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Congratulations Symposium Award 🏆 Winners

This year's honored recipients are Jami Nash, Alex Harper, CAW, and Rusty McAllister.

The Distinguished Service Award goes to

Jami Nash | Arkansas State University

This award is bestowed on an individual for extraordinary personal contribution to the mission and success of the Arkansas GIS Users Forum. Candidates for this esteemed award have demonstrated many years of dedicated service to the Arkansas GIS User's Forum, giving unselfishly of their time and energy. Their purposeful commitment has made a definitive and positive impact on the state. Winners of the Arkansas GIS User's Forum Distinguished Service Award will be inducted into the Arkansas GIS User's Forum Hall of Fame at the Biennial Arkansas GIS User's Forum Symposium. Nominees may be any current or former member of the Arkansas GIS User's Forum.

"If you’ve been to any of our last several in-person Symposiums, Jami Nash and her team are usually who greets you, checks your registration, gets you your name tag and swag, and sends you off with a smile.

Jami also serves as the Secretary for the Forum. This is not just a title, folks! Jami is one of those background, unsung heroes who puts in many hours of personal time to ensure that things are running smoothly. She has been recording the minutes of each executive committee meeting for 6 years.

That sounds too simple for what it really is…she records every move, every idea, every task, and the details of everything else in each meeting and provides that recorded documentation (that’s metadata people!) for the Forum to have on record permanently. She also keeps up with the running “to-do” list and communicates with Forum members about what they need to do as deadlines approach."


The Innovator Award goes to

Central Arkansas Water GIS Department

The Arkansas GIS User's Forum Innovator Award recognizes the unique and significant contributions of pioneering organizations that have pushed the envelope of geospatial technology through innovative development of a technology, service, or application applied within the state of Arkansas. Candidates for this award include organizations whose vision and forward-thinking have successfully implemented cutting-edge advances and innovative solutions that benefit geospatial users. Nominees for this award may include any user organization, including government agencies and nonprofits.

"During the record-setting snowstorm in February 2021, GIS technology was crucial in tracking service and main breaks that were draining the system and causing a service area-wide call to conserve water. CAW did not have to issue a boil water notice or run out of water like other nearby systems. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, web maps were created for field users to turn on customers’ water service who had previously been turned off due to nonpayment.

The CAW-U leadership & supervisor inaugural class used GIS to highlight areas that could serve as free water filling stations. Part of this project has been highlighted in the Esri Map Book Volume 36. The GIS team created new personnel dashboards to track how COVID-19 affects staffing across the utility. The use of GIS technology in innovative ways is a true benefit to Central Arkansas Water. This mindset and work ethic is what proves CAW’s GIS Team to not only be innovative but implement innovation."


The Excellence Award goes to

Alex Harper | Central Arkansas Water

The Arkansas GIS User's Forum Excellence Award recognizes user organizations for their outstanding application of geospatial technology. Candidates for the Excellence Award demonstrate dedication, insight, and a high degree of initiative in implementing successful geospatial systems. The award recognizes the accomplishments of organizations whose success and attention to quality leads others by example.

"The work of Central Arkansas Water’s GIS team is being recognized by many in the GIS community. Esri has published articles highlighting how GIS touches every aspect of operations at CAW. The team’s work has been highlighted during Esri Plenary Sessions and requested for presentations by Esri and Cityworks. One project (Drinking Water Access Locations: Providing and Essential Service) was published in the Esri Map Book Volume 36.

Other presentations included how GIS analytics are being used in the planning of expansion into an area that currently does not have water infrastructure. CAW has North America’s first water leak detection K-9, whose handler uses GIS and Cityworks to track possible leaks. At the 2021 Cityworks Innovate Conference, CAW was awarded the Excellence in Departmental Practices award which highlights the leadership and creativity in implementing Cityworks and GIS across the utility. This shows just how accepted and mission-critical GIS has become across the utility."


The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to

Rust McAllister | City of Jonesboro

This distinguished award recognizes an individual for their outstanding contribution and long-standing commitment to the Arkansas geospatial community. Candidates for this award include those whose pioneering spirit and demonstrated dedication have contributed greatly to GIS in Arkansas and whose example serves as an inspiration to others. Nominees may be any current or former member of the Arkansas GIS User's Forum.

"...since his first year as GIS Coordinator with the City Of Jonesboro. Rusty's prior GIS experience with the State of Arkansas helped get the GIS program up to speed, in a phenomenal way. His unwavering commitment to helping others on numerous GIS projects. The giving and sharing of his knowledge to others is what it’s all about. Having his knowledge and understanding in all facets of GIS comes through a lifetime of dedication in the GIS institute of learning. Rusty McAllister has put Northeast Arkansas’s GIS mapping program in a solid foundation that will benefit other GIS users for generations to come."

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