MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Les Maki (2000)
Les Maki has made remarkable contributions to the development of the Geographic Information Sciences throughout his long career. His work in GIS technology development began at the University of Minnesota in the late 1960s at a time when only a hand-full of researchers around the world were seeking new methods for integrating spatial information using computerized systems. Along with Will Craig, Alan Robinette, and others, Les was an early member of the team which created the Minnesota Land Management Information System (MLMIS). As MLMIS migrated to Minnesota State Government in the 1970s, to be housed at the Minnesota Land Management Information Center (LMIC), Les became part of the LMIC project management and operations team. From this position, he contributed to the development of the EPPL product line, and played an important role in the expansion of GIS applications that LMIC software and data products brought to Minnesota.
In the late 1980s, Les began a career transition that brought him to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as an information system designer, consultant, and manager. In this capacity, he proved to be a champion of thoughtful and practical integration of geographic information systems both within the department and on a statewide level as a member of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information and the Minnesota GIS/LIS consortium.
At DNR, Les pursued his vision of an organization fueled by practical applications of GIS technology and the free exchange of information between business organizations and individuals within and outside of the department. Under his tutelage, the DNR has become well known for its organizational expertise in GIS, and its willingness to establish partnerships with other organizations. Les has consistently advocated for the ready access and distribution of geographic information throughout the public and private domains of GIS users, and in this way has positively affected thousands of GIS practitioners within Minnesota and beyond.
In the January 1997 issue of GeoInfo Systems, Les was singled out as an "Unsung GIS Leader and Innovator" in an article that focused on his career contributions to the industry. All who know him and have worked with him recognize the truth of this title, for while others might seek self-recognition, Les has always been content to affect change from behind the scenes, working on a time-scale of years rather than days to measure his accomplishments. In the process, he has earned the trust and respect of nearly everyone that has known him well or worked with him to achieve an objective.
Les' Lifetime Achievement Award plaque reads: "Les Maki - Quiet Leader, Supplier of Data and Supporter of Users."
For more information on this award, see http://www.mngislis.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=43.