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Each year Keystone GIS (formerly PaMAGIC) recognizes one individual or organization that has contributed greatly to the promotion or advancement of GIS in Pennsylvania.  The Excellence Award has been presented at the annual PA GIS Conference since 2009.

Go to awards by year:

2024 Award Recipient - Jeff Jalbrzikowski

Jeff's exemplary work as the NOAA Nation Geodetic Survey's Appalachian Regional Advisor has helped advance geospatial work in Pennsylvania. Jeff has served as an advocate, educator, and resource for GIS practitioners across the state. His outreach efforts in the nationwide transition to updated horizontal and vertical datums have been appreciated and recognized by geospatial professionals from a wide array of backgrounds: he has presented for the Keystone GIS virtual lecture series, the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors, as well as at a variety of professional and academic conferences. With this award, the Keystone GIS Board of Directors acknowledges and thanks him for his work.

2024 Special Service Awards - Catherine Tulley

With this award, the Keystone GIS Board of Directors thanks Catherine Tulley, Manager of Environmental Programs at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, for the work she has done to help early career GIS professionals in addition to her advocacy for the continued development of professional skills. A former board member of Keystone GIS, Catherine's efforts and contributions did not end with her board retirement. Catherine continues to provide invaluable insight for the professional betterment of Keystone GIS members. She has been a stalwart proponent of continued professional development and has served as an excellent resource for members looking to earn their GISP accreditation. We thank her for her support, work ethic, and enthusiasm.

2024 Special Service Awards - Bobby Karimi 

In addition to his work on the PA GIS Conference Committee, Bobby has participated on the Keystone GIS Board of Directors, Governance Committee, Technology Committee, and Website Team. While managing this workload, Bobby was able to organize and execute the 2023 Conference under less than ideal circumstances.

Bobby has also demonstrated a consistent passion for involving students and early career professionals in the Pennsylvania GIS Community. His efforts in bringing new geospatial professionals to the conference have not gone unnoticed. We, as the Keystone GIS Board of Directors, want to express our gratitude for his support to our organization and this event. 

2024 Special Service Awards - James Whitacre

James has contributed to Keystone GIS through the Technology Committee, Website Team, Board of Directors, and served as the President of Keystone GIS. In 2023 James shouldered the bulk of the work involved in creating and operating the conference website.

James’ enthusiasm for technology is reflected in the quality of the existing conference website and his thoughtfulness is evidenced by its longevity. He has devoted so much of himself to the creation of a stable conference website, without which this event would not have been possible. We, as the Keystone Board of Directors, want to express our gratitude for his support to our organization and this event.

2023 Award Recipient - Mary Fulton

This award is being presented to Mary Fulton in recognition for 35 years of committed and dedicated leadership to Information and Geospatial Technologies within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In her role as the State GIS Coordinator, Mary recognized the value of all members of the industry, while tirelessly reaching across multiple branches of government, education, vendor services, and the private industry to bring Pennsylvania’s GIS Community together as one. Mary is known for her unparalleled resolve and steadfast commitment to providing quality support and guidance to Pennsylvania’s GIS community members.

We are endlessly thankful for Mary’s commitment to supporting our work, and for the contributions that she has made to advance the understanding and relevance of the GIS industry within the Commonwealth. The leadership and dedication that she has shown will have a significant impact on the successful implementation of geospatial services for years to come.

2022 Award Recipient - Rachel Ralls

This award is being presented to Rachel Ralls in recognition for her steadfast commitment and leadership of Central PA GIS Day. Since the events inception in 2009, Rachel played key roles in securing speakers and venues, building partnerships, facilitating, and coordinating committee meetings, and working with high school students and teachers in the geospatial professional community. The example that Rachel has set forth ensures that the Central GIS Day Event will continue to serve all sectors of the commonwealth for years to come.

Rachel is known for her relentless enthusiasm, and her dedication and leadership have contributed greatly to Pennsylvania’s GIS community.

rachel ralls holding excellence award plaque

sam neely standing next to james whitacre

2022 Service Recognition Award - Sam Neely

In her role as the Conference and Events Manager for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, Sam Neely has served as the lead for planning the Pennsylvania GIS Conference for the past 10 years. The PAGIS Conference is a staple within Pennsylvania’s GIS Community that has provided an outlet for all branches of government, education, and the private sector to come together and network with one common goal, advancing and promoting understanding and acceptance of geospatial technologies in our state, a mission that mirrors that of Keystone GIS’.

Sam’s committed leadership and dedicated coordination of the event are a main reason for its success. We appreciate her contribution and thank her for all that she has done to advance the work of the geospatial community across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

2020 Award Recipient - Dr. Yasser Ayad

The 2020 PAMAGIC Excellence Award is being presented to Dr. Yasser Ayad. Dr. Ayad has served as Professor of GIS at Clarion University for nearly 20 years, inspiring countless students to explore careers and public service opportunities in GIS. Dr. Ayad founded and continues to organize the Northwest PA GIS Conference, now in its 15th year. This event serves as the ‘life blood’ of the GIS community in Western PA, bringing together a diverse group of geospatial professionals to network, learn, and share. His teachings not only demonstrate his passion for GIS, but convey the technology’s ability to better our communities and connect our cultures. PAMAGIC sincerely thanks Dr. Ayad for his contributions to the proliferation and education of GIS across the Commonwealth.

dr. ayad and mark maguire with excellence award

scott zubek holding excellence award

2019 Award Recipient - Scott R. Zubek

The 2019 PaMAGIC Excellence Award was awarded to Scott R. Zubek. Scott represents the best qualities of a GIS Professional in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has served as Tioga County GIS Director for many years and is responsible for creatng, maintaining, and distributing spatial information. Scott has served on the County GIS Pros and more recently the PA Geospatial Coordinating Board Governance task force, where he has been instrumental in the development of GIS standards and data sharing initiatives.

