Innovate Employee Spotlight: Michael Logsdon, Change Management Subject Matter Expert

What is your role at Innovate? 

I am the Change Management Subject Matter Expert (SME) at Innovate. I focus on the people aspect of projects, which means making sure users are prepared to adopt the solutions our team develops. This involves aligning leadership of an organization around a change, building champions, communicating with all stakeholders, developing training, and establishing a plan to drive adoption and sustain the change.  

Why is change management important?  

We can build the best solution, but without change management, people either won’t know it exists or won’t know how to use it. If a solution isn’t marketed to users and explained how it works and how it will benefit them, they’re less likely to change and adopt the new solution. But when change management is part of a solution, people are more likely to understand the benefits and make the changes necessary for long-term adoption.   

What attracted you to apply at Innovate? How did you decide to work here? 

Before Innovate, my industry and job were impacted by COVID-19. As I reflected on what I wanted to do next in my career, I knew I wanted to do work with purpose and social impact. Innovate’s work with organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resonated with me. At the end of my career, I can point to my work here and know I helped make a difference. 

Also, I had never worked with a small company, so I was curious what that was like. I gave it a test ride as an independent contractor, and I found a great culture at Innovate. There was camaraderie, collaboration, and people willing to help each other. Working for a small business, it’s easier to get to know your co-workers, and Innovate maintains a close-knit workplace culture. It’s what convinced me to sign on the dotted line as an employee.  

What do Innovate’s mission and core values mean to you? 

What Innovate’s core value of “Love and Respect Human Beings” means to me is that the company cares about people and does work that makes a difference. Those are two of the factors I looked for in a role. Innovate not only maintains positive relationships with clients but also prioritizes the employees. The people-first aspect of Innovate is reflected in the work and how we interact with each other.  

What have been some of your top career lessons you’ve learned so far?  

If you’ve had to make a career change because of the pandemic, take time to reflect and identify three or four things that are important to you and make those the criteria for your next position. If you love the people aspect of projects, then change management is the place to be.  

Some general career advice: try to be open-minded and an active listener. We all think we know best, but when you’re surrounded by bright people, it’s valuable to sometimes be quiet and learn from others. Also, you don’t always have to be the leader. Even if you’re in a leadership position, it can be valuable to take a back seat and give others the opportunity to take the wheel. Lastly, it’s okay to take risks and fail, as long as you fail quickly and learn from those failures. If you try something and it doesn’t work, you won’t be penalized if you take that failure and move forward. Failure is key to innovation and progress, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it. 

Innovate’s Frank Roberts Recognized with, “Excellence in GIS Award,” from Northern Rockies URISA

Innovate celebrates GIS/IT Director, Mr. Frank Roberts, for receiving this year’s Excellence in GIS award from the President of Northern Rockies Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). The award was introduced in 2007 to celebrate GIS professionals in the Northern Rockies region who have made outstanding contributions to GIS and have helped build pathways to lift up and support colleagues and future GIS professionals.

Frank has been an active member of the geospatial community for over 30 years, working with a range of clients from federal agencies to commercial businesses. He was nominated by a colleague who shared Frank’s historical and extremely relevant GIS contributions. For all his achievements, Frank has never lost sight of supporting his local geospatial community. 

Congratulations Frank for this achievement and thank you for all your contributions to both Innovate and the geospatial community!

Innovae Earns ArcGIS Hub Specialty Designation

Innovate, a leading geospatial services organization established in 2002 and an Esri Silver Business Partner, received Esri’s ArcGIS Hub Specialty Designation for being ready to help new and existing customers get started with ArcGIS Hub.

Per Esri’s ArcGIS Hub Website, ArcGIS Hub is, “part of Esri Geospatial Cloud, ArcGIS Hub is an easy-to-configure community engagement platform that organizes people, data, and tools through information-driven initiatives. Organizations of any type and any size, including government agencies, nonprofit groups, and academia, can maximize engagement, communication, collaboration, and data sharing using the ArcGIS Hub initiative-based approach. With ArcGIS Hub, organizations can leverage their existing data and technology and work together with internal and external stakeholders to track progress, improve outcomes, and create vibrant communities.”

