Innovate Employee Spotlight: Max Marno, GIS Developer

What is your role at Innovate? 

I am a GIS Developer and I build and maintain mapping software, both desktop and web-based applications.

What have been some of your top accomplishments and success stories?

I’ve been proud to launch our Drone Services offering. We’re on an exciting trajectory – I look forward to drumming up more business and being able to compete in this emerging marketplace. Innovate bought a drone in late 2020 and I completed a demo project for the City of Driggs, Idaho. From there, we secured a couple of paying projects through word of mouth. The actual flying of the drones is the easiest part; the flight planning and post-processing of the data afterward is what takes most of the time and effort.

What has been your favorite project so far?

Revamping the Wind Widget for EPA Region 9 has been an ongoing project that I’ve enjoyed. The result is a very stimulating visualization of forecasted wind vectors based on a few different models. Behind the scenes there’s a lot going on to download, preprocess, and convert the data into a format where it can be displayed in the browser. I appreciate working with the complicated wind model data, and take part in the widget design.  

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

Part of the reason that I chose to take a job with Innovate is that those core values resonate with me. I believe in having integrity behind the work that you do and taking an interest in the people you work with on a personal level outside of work. The environmental stewardship that Innovate is participating in is really respectable and hopefully setting an example for other companies in our industry, and of our size.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

I honestly like what I do most of the time. I like problem-solving, I like learning and both I get to do on the job a fair bit. The reward that comes with kind of wrapping your head around something and figuring out the solution or what needs to be done is gratifying.

What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

I suppose all of these are going to sound fairly cliched but careers have been around for a while. I think if I try to deal with things as quickly as possible and not leave loose ends that would be the first I think. The second would be to ask for help. Definitely I’ve had and still do have instances where just asking someone else for their opinion or asking someone a question would have saved a lot of time; so not letting your pride get in the way or hubris is important. This is probably related but I think distinct enough to mention as the third, sometimes I think the best way to solve a problem is to set it down for a little while. Most of us have a tendency to just keep pulling on and on until it’s impossible to untie.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I grew up kind of in a rural part of Wyoming, and we had all sorts of animals running around all the time. I grew up with a pet donkey. His name was Wister (after Own Wister) and he was kind of the equivalent of a big dog who lived into his 20’s. He was a character and a great part of my childhood. While he wasn’t allowed in the house, per se, he figured out how to open the front door, and would try to come inside sometimes.