2018 Award Recipient - Dave Gilbert

dave gilbert holding excellence award in a hallway

The 2018 Excellence Award is being presented to Dave Gilbert. He has dedicated his time, energy, and ideas to the Pennsylvania GIS Community continuously for nearly twenty years. He works both on the front lines and behind the scenes to ensure return on investments in data and applications. Dave is known for speaking out in relentless pursuit of ideas and goals he believes are important.

Dave has led by example in the following ways: served three terms on the PaMAGIC Board and serves as our representative to the GeoBoard; guided formation of the PA Association of Floodplain Managers; actively supports updated hydrography data, represents private industry interests in GIS with pride and professionalism, and has an insatiable thirst for new technology.

State College, PA; May 15, 2018.

2017 Award Recipient - Nicole Ernst

The 2017 Excellence Award is being presented to Nicole Ernst in recognition of her devotion to educating and influencing the Geospatial Community in Pennsylvania.

She led the development of a very successful and influential Geospatial Technology program at Harrisburg Area Community College. She has played a significant role in the creation of the Central PA GIS Day, which has grown to become a very important event in the region, and she has also made important contributions as a member of the PA GIS Conference Planning Committee.

Nicole’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious and her GIS achievements will have a lasting impact on future generations.

State College, PA, May 16, 2017.

nicole ernst receiving excellence award from patrick mckinney

2016 Award Recipient - Eric Jespersen

The 2016 Excellence Award was presented to Eric Jespersen in recognition of his life-long devotion, dedication and commitment to volunteer and non-profit organizations like PaMAGIC. He has led by example, with steadfastness and limitless energy.

Eric has been pivotal in the creation and formation of Pennsylvania’s State Geospatial Coordinating Board and numerous initiatives of PaMAGIC that are aimed at providing the citizens of the Commonwealth with quality geospatial resources.

State College, PA May 17, 2016.

eric jespersen holding excellence award next to other pamagic board members

2015 Award Recipient - Jim Knudson

jim nudson sitting next to eric jespersen

The 2015 Excellence Award was presented to Jim Knudson for all his efforts in advancing geospatial technologies in Pennsylvania.

The GIS community appreciates all your commitment and work. Thank you Jim!

State College, PA; June, 2015.

2014 Award Recipient - Laura Simonetti

The 2014 Excellence Award was presented to Laura Simonetti for being an active leader in the PA GIS community, which is exhibited by her contributions to coordination and communication activities on a local, regional and statewide basis.

State College, PA May, 2014.

laura simonetti holding excellence award next to eric jespersen

2013 Award Recipient - Mike Bialousz and Mike Shillenn

The Master of Ceremonies duties shared by Mike Bialousz and Mike Shillenn during recent GIS Conferences exhibit many of the characteristics and benefits of public and private collaboration.

  • Shared work is easier to accomplish
  • Simple communications are often enough
  • Small mistakes hardly matter
  • Humor and creativity help
  • Two heads are better than one
  • Experience counts

The excellent example set forth by both Mikes and their perennial labors in planning the GIS Conference are valuable to us all.

State College, PA June, 2013.

Mike Bialousz and Mike Shillenn holding excellence award

2012 Award Recipient - Northwest Pennsylvania GIS Planning Committee

The 2012 Excellence Award was presented to the Northwest Pennsylvania GIS Planning Committee. They have exhibited strong dedication to the organization and excellent execution of the annual Northwest PA GIS Conference.

excellence ward plaque for northwest pennsylvania gis planning committe

2011 Award Recipient - Brady Stroh

The 2011 Excellence Award was presented to Brady Stroh. Brady has steadfastly and unselfishly worked to foster the growth and development of a coordinated GIS within the Commonwealth for over 15 years. His ideas and optimism have been demonstrated through words and actions, which have proven to be a steadying force in GIS and have been regularly useful in promoting a way forward. Brady’s commitment to excellence is evident in a desire to educate others while providing leadership in a public setting as well as behind the scenes. Examples of his commitment to the public good are numerous, but none more so than the many years he spent organizing and managing the Pennsylvania GIS Conference.

glenn mohler presenting brady stroh with excellence award

2010 Award Recipient - Representative Russell Fairchild

russell fairchild holding excellence award next to another man

Whereas, Representative Russell Fairchild has exhibited leadership by introducing legislation that would give Pennsylvania's GIS practitioners a voice at the state level through the creation of a Geospatial Coordinating Council. Representative Fairchild''s long-standing support of this endeavor speaks to his dedication not only to the state's geospatial community but to every citizen of Pennsylvania. Now therefore, the PAMAGIC proudly recognizes the efforts of Representative Fairchild and his service to the Commonwealth.

Johnstown, PA May 11, 2010.

2009 Award Recipient - Maurie Kelly

The first Excellence Award was presented in 2009 to Ms. Maurie Kelly, Director of PASDA. Ms. Kelly has been a long-standing advocate for Pennsylvania''s Spatial Data ClearingHouse and continues to promote data sharing throughout the Commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access otherwise known as PASDA has exhibited technical innovation consistent with responsive needs to its users, responsible use of limited resources and exhibited excellence in GIS for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. PAMAGIC recognizes the long standing contributions to the director and staff of PASDA.

maurie kelly holding excellence award at PASDA booth

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