With the addition of ArcGIS Hub, Innovate now holds the following designations:

  • ArcGIS Indoors Specialty
  • ArcGIS Hub Specialty
  • ArcGIS for Local Government Specialty
  • ArcGIS Online Specialty
  • Federal Small Business Specialty
  • Release Ready Specialty

Innovate Earns Esri State and Local Government Specialty Partner Designation

Innovate has been designated by Esri as a State & Local Government Specialty Partner, recognizing our team’s, “expertise in state and local government, implementation, and delivery of services that help customers succeed.” The newly launched State & Local Government Specialty program is designed to help Esri customers identify providers with special expertise and substantial experience in working with local and state governments, and a track record in delivering value to these organizations.

Our dedicated team provides innovative geospatial technology solutions backed by decades of experience working with municipalities of all sizes.  Innovate has supported state and local entities with solution configuration, application development, enterprise implementations, system integrations, and strategic planning. Examples of previous projects include: City of Plummer – GIS Data Modeling, Kootenai County – Upgrade and Configuration of ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Portal, and Public GeoViewer Development, City of Ponderay – Configuration of ArcGIS Online, Hosted Data, and Web Viewers, and Bonner County – Parcel Conversion. 

In addition to the State & Local Government Specialty, Innovate holds a number of other Esri specialty designations:

  • ArcGIS Indoors Specialty
  • ArcGIS Hub Specialty
  • ArcGIS for Local Government Specialty
  • ArcGIS Online Specialty
  • Federal Small Business Specialty
  • Release Ready Specialty

Innovate!’s ArcGIS Online Request Tool

Innovate is excited to offer the ArcGIS Online Request Tool among our suite of Esri services. The ArcGIS Online Request Tool is a web-based tool to rapidly provision external user accounts to an ArcGIS Online Organization.

Problem Statement: Currently, users external to an organization’s ArcGIS Online can request access, but the process can be inefficient. After the request, the administrator creates an account, which requires information from the user to set permissions and settings, resulting in a back-and-forth exchange. Additionally, if there is a surge of access requests, it can be difficult for administrators to track all the requests and communications.

Innovate’s Solution: Innovate’s ArcGIS Online Request Tool streamlines the provisioning process for both users and administrators, saving time and creating a consistent, trackable process. New users submit their access request in the Request Tool through a tailored web-form, which collects all the information needed to create the account. The administrator can view a list of all pending accounts and then create accounts and assign them to ArcGIS Online groups. This transparent and trackable process mitigates duplicative accounts, especially during request surges. Additionally, users can use the Request Tool to request access to different groups, simplifying the permissions process for administrators.

Innovate has already rolled out this tool for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support emergency response events for the 2020 California wildfires. As field crews rotated on and off a response, administrators needed to set up accounts for the crews with short notice to allow them access to ArcGIS Online and update data in real-time. The Tool enabled administrators to respond to the sudden influx of accounts and allow rapid access to 109 new external users to access and update critical data with minimal effort.

Interested in adopting the ArcGIS Online Request Tool for your organization? Contact Frank Roberts at bd@innovateteam.com or 703-922-9090 ext. 723 to learn more.

A Chat with the Chiefs of Innovate

On Friday, April 2nd, 2021, Innovate hosted a “Chat with the Chiefs” event with Phill Thomas, Chief Executive Officer; Matt Brumberger, Chief Operating Officer; and Denise Economy, Chief of Staff. They discussed their careers, their roles, what they love about Innovate, and the future of the company. Here are the top 3 things we learned from our chief executives.  

Our Core Values Are Key 

Innovate’s values are at the core of our work. Our values are to 1) love and value human beings, 2) take initiative and maintain a “Let me at it!” spirit, and 3) own our work because “It’s personal.” During the panel, Phill said, “If you get a group of 100 to 200 human beings who are consistently operating within a set of values, they win. That’s why our core values are so important, not just in our work with our clients but also to enable each employee to be effective and feel fulfilled.” To further illustrate, he used the metaphor of an incandescent lightbulb versus a laser. The difference between the two is focus. When everyone is operating from those core values, we are able to deliver elite services.” 

