breathe all the same. Well that one isn't a generalization.

2. If you love your job, you work hard. It doesn't matter who you work for citizens or clients, you work hard. An often stated misconception is people in the private sector work longer hours or harder. I don't believe that is true. People that work hard do so regardless of their industry.

3. Private sector has a better talent pool. This one is nuts. I've had the opportunity to work with very talented people in both positions.  Intelligence or lack of should not be judged based on title, or employer.

4. They can do anything they want. I have heard this on both sides. Public service has the impression ‘private sector has unlimited funds and can do whatever they want too.’  The private impression is ‘public sector has no risk’. Both are wrong, but you all knew that…

5. Private sector is more agile. This one seems to be true on face value. It is much harder to hire an individual in the public sector. That said, I still believe the bigger the ship, the harder it is to turn, regardless of what sector. So may be agility is more closely coupled with an organizations size.

Am I enjoying my new gig? Yes, there are plenty of challenges and I am enjoying digging in and trying to solve problems.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interesting Day

I truly feel fortunate today. I have known a lot of people that made career changes because they had to do so. Some because they thought the grass was greener, some because they needed more $, a few because of some itch, and others because they lost a job they loved. They rarely seemed happy.

Today I left a place that I truly enjoyed working at. Love seems like an odd word to use, but I am not sure it is too strong. I cut my teeth in that office and having a great boss (I use that word loosely) made it a fun place to work. I don't recall a single time that I dreaded going to work. Seems there had to have been some day that was miserable in the past 11 years, but I don't remember it. So as I left today I nearly cried. Go ahead and laugh... I did...

I also realized that there was nothing or anyone that was forcing me to leave. I was leaving because I was more excited about the new opportunities than I was sad about the current ones. I think that is a unique position to be in and I am thankful.

So today has been interesting, and I have enjoyed it. #goodtimes

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Partly Cloudy / Mostly Sunny

It is a good day when departing one gig is a little sad (you still love it) and starting another gig is really exciting. All at the same time. I am fortunate on both fronts.

Yes it is true after 11 years, I am departing my post at the AGIO. This decision occurred following a number of conversations, reflection and consideration of my priorities; faith, family, fun, and work. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to help develop a sustainable office that brings true value to the citizens of the state of Arkansas.

I will miss the AGIO. This decision did not come easy. Shelby Johnson has served as a boss, friend and colleague for 10 years. His management style has allowed me to do (get away with) a lot of things. My resignation is the result of a great opportunity to work on new challenges. I have been lucky to serve with a great group of people performing a job I enjoy. I wish nothing but the best for the entire AGIO team.

The opportunity to work for a well established company with a rich history will offer new challenges, experiences and opportunities. I am looking forward to joining the Sanborn team and jumping into the 'what's next' phase of this adventure.

Thank you all; for the kind words many of you have expressed via email, text, twitter, voice mail... I apologize for not responding directly to each of you individually.

Hope to catch up with you in one of several locations over the course of the next couple of months.
1.    I will reside in Little Rock, AR (duck hunting)
2.    I will be in Colorado Springs, CO - next week (ping me if you are in the area)
3.    I plan to attend FOSS4G in Denver, CO
4.    I plan to attend NSGIC in Boise, ID

Personal reflection:
* Shelby yelled at me the 3rd day on the job. I might have deserved it.
* Shelby has owned 2 dogs since I have worked here and he truly hated one of them.
* My oldest daughter was 3 months old when I began work at the AGIO. She just started 6th grade.
* More than doubled the size of my family while working at the AGIO.
* Had no experience with government when I started at the AGIO.
* Had the opportunity to work with executives at the highest level of AR government.
* I have owned 2 pairs of boots since I have worked here and nearly cried when I had to retire the first pair.
* I have had the support of a great community of GIS users in the state (AR GIS Users).
* Learned the value of open data.
* Had the opportunity work with numerous county folks on their gis efforts that continue to flourish.
* Have developed a deep appreciation for a virtual community that includes a number of people I would not recognize in a line up but feel like I know.
* Been here 10 years and I packed all my stuff in 2 small boxes. Including #Geoglitterduck
* Lessons Learned; communication trumps everything else, technology is rarely the issue/people usually are, if a technology doesn't support a business process (reevaluate), if you aren't making mistakes you aren't trying hard enough.

Little known fact
Grew up and have lived in the south all of my life. Plan to stay here. Found out a couple of years ago; I get sick if I go over 10,000 feet (yes, even following all the rules). So I had to check to see what altitude Colorado Springs was at.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

discussion, event, issue, technology, topic, war

Familiar LightSquared  discussion, event, issue, technology, topic, war? You can read about it in no less than a dozen places (

I have been loosely following along; only because the topic keeps being put in front of me. So as a sideliner here are just a few thoughts. I am not an engineer nor am I familiar with all of the possible opportunities (good or bad). This is just a running list of thoughts I have had over the past several months.
  • Why is everyone so worried? Does anyone really think the government is going to let the GPS network be severely damaged? – This is not a small thing and the suggested impacts would be numerous on a multitude of levels. –zombies are not our worst fear
  •  Wow this thing is getting a lot of press
  •  No idea who their marketing folks are but they have earned their money
  •  May be this was a half backed idea that needed to go down this road in order to get input from the community, refine the plan, and execute a useful product – novel
  •  Here comes the mudslinging, they said – they said, nobody knows what’s going on
  •  Props to those guys for understanding and working the system
  •  Now let’s draw straws for teams- good vs evil
  •  Seems to be a lot of chest thumping going on
  •  Great now regardless of the outcome a) nothing happens b) the plan is implemented and has no impact – everyone can claim victory.
  •  This one pops in my head nearly every time- "I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right."

I have had a few more specific thoughts, but I’m not putting them in writing. Might it be bad- sure, might it be the best thing since GPS - maybe; isn’t that what innovation is all about?

Now I can add my name to the list of folks that have brought the topic up again. #badjokes 

About Me

Little Rock, Arkansas, United States