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GISP Recognition

Has your organization gone above and beyond to recognize your achievement? If you are a GISP and your organization has recognized you in some way (press release, company email, newsletter citation, etc.) then please send that along. We will post those here. 

  • If you are a GISP and would like to submit how your credential was acknowledged, please emailinfo@gisci.org  and your recognition will be posted online.  

  • If certified by GISCI, a congratulatory letter can be sent to your employer or supervisor.  

  • Employers and Organizations can learn how to continue to support GISPs by reading this short guide.

  • If you have recently become a GISP, GISCI offers a sample press release that can be used by your organization to bring attention to your accomplishment. The release can be altered to your specifications.


 

Organizational Support for the GISP

A number of GISPs have asked how other agencies and organizations have been supporting professional certification. We thought we would go right to the source and ask. GISCI asked a handful of organizations, with a number of GISPs to let them know how their organization has recognized the credential. The respondents lent valuable insight as to how their organizations are supporting GISCI certification.
 

Stephen Keen, GISP
Camp Dresser & McKee 
Cambridge, MA 

CDM has welcomed the GISCI certification with a huge sigh of relief that there is finally a certification process for GIS. CDM is primarily an engineering company, and as such there is a great emphasis on gaining a P.E. to advance in particular engineering careers. While I understand

that the GISCI certification is not an equivalent of a P.E., it is a good start. To this end, we are now encouraging our employees to gain GISCI certification where appropriate and it is written into our career guidelines for advancement. CDM does not require anyone to take GISCI

certification, but where they do we cover all associated costs. Once completed GISCI certification it acknowledged in our newsletter and GISP is added to business cards and E-Mail signature lines.

Brandy Riche, GISP
Pierce County
Tacoma, WA 
Pierce County's GIS Manager (Linda Gerull) and IT Director (Terry Hale) have both been very supportive of certification for many reasons.

It would be analagous to why one would hire a Microsoft-certified individual over one that is not for a job that would obviously benefit from that knowledge, even if it is not required. Having a number of certified GIS professionals on staff speaks highly of the caliber of staff an organization is looking for, and is able to recruit. That makes the organization attractive to potential recruits that can contribute significantly to the organization. If I were a GISP looking for a job, I would be more inclined to go work for someone that obviously supports that level of professional growth, development, and projects or opportunities.

It also makes the organization attractive to potential customers or partners. Customers obviously want to spend their money on the most experienced, effective, and talented GIS providers they can afford, as would potential project partners. Having more GISP's illustrates that level of commitment, experience, and knowledge of not only the employees themselves, but the organization as a whole. The organization recognizes that benefit they reap from the number of certified professionals they have on staff. For that reason, they do cover the cost of the certification.

There isn't an enticement to apply for certification, though there is a recognition that this is a way to acknowledge past experience and effort. Recertification is also a method of encouraging the maintenance of that effort and professional growth in the future. The GISP is considered a recognition in itself, and the successful completion of that certification has been recognized in staff meetings as encouragement for others to keep working toward that.

There is no further reward for the certification at Pierce County. Our GIS staff is a great team, with all of us being very focused on the big-picture goals that management establishes, and each of us bringing particular talents and knowledge to the team to make it better able to

realize those goals. I personally believe I am very lucky to work with such a great group of dedicated GISP's (and GISP's-to-be), and a management team that supports us.

Todd Wilson, GISP
Mecklenburg County
Charlotte, NC 

Did Mecklenburg County offer any enticements to apply? 
Not really, the GIS staff took on the initiative themselves to pursue the application process

Were you expected/required to apply? 
No, purely voluntary

Did they recognize you in some way (tangibly or intangibly)? 
We were recognized in out County-Wide newsletter

Have they been supportive of the recertification effort? 
Yes, We have people that continue to get GIS/IT Training and attend conferences. Some plan to submit GIS articles to various GIS magazines as well.

Did your employer cover the cost? 
The application fee was paid out the the GIS Unit's budget.

Did your colleagues or employer turn you on to the program?
Our participation with URISA made us all aware of the certification opportunity.

Angela H. Mills, GISP
Prince William County
Prince William, VA 
Did Prince William County offer any enticements to apply? Yes and No. On the whole Prince William County does not offer any enticement to apply. Agencies that use GIS communicate with each other and encourage application to the institute. Because the County's policy on obtaining this certification states that it is strictly up to the department director how to compensate the employee, some agencies with GIS personnel have chosen to give their staff members an administrative adjustment in their salaries while other departments have chosen not to compensate their employees. The GIS Division offers a 5 step pay adjustment when certification is first obtained with no compensation for re-certification.

Were you expected/required to apply? 
No, it is strictly up to the individual whether to apply.

Did they recognize you in some way (tangibly or intangibly)? 
Within the GIS Division, GISPs were also given a plaque of accomplishment and recognized at Division Meetings.

Have they been supportive of the recertification effort? 
Yes. Training opportunities, conference attendance and presentations, interaction with the communities on GIS Day and other means of participation are encouraged by management within all departments that have GISPs.

Did your employer cover the cost? 
Again, this is a yes and no. Most agencies covered the cost while others did not. The GIS Division covered the cost for their personnel.

Did your colleagues or employer turn you on to the program? 
More of colleagues. Several staff members from the Prince William County GIS Division (some are managers) are members of URISA and communicated the benefits of the program to other professionals within the organization through our GIS Users Group forum.