Denise agreed, adding that, due to her role as Chief of Staff, her job encompasses all parts of Innovate, from employees to financials to marketing. “I focus on our core values in every decision. If we, at Innovate, live out those values, we can move mountains.”  

These values have permeated Innovate, from the way we interact with our clients to how we recruit and hire new team members. Matt is particularly proud of how we’ve structured our recruiting efforts. “We connected recruiting to our core values, so the process ensures that the people we bring in not only serve the clients but also maintain the elite delivery of the existing team. We’ve seen this make a tremendous difference over the past few years.” 

Key to Innovate’s future as the company grows is to make sure that we amplify, exemplify, and expand those core values.  

Trust Is Everything 

Innovate recently celebrated our 19th anniversary as a company. Phill and Innovate President Lily Thomas started the company in 2002. Many small businesses struggle to land their first contract. However, Phill had a past client who wanted him to contribute strategic planning as part of a larger contract at EPA with the Central Data Exchange. Phill focused on not just completing the work but building relationships at EPA. “Trust is a big deal,” Phill said. “We have been at EPA ever since 2002 because we were able to cultivate those relationships.” How exactly has Phill built that trust? “If there’s ever an issue with a client, I learned to drop everything and deal with it. No deliverable matters more than the relationship.”  

Denise returned to the theme of core values. “We didn’t pick and choose our core values. We selected the values that Lily and Phill exemplified and what we wanted to see throughout the company.” The combination of love, respect, initiative, and proud ownership allows our team to build trusting relationships with our clients, ones that last decades.  

Innovate – It’s in Our Name 

Because Innovate is a small business, Matt is excited by the opportunity for more creative license. This creative license opens the door for employees to find ways to innovate within their teams or even companywide. “It’s easier for employees to suggest new services and make a difference here than at a larger company,” he said. Innovate is more than a flashy name; it’s how we solve problems, both for clients and within the company. 

Additionally, Matt sees the potential for further innovation within the company. “An individual can make a tremendous difference by dealing with the systems that people operate in. Innovate is a system that we all work inside of, and we want to make sure those systems are delivering elite services and serving clients. If there are barriers that prevent people from fully delivering and feeling fulfilled, we try to figure out how to identify and break down those barriers, so our staff has more time, energy, and passion.”  

Phill concluded, “There is no limit to a human being’s potential. In our 19 years as a company, we’ve tapped into a tiny percentage of it so far. It’s exciting to create an environment where we together expand what is possible for our lives, clients, and one another.” 

A special thanks to our chief officers, Phill, Matt, and Denise, for their participation and Michelle Jaeger for organizing and moderating the event. We enjoyed the opportunity to hear from our leadership and their perspectives.  

Innovate Celebrates World Health Day 2021

For World Health Day 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for a fairer, healthier world. While COVID-19 has impacted everyone, it has also exposed inequalities in health and healthcare access. The WHO emphasizes the need for collection and access to reliable health data to accurately assess inequities across populations and make data-driven decisions.

Innovate! Inc. (Innovate) has supported initiatives that gather and analyze health information that help organizations make more informed decisions and improve community health. Additionally, as a geospatial company, Innovate offers a unique perspective to health through the lens of geospatial data, technologies, and geographic information systems (GIS). With GIS, information can be instantly shared and updated in real-time, while complex data is analyzed and visualized for rapid response. GIS can be used to help improve communication of public health factors, identify communities at risk, and help manage critical resources.

We’ve helped our clients deliver on their mission to protect human health through the successful implementation of technology, geospatial services, and business consulting. Presented here are highlights of Innovate’s top health projects.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Safer Choice
The Safer Choice program works in partnership with industry, environmental groups, and academia to identify cleaning and other products that perform well and are safe for human health and the environment. The program empowers consumers to protect their health and minimize their impact on the environment through everyday purchasing decisions. Originally, Safer Choice staff and management had an increasing backlog of incoming applications to review and approve, spread across a complicated collection of databases, spreadsheets, documents, PDFs, and emails. As program response time increased, partner satisfaction decreased.

