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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner - Rick Gelbmann
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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Rick Gelbmann (2013)

As a central theme in his career, Rick has been a tireless champion of sharing geospatial knowledge and data, fostering a forum for collaboration to advance geospatial technology as a core business tool, and mentoring those who have served as members of his teams. His vision and guidance have helped many practitioners and organizations advance in their use of geospatial technology and achieve improvements in organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Rick’s considerable professional leadership and creativity span the gamut of software and data design, development of data distribution mechanisms and policies, and education, in particular, focusing on the value of collaboration and sharing of geospatial assets. Rick’s contributions were via four principal leadership channels: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Waters (1978-1993), Leading the Metropolitan Council’s GIS Unit (1993-2013), Member of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information (2001-2009), serving as its Chairman (2006 2009) and the Minnesota Statewide Geospatial Advisory Council (2011-2013), Charter Member of the MetroGIS Coordinating Committee (1996-2013).

Rick’s more notable career highlights include: Tireless work to make the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data widely available in Minnesota, transformation of Metropolitan Council Land Use data into a broadly accepted and authoritative snapshot of regional development, past member of the MN GIS/LIS Consortium Board of Directors, member of the Governor’s Council on Geographic Information and a member of multiple Governors’ Council committees, chair of the Governor’s Council Emergency Management Committee that was established in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, co-chair of the MetroGIS Emergency Preparedness Workgroup, guided development of regionwide GIS data, products and applications, presenter of numerous papers at the state GIS/LIS conferences, as well as other national GIS conference, Champion for policies and ideals fundamental to MetroGIS’s success.

Among Rick’s most significant contributions was his continual encouragement of those he managed to participate in external organizations. As the manager of one of the larger GIS shops in Minnesota, Rick believed that his work unit had an obligation to reach out to the rest of the GIS community and share its expertise and experiences. These are examples of Rick’s tireless effort to promote and live a vision of sharing and collaboration within the Minnesota GIS community.

2013 Lifetime Award recipient Rick Gelbmann with 2012 Lifetime Award
Winner Randall Johnson at the Annual Conference in Rochester, Minnesota.
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