Justin P. Valeri, GISP
PBS&J
Tampa, FL
PBS&J is currently encouraging their GIS Analysts to pursue a GISCI certification. We feel that attaining individual certification promotes career growth and sets our group above our competitors. Please take a moment to review some quick responses to your questions:

Did PBS&J offer any enticements to apply? 
Yes...PBS&J will award any new GISP's with a salary incentive.

Were you expected/required to apply?
No...There is no pressure or expectation to apply. The decision is left to each individual's desire to attain the certification.

Did they recognize you in some way (tangibly or intangibly)?
Yes...An email is sent to the entire internal IS group congratulating each individual who attains their GISP. The company is also planning a press release to announce its new GISP's.

Have they been supportive of the recertification effort?
Yes...continued education, contributions to the profession, and technical papers/presentations are always encouraged and usually covered by the company.

Did your employer cover the cost?
Yes

Did your colleagues or employer turn you on to the program?
No...I learned about the certification program on my own, however all new GIS Analysts are turned on to the certification program by PBS&J.

Karen G. Mitchell, GISP
Michael Baker Jr. Inc.
Frenchtown, NJ
Baker is very supportive of employees continuing their professional development. We are regularly encouraged to seek certifications and professional designations. We are also encouraged to be involved in professional organizations, participate in conferences, join committees, give presentations, etc. In fact, involvment and growth are criteria in yearly performance rating reviews.

Acheivements are recognized within our department. Corporate-wide the GIS field is not considered the bread & butter; Baker is primarily a road & bridge engineering firm, so there is little recognition beyond the GIS practice. The company did cover certification costs. I heard about the program through MAC-URISA and the NJ Geospatial Forum.

Cheryl L. Rowell, GISP
Western Air Maps Inc
Overland Park, KS 
The GISPs at Western Air Maps were grand fathered in. All of us have 15 years plus experience in the GIS field. Our organization actively encouraged our involvement in the GISP program. Western Air Maps, Inc. covered the application fee. The company supports our recertification

efforts by sending us to conferences such as URISA, ESRI Users Conference, ASPRS, etc. They are also supportive of our efforts to make contributions to the field by allowing us time on the job to prepare presentations, etc. Our organization also offers a tuition reimbursement program for continuing education classes. All of the GISPs at Western Air Maps, Inc. have been recognized with a Recognition of Excellence certificate.

Jessica J. Moy, GISP
Remote Sensing & GIS Research and Outreach Services
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 
Essentially, we, as a group, made a concerted effort to become GISP certified. As a program, we wanted RS&GIS to stand out from other consulting agencies (both on/off MSU's campus) - we have a wealth of talent, experience, and dedication on our staff and we decided, as a group, that the en mass GISP certification would be a way to illustrate this.

We discussed GISP certification at our 2004 strategic planning retreat and quickly agreed it should be a top priority for our staff. We assigned a sub-group to research the requirements, costs, application needs, etc. Then, we set up a "GISP certification" day in our computer training lab (the sub-group forewarned us of materials we should bring along). Each staff member sat at a computer, armed with coffee and a donut (does that count as an "enticement"?), stacks of their personal accolades, etc. As a group, we moved through the application screens (asking each other, "do you think such and such counts?" and "what year did such and such take place?"). In total, it took only about 1-2 hours of our time to complete the application (several staff members were able to "grandfather in" so that helped). One staff member was then assigned to collect all of the required printed material/signatures and mail them, in bulk, to you.

Did Michigan State University offer any enticements to apply? 
Other than the donuts? I think "enticements" is the wrong word...we were encouraged, both individually and collectively, to apply. Group benefits, stated above, included further recognition for our program, personal benefits included resume-boosting terminology/professional letters to add to our titles.

Were you expected/required to apply? 
Yes, however, again, I wouldn't look at this as a "expect/require" situation. I think the staff was interested and willing to do this.

Did they recognize you in some way (tangibly or intangibly)? 
Reference the donuts? We do list the GISP certified staff on our website, business cards, etc. and we have framed plaques for certificates.

Have they been supportive of the recertification effort? 
Staff members keep track of their own "personal" efforts for recertification. However, we do maintain a file drawer for things like conference proceedings/registration confirmation, etc. All staff are encouraged to participate in conferences as speakers/participants and many staff have chosen to be on GIS-related committees.

Did your employer cover the cost? 
Yes. This is a part of our budget - as are local conference registrations, some educational opportunities, etc.

Did your colleagues or employer turn you on to the program?
We have close ties with IMAGIN, which has close ties with URISA, so I'm not sure "when" or "how" we first heard about GISP certification. But, it did not take long for us to independently and collectively begin to investigate it further.

J. Greg Yarbrough, GISP
Wilbur Smith Associates
Columbia, SC 
In response to your questions regarding how Wilbur Smith Associates rewards its staff who qualify for GISP status. It is recognized with a monetary bonus and recognition in our company newsletter.

We encourage our GIS staff to work towards qualifying for GISP status. We are very pleased with the certification process and believe that it helps to provide a measure of confidence with our prospective clients.

Andrew Baranowski, GISP
Camp Dresser & Mc Kee Inc
Islip Terrace, NY 

The certification was looked on favorably during my annual review, and the fact that I obtained it has been documented in my employee file. The certificate also has been factored into CDM's job classifications. In other words obtaining a GISP can help one's career advancement at CDM. CDM did reimburse us for the application fee. CDM GIS Employees who earned their GISP received recognition in the monthly company wide newsletter.