Innovate developed a custom Salesforce solution that offers a single structure for managing multiple facets of the Safer Choice Community, along with the flexibility of accessing the system anywhere. It now includes a simplified interface to a highly complicated and customized chemical formulation review process and a public facing online community that allows for companies to submit their new for review. The system facilitates project and program management and provides stakeholders the ability to monitor the progress of their applications and submissions. Safer Choice staff can communicate with program partners, receive critical documentation, and seamlessly process applications. Innovate developed custom functionality that prohibits submission of incomplete reviews and notifies third-party profilers about the specific review requirements that need to be met. This custom functionality benefits Safer Choice staff by effectively eliminating time spent by processing incomplete applications. Innovate was recognized by EPA OPPT with the 2016 Innovation Award for our work on the Safer Choice Tool.

EPA Office of Water (OW) – Sanitary Survey Application for Marine and Fresh Waters
The EPA OW works with states, territories, and tribal governments to protect and improve the nation’s water quality, a vital factor of human health. Innovate modernized OW’s Fresh Water and Marine Beach Sanitary Survey Application. We transformed the once-paper surveys into a web- and cloud-based application that is accessible over multiple platforms and devices through ArcGIS Survey123, which uses a consistent interface and data validation on each field, so collected data is less prone to error. The data feeds into ONE EPA GeoPlatform, a central repository for EPA partners—states, territories, and tribal governments—to collectively share data, visualize trends, create predictive modeling, or aid water quality decision-making. The data can be stored on the user’s device and then transmitted at a convenient time when the internet is accessible. This infrastructure provides the ability to maintain and extend core services throughout the application lifecycle, so as the EPA’s needs evolve, the survey will too. Innovate’s Sanitary Beach Survey was featured on NITAAC’s CIO-SP3 Solution Showcase as a solution that leverages a new approach to a complex IT challenge.

Do you have a health-IT problem we can solve? Interested in leveraging geospatial data to better understand health outcomes? Contact Stacy Roux at bd@innovateteam.com or 703-922-9090 ext. 723.

Innovate Celebrates World Water Day

This World Water Day, Innovate recognizes the importance of water in our health, livelihoods, and environments and the need to ensure clean, drinkable water for everyone. We reaffirm our dedication to supporting organizations and programs that seek to improve water quality across the US and world. Innovate is proud to work with organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to leverage geospatial solutions to help our partners understand and organize their mission-critical water data and facilitate better data-driven decision-making. Working together, we’ve created solutions that help programs manage their projects; detect, reduce, prevent, and eliminate sources of water pollution; and encourage other projects that seek to restore beaches, wetland, and other ecologies. Below are highlights of some of Innovate’s work with water quality projects and initiatives:

Chesapeake Healthy Watersheds Assessment (CHWA) Dashboard – EPA

The Chesapeake Bay Partnership (CBP), under the EPA, is responsible for environmental monitoring for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed and promotes the improvement of watershed health in the area. Innovate developed the CHWA application, a visualization tool for CBP’s watershed GIS data. The application takes complex geospatial data and presents it in an interactive and user-friendly way. Users of CHWA can access information to support watershed conservation strategies and identify signals of change in healthy waters and watersheds. The app is used by CBP and other organizations to study and monitor the watershed catchments of the Chesapeake Bay.

Fresh Water and Marine Beach Sanitary Survey Application – EPA

The EPA works with states, territories, and tribal governments to protect and improve the nation’s water quality. The EPA Office of Water (OW) developed the Sanitary Surveys to help state and local beach programs identify sources of pollution in watersheds that are impacting beach water quality. State and local beach managers use the Sanitary Survey information to prioritize resources to improve beach water quality and develop models to predict beach water quality. The EPA OW, in conjunction with Innovate, developed an electronic entry form application based on the four Sanitary Surveys. This application is accessible via a mobile device using Esri’s Survey123 form and transmits the information to the ONE EPA Workplace GeoPlatform, which is then shared by different jurisdictions within the platform. The once paper survey is now an application that is accessible over multiple platforms—web browser, tablet, and mobile—allowing it to be viewed seamlessly on different devices. Users can complete and store forms offline which enables field data collection where connectivity is often unreliable. The data can be stored on the user’s device and then transmitted at a convenient time when the internet is accessible. Innovate’s application was featured on the National Institutes of Health Acquisition (NITAAC) Solution’s Showcase as a geospatial solution that impacts health and water quality.

