ArcGIS Enterprise

Podcast 9- TJ Houle, UDC; Looking at GIS from a different perspective.

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TJ is so incredibly fun- from her brightly colored hair to her beautiful map dresses- she harnesses the imaginative and creative spirit of all things GIS. I never have a bad conversation with TJ, but this one has to be one of my absolute favorites. Not only did we cover so much material, but I learned a ton from her. She is hilarious, intelligent, supportive, focused, and driven. She is a curiosity while simultaneously being vey transparent, and by that I mean you know where you stand. TJ is extroverted, but shares her fear of social scenarios. She’s always so friendly and sociable when I see her, I would never have guessed that is something she has to work to overcome. Of course, I see her when she’s “on” at a conference, outgoing for customers and anyone else who stops by the booth or chats with her after a presentation. This does not indicate she isn’t genuine; quite to the contrary, TJ is one of the most genuine people I have known. She cares tremendously about the culture and values UDC holds dear as well as her own. She supports her customers, trying to make sure they and their projects are a good fit for UDC’s focus areas before ever committing with them. TJ discusses how important customer satisfaction is to UDC, how they pride themselves on producing top level work, and making sure customers are not simply satisfied, but also happy, with the results they provide.

We also discussed the value of networking and how important it is to get out of our comfort zone to build and grow our connections. Having a substantial network can be incredibly helpful in the GIS field as it gives us people to ideate and troubleshoot with, learn best practices and new methodologies from, and generally collaborate about changes, growth, and anything else we need. Many people in our industry do not have availability to attend conferences or working groups regularly, if at all; oftentimes GIS teams are a functional shop of one or two people. TJ does such a good job of stressing the importance of having industry connections beyond the team or company you work with on a daily basis.

I think the most surprising part of our conversation was when we moved into leadership and motivation. These aren’t topics TJ and I have spent any time previous to this podcast discussing and I had no idea where they would lead. But it was awesome! TJ has such great responses, so thoughtful and caring. I can tell she has spent time learning about leadership, thinking about how to¬† motivate others, and how to best take care of her team. She has much to share and we can learn so much from her approach.

I really loved this conversation so much, in the moment and listening back through it. I truly believe TJ is one of the most insightful people in our industry and truly puts a lot of effort into making those around her feel secured and appreciated. She emanates a warmth that draws you in and simultaneously enough energy and passion to power a small city. TJ and UDC are such a great fit; I hope you enjoy hearing about them both as we discuss her geospatial journey to GIS.

About the authors

Melissa is an engineer on the product team focused in applied geography. She can be found hiking and exploring national parks during her travels.

Remi is the Product Manager for the ArcGIS Utility Network and spends his free time exploring the US Southwest desert and California beaches.

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