All Stars 2019

samanthakollasch

FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR

What do you do as a GIS technician?

My main responsibility is to keep all of our utility infrastructure,

address and parcel layers up to date with the latest information.

I use all of this information to create maps for employees,

contractors or residents if they are wanting to know where

the water or sanitary sewer comes into a property. In order to

make this all happen, I do fieldwork to collect the required

data using a GPS device at various construction sites. Once

I’ve completed my data collection, I compare it to construction

plans in the office to make sure everything is installed correctly.

Along with GIS work, I help out in the Water Department and

assist customers when they call or stop in to City Hall.

What gets you excited to head to work each day?

Knowing each day is going to be different than the previous

one; I never know what the day has in store. I enjoy getting

new projects assigned to me and being able to see the

finished product. Someone might come visit me about a new

project they need me to work on, a certain layer of our system

needs to be updated or they simply need me to create maps

of the city with various features on it. I like being able to assist

the citizens and contractors when they stop in.

Did you go to school for this kind of work?

Yes. I attended Kirkwood, graduating in fall 2015 with my A.A.S.

in geographic information systems (GIS) and A.A. in liberal arts.

During my time at the City of Hiawatha, I’ve made multiple

layered maps, helped many different departments with mapping,

and proposed and bought a new GPS system – all things I was exposed

to at Kirkwood. During the summer of 2015, I interned with

the City of Hiawatha, and with my class schedule the way it was, I

had the flexibility to continue working here while earning my B.S.

from UNI in geographic information science: planning and policy.

Kyla Pfeiler

GIS Technician

City of Hiawatha

Hiawatha, Iowa

Watch Kyla’s story

youtu.be/ESyiIN_THVQ

What do you find especially rewarding about your job?

Having the ability to go out in the field and give a precise

location of where a missing manhole, curb stop or water valve

might be. Or even simply printing off a map or being able to

give distances from our GIS system to a particular feature for

either myself, a co-worker or a contractor to use when locating

it. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing my job is important for others

to be able to do their jobs.

Has anything surprised you throughout your career?

While going through college and working in the field, I found

out there aren’t many women in this field. I encourage women

to look into a degree that is nontraditional for women. And the

same for men. It’s easy to write off a degree because you think

it’s gender-based, but give it a chance. It may be just what

you’re looking for.

What advice do you have for people interested in your line

of work?

If you’re in high school and you’re given the opportunity to

do job shadows, do as many as you can. This can give really

good insight about the job or degree you’re looking into. And

attend as many program conferences as needed, or reach out

to a teacher in the program for more information. Never close

your mind off to new opportunities.

14 2019 ALL STARS of ICR

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