San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund (SFBWQIF) – EPA

The SFBWQIF program helps protect and restore the San Francisco Bay wetlands, water quality, and green infrastructure development. Innovate created an interactive Esri story map and dashboard. The story map includes an overview of the program, interactive dashboard, project progress, and visualized results of completed projects visualized. The dashboard provided up-to-date information on funding and project progress and had a web-based, version-controlled data editing environment to ensure consistency across project data. The story map and dashboard also helps users learn and understand the environmental results of completed projects on water quality, wetland restoration, and green infrastructure.

PFAS Vulnerability Assessment – EPA Guam

EPA is developing a model to predict the vulnerability of drinking water systems to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These are unregulated compounds that do not break down in the environment but pose a high potential risk to human health. Innovate collaborated on a regional-scale assessment of known detections of PFAS, other potential sources, and public water systems. A detailed case study was undertaken on the island of Guam, where 177 wells and 234 potential sources of PFAS were identified. The analysis calculated the vulnerability of each well based on its distance from ranked potential sources of contamination. This study is currently the gold standard across the agency and Innovate is helping to plan ways to apply this analysis at a larger scale with state partners to better understand and detect PFAS compounds.

California Central Basin Aquifer Visualization – EPA Region 9

Innovate worked closely with EPA Region 9 (which focuses on the Pacific Southwest region of the United States), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to create a 3D visualization of the aquifers and wells under the Central Basin, which services cities like Los Angeles. The long-term goal of the project is to better serve people who consume water from the local Central Basin by collecting data and expanding partnerships. We helped move the EPA and DTSC’s massive data holdings into a shared environment so both organizations can leverage the same information to make decisions. Once the data had been loaded, web scenes are created and shared with federated groups between DTSC and EPA. Based on the success of the 3D model, Innovate created a 2D model of the data to assesses underground water sources using well sampling to determine the hazard and prioritize water cleanup.

Curious how Innovate can leverage GIS data and technology to support your organization’s mission? For more information, please contact Stacy Roux at bd@innovateteam.com or (703) 922-9090 ext. 749.

 

Innovate Celebrates the International Day of Forests 2021

The UN announced the theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 as, “forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being,” and called for the protection and revival of forests to address climate change crises. Innovate reaffirms the value of every tree, measured in economic, environmental, physical, and emotional benefits. We believe that a GIS approach to visualizing forest information can empower local and national reforestation efforts by offering new perspectives and insights. Innovate has collaborated with partners to understand and visualize the state of forests and preserve our forests. Presented below are a few of project highlights.

Integrated Reporting of Wildland Fire Information (IRWIN) – Department of Interior (DOI)
While wildland fires are a natural part of ecosystems, we’ve seen an increase in wildfires due to the effects of climate change such as warmed temperatures, reduced snowpack, and longer dry seasons. Because of these changes, forests are more susceptible to severe wildfire, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Wildfire management is imperative to protecting and preserving our nation’s forests.

Innovate supports DOI IRWIN, a large-scale, cross-agency application that maintains data exchange operations between wildfire organizations and provides a comprehensive picture of national wildfire efforts. IRWIN interconnects systems so that new and updated information is automatically available to different interagency systems. This data is vital to situational awareness, fire danger modeling, incident mapping, and decision support to the wildfire community. We designed data workflows to optimize data architecture, developed data exchange tools to generate insights, and provided new tools for visualization. Innovate also created a dashboard with queries and reports. We were awarded Esri’s “Collaboration Partner” Federal Small Business Specialty Award 2020 for our application of GIS software and innovative solutions to help the US government run more efficiently and transparently.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Report on Environment (ROE)
Innovate developed and updated web-based geospatial visualization tools for EPA’s ROE. The ROE is a dynamic, interactive website that displays how the condition of the environment and human health in the US changes over time. The ROE uses 80+ indicators to track land, air, water, and ecological conditions, such as changes in forest biomass, and forest carbon storage. We integrated mapping layers to supplement existing indicators and information related to analytical methods for an indicator (regional boundaries, regional reference conditions, etc.) and developed tools to allow multiple metrics to be mapped together (e.g., sulfur dioxide emissions and acid deposition). The ROE allows user to interact with the environment and human health data in a visual way and adds geospatial perspectives to many of these indicators. The ROE especially emphasizes the vital role forests play in environmental and human health and its interconnectedness to other indicators. For example, acidification can injure and slow the growth of forests, which results in ecological changes, impacts greenhouse gas emissions, and bird populations.

