Q&A with Michelle Brake, Jr Solution Engineer

Here is a short Q & A with Jr. Solution Engineer, Michelle Brake. Michelle is based out of our Nashville, TN office and joined GEO Jobe midway through 2018. Michelle came to Nashville after completing her education in Geographic Sciences at COGS in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Q: Can you share what your title is and what that entails?

A: My job title is Junior Solutions Engineer, and that means that I work on a bit of everything! My day to day work includes supporting our GeoPowered Cloud and Managed Services clients, keeping up on new technology, and general GIS work. Every week brings something different to work on, which is exciting; you get to work on a variety of things keep your skills well rounded.

Q: What attracted you to joining the GEO Jobe team?

A: I knew that GEO Jobe’s diverse services and products would translate in to a workload with a lot of variety. I wanted to work for a company that would allow me to grow my skills and better understand the GIS industry. This is all still true to this day; every week has something new to tackle.

Q: Have you had to learn any new technologies or skills for your job so far?

A: ArcGIS Enterprise has been the big learning point for me over the past year. It isn’t something that you typically get exposure to in GIS programs because you are already learning other things. It is easier to learn by doing when it comes to installing, configuring, and troubleshooting.

Q: You initially connected with GEO Jobe at the DevSummit last year. You were a student at COGS at that time, how did you manage to get involved with attending that event? Seems like it was a great opportunity!

A: It was definitely a great opportunity, and it worked out well for me! I was able to attend due to the fantastic opportunities provided by the Esri Canada Centre of Excellence (ECCE) program run by Esri Canada. The ECCE is a collection of Canadian educational institutions that offer high quality GIS programs and encourage innovation in GIS research. Each institution can then pick a few students to be Student Associates and can even select a few to attend DevSummit with support from the program. I attended from COGS last year and would definitely recommend it to others.

Aerial view of the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS).
Aerial view of the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). Photo Credit: COGS and Dave MacLean

Q: Can you share a little about your experience at COGS. Would you suggest others consider COGS and why?

A: I attended the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) and completed an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences (with a concentration in GIS). My GIS concentration allowed me the flexibility to take the electives I wanted while also doing an independent research project. I can easily say that this program was one of the most challenging and rewarding things that I have done. The program prepared me to hit the ground running and tackle a variety of tasks in the GIS world.

Q: Any advice for GIS students who will be graduating soon?

A: Learn as much as you can about everything. Having a diverse skill set will give you more possibilities to apply to when job searching and will set you apart from other applicants. Be open to different opportunities, you never know when something great will come along.

Q: What kind of technology do you prefer and why? (Mac or PC, iOS or Android, and other cool tech)

A: I have been a PC and Android user since I first started using technology. There wasn’t much Apple technology to get my hands on during my early education, so I never picked it up. When I got to post-secondary education, there was more Apple technology available to try out. Aside from using GarageBand for sound editing, I never got hooked on using it in my daily life.

Q: You moved to Middle Tennessee last year for the job. How do you like it, and what can you share about the area?

A: The Middle Tennessee area is great because you are close to Nashville and only a short drive to find some green space. Nashville always has something happening from concerts to theatre to sporting events. There are plenty of state parks nearby and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only a few hours drive away. It is a great area if you enjoy a balance between those two worlds because both are easily accessible.

Photo of Michelle Brake holding awalking stick and wearing a backpack, looking towards a forest.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: When I’m not at the office, you can generally find me outside hiking, camping, or kayaking. Since I am still new to the area there is plenty for me to explore and a new trail I haven’t hiked yet. I am also a big movie buff, so when the weather is less than ideal I am catching up on new releases.

Check out some of Michelle’s recent work:

Solution Engineer

Michelle is a passionate and self-starting GIS professional looking to change the world with mapping. She works with our Enterprise team, supporting the daily operations of our GEOPowered Cloud.