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UCPS project manager wins national competition

UCPS Planning Project Manager Timothy Hales proudly shows off the gold medal that he won in a national competition using geographic information systems (GIS) to create the plans for a horticultural training facility.

A Union County Public Schools project manager with the Facilities, Planning and Construction Department, has won a gold medal in a national competition held recently in Missouri.
   
Timothy Hales, 26, became the national champion in the fourth-annual SkillsUSA Geospatial Technology competition in Kansas City, Missouri, in late June. With more than 5,400 contestants from across the US competing in 91 events, Hales was thrilled when he won his competition.
   
“It was fun, and I’m always up for a challenge,” said the three-year-veteran UCPS employee. “I knew I had to give my absolute best. You can’t do more than that. I am very pleased and excited that I won. It begins a new chapter in my career. To be recognized on a national level will open a lot of doors for me in the future.”
   
Hales’ project used geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze the best location for a horticultural training facility on the Porter Ridge campus. 
   
His project entailed creating a three-dimensional digital model of the campus. First he created a campus base map and then he performed a site suitability analysis. Three suitable locations on the campus were determined for the garden based on the open spaces available, sunlight, air circulation, slope and drainage, wind protection, and precipitation and irrigation.
   
The contest was sponsored by Digital Quest, Inc. from Mississippi, (which has offices at NASA -- the John C. Stennis Space Center) and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) from California. It was open to college and postsecondary students across the United States who are studying geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technologies.
   
Hales, who recently got an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in geospatial technology, represented Central Piedmont Community College in the competition, where he received his degree.
   
The project, which began in May, had to be completed in five weeks. “I took this on because it was a challenge and a great learning opportunity,” Hales said. “I look for opportunities to grow and I saw this as an opportunity to grow as an individual and professionally.”
   
Contestants had to do a presentation before judges and then orally defend their GIS project, as well as take a written technical knowledge test and a hands-on test of Geospatial Technology skills. 
   
Hales, who paid his own way to the competition, was happy to win $1,000 cash scholarship, which he used to reimburse his travel expenses to Kansas City. He also received a complete ArcGIS and four Extensions software package worth $10,000.
   
“These will enable me to develop further research,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to learn more about this technology on my own time. And I hope to use the software to give back to the community.”
   
During the competition process, Hales became Spatial Technology And Remote Sensing (STARS) certified, which means he is prepared to perform geospatial and geographic information systems.
   
“We’re very proud of Timothy,” said Don Ogram, UCPS Planning Manager who supervises Hales.  “He’s a very talented young man. His potential is limitless.”
   
Hales has his own website about geographic information systems (GIS). You can see that website at http://gispathway.com. He has also blogged about the Kansas City experience. You can view his thoughts on this at http://blog.gispathway.com

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jul 24, 2009 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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