Idaho Forest Group (IFG) – GIS Support
It is important that foresters engage in sustainable practices and restore forest health to reduce their impact on the environment. Innovate works with IFG to optimize their GIS systems and GIS data to support their sustainable practices. Our services include GIS enterprise deployment and maintenance, training, data analysis, data management, data acquisition, authoring map products, and publishing GIS layers. We supported the migration and integration of data from a paper-based system to a complete digital system supporting both desktop and mobile devices, which both reduced their paper consumption and provided a single, accessible data repository. Innovate developed a 3D map and other applications to assist timber acquisition planning and analysis.

We also created a solution for obtaining county-level parcel data and serving it in a seamless map layer. The Northwest Parcel map harvests and standardizes data received in various formats from over 30 counties located across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Our solution enhances the value of the data for land-use professionals across diverse disciplines, including forestry, utilities, planning, government, and others. This system can be easily expanded to accommodate additional parcel data and cost-share partners, and it can be customized for a client’s specific area of interest. The data are then post-processed with several natural resource layers and served alongside complementary layers such as soils, the National Hydrography Dataset, Public Land Survey System, and Aerial Imagery. By integrating and displaying their forestry GIS data in an easy-to-understand way, IFG can make data-driven decisions about forests and other natural resources.

Global Cooling Network
Innovate sponsors the Global Cooling Network, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Global Cooling Network’s mission is to preserve 1,000,000 acres of our nation’s forests in its natural, undeveloped state to counteract the effects of climate change and preserve forested land for animals and people to enjoy. While everyone may not have the means to reforest and preserve trees, the Global Cooling Network allows individuals to band together, as all donations go straight to preserving forested land. If you’re interested in donating to the Global Cooling Network and helping to preserve forests, you can visit www.globalcoolingnetwork.org.

If you’re wondering how a GIS approach to visualizing information can empower your organization’s efforts, you can contact Stacy Roux at bd@innovateteam.com or (703) 922-9090 ext. 749 to learn how Innovate can help.

Innovate Partners with Spokane Community College to Mentor GIS Students in Real-World Capstone Projects 

Innovate is collaborating with 21 students from Spokane Community College to develop GIS capstone projects with real-world applicationsThese capstone projects provide students the opportunity to apply skills from their GIS coursework in real-world instances. According to Marilyn Nielsen, an Environmental Sciences Instructor at Spokane Community College, Creating meaningful map products for community partners allows students to practice independent and creative problem solving, become familiar with organizations related to their career area, and give back to their communities. This educational opportunity prepares upcoming GIS professionals who will push the field into new and exciting territories while maintaining a focus on users and communities 

In support of this collaboration, Innovate reached out to several of our local clients who expressed interest in supporting this initiativeCity of Ponderay, Idaho; City of Moses Lake, Washington; and the Sewer and Water District of Bayview, Idahoand matched students with projects based on their strengths and interest areas. Projects include street traffic control sign inventory and mapping, parks and green space corridor mapping, 3D mapping value per acre analysis, and digitizing wastewater features from as-built drawings. Innovate staff will serve as mentors for the students and coordinate communications between students and the City and District Managers.  

At the end of March, students will present their final mapping products to the managers. We’re excited to not only see the results but to help emerging GIS professionals gain valuable experience working with clients and performing GIS analysis and designFor more information about this capstone collaboration, please contact Innovate’s Jared Yost at jyost@innovateteam.com. 

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