Esri has a legacy of Young Professional winning the USGIF Golden Ticket. In this video, we showcase 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 winners and their experiences as USGIF Golden Ticket Winners. Each year, USGIF offers the Young Professionals Golden Ticket Program as an opportunity for young professionals 35 years old or younger to win an exclusive opportunity to attend the GEOINT Symposium to meet and hear from seniors and innovators in the GEOINT world in a personal setting.
Q&A : Keynon Wilker Two-time Golden Ticket Winner
Q: What project did you work on to earn the Golden Ticket?
Wilker: In my application, I highlighted the work I had done with NGA around map production modernization and moving to a services-based architecture. I tried to highlight how we were working to assist groups at NGA meet the AAA initiative (Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Augmentation) that leadership had put forth and created new information products for executives.
Q: What was a memorable experience in the winner’s circle at GEOINT?
Wilker: I got to meet many other people getting started in GEOINT and learn about the customers they support, their companies, and how they’ve earned their roles. We also got to sit in on some fantastic professional development panels and sat in on mentoring sessions with several former NGA Directors and other executives in the GEOINT community.
Q: What advice would you pass along for anyone wanting to participate?
Wilker: Show your passion for GIS and spatial analysis, and be willing to meet new people and learn about how they work with the GEOINT community.
Q: Was this a meaningful experience for you? If so, why?
Wilker: Yes, I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know more people around the industry I work in and spend time learning from some of the foremost leaders of GEOINT over the past few decades. It was also really interesting to walk around the expo floor and see what demos other companies were showing, and see where they are using Esri, our competitors, our their own in-house solutions.
Q: Esri has had a winner every year for the past five years; what would you attribute to the winning streak?
Wilker: I think in large part this can be attributed to the passion Esri has for GEOINT, the successes we are able to share with customers, and how new employees at Esri are given opportunities to shine from the get-go. This type of internal culture and external respect is extremely conducive to rapidly building industry and technical experts who can shine alongside their peers in the GEOINT community.
Learn more about Esri’s Young Professional Network