I first came to learn about GIS and Esri during my undergrad when I was doing an internship with The Nature Conservancy. A couple years later I was working with an environmental consulting firm and decided to take GIS classes at the local community college. While pursuing my master’s degree, I did an internship with Esri’s Denver office, starting with the Professional Services Group where I mainly tested code being developed. Later that year I moved to the Technical Marketing Group, which was my introduction to being a solution engineer. I joined the staff full time in 2004.
My role is interesting because I enjoy working directly with customers. My primary goal as a solution engineer is to really understand what they are doing and what their business needs are. This has expanded from primarily working with the GIS group to a whole department or agency within a state or local government. Once I understand their business needs, I present a solution that includes Esri technology and show them how to apply it to meet those needs.
The work stays interesting because every customer is differentthey may have similar challenges, but our technology is often applied different ways. I enjoy working with strategic accounts where my engagement may take several months, if not a year, working with multiple departments within the agency. At this level you really have to coordinate with the account manager and create an account strategy that the whole team follows.
Being a solution engineer is unique in the sense that you need to be able to get up in front of people at a moment’s notice, whether it’s a group of 10 or 500, to present information and take questions. You have to be personable, but you have to be technical too because people are going to challenge your knowledge of the technology.
As such we’re given opportunities to stay on top of Esri technology. We have access to early releases and beta products, and we get regular updates from the product managers and development teams. Many solution engineers have the chance to work with staff in the holistic labs in Redlands between releases. Finally, just immersing yourself in Esri’s culture provides opportunities for technical and professional growth.
I’ve always liked computers and technology, and I've always liked maps so I just had an inherent draw to GIS. Esri has been a great place for me and I think the solution engineer role has been a perfect fitI enjoy traveling and meeting a wide variety of customers. I still get to take deep dives into the technology and apply that knowledge in a way that helps our customers be successful.
Sound interesting? Search current openings in Presales and Solution Engineering.