Here is a short Q & A with Senior Project Manager, Dale Stevenson. Dale joined the GEO Jobe team in August of 2021 and is based out of our office in Gulfport, MS.
Q: What is your job at GEO Jobe, and what does it entail?
A: I am a senior project manager. There is the side which handles documentation involved in performing various efforts, whether software development or building a house. Usually, a PM works to maintain the project by documenting the planning and execution, along with issues during the execution. Once the effort is done, PMs reflect on the effort to assess what went well and what needs improving. Then there is the strategic part of the PM role. That reflects how the effort was managed, setting up the process and procedures that comprise a project management office.
Q: What attracted you to join the team?
A: I had never worked in the geospatial industry. However, the concepts of it are quite familiar. In my early days of programming, I enjoyed the idea of multidimensional arrays. Think of setting up a spreadsheet’s rows and columns and then adding dimensions of time, space, sight and sound. It is similar to the layering of data in the geospatial world. In essence, I am living a variation of my earlier days. More sophisticated, broader and a better-defined variation of my earlier self. It might be that I am Dale version 6.4.
Q: What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
A: My life now is a culmination of my life prior to GEO Jobe. Having worked in construction, I learned how to build residential buildings and developed the satisfaction of creating. I enjoy walking into houses that are under construction. Just wanting to see the design and layout. I have pulled and terminated wiring of all kinds. That includes electrical wiring and low voltage. I once enjoyed buying Heath Kits to build PCs, TVs, and radios when I first got into technology. My dad once told me he was surprised that the electronics worked after I assembled them. My work with IBM and consulting with organizations has allowed me to see a broad approach to design, development, leadership and managing people and projects. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Q: What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?
A: Critical thinking skills. It is up to you and your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome. Taking what you have experienced, learned and adapting that thought process to life and work. In all circumstances and situations, matters can only improve when the right questions are asked. Of course, this requires soft skills such as tact and decorum to move beyond the original point.
Q: Any advice for recent graduates entering into the job market and aspiring to a similar role?
A: Listening! Learn to formulate questions that are more thoroughly thought out. Always ask the question no matter how difficult it is. Even when you feel a question is “dumb”. The only dumb question was the one not asked. Socrates said, “ I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
One last element I wish to impart. Lewis Carrol wrote in Alice in Wonderland: “Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” How many impossible things do you believe can happen?
Q: What technologies and strategies do you use in your day-to-day work that are key to success?
A: The first is the customer first as their needs are our driving force. Of course, the second is asking questions as this initiates the learning process. Being a lifelong learner has allowed me to be more fluid, more adaptable. I believe it has helped me to become a better person than the person I was yesterday.
Q: What would you like to learn more about or incorporate into your daily work?
A: An interesting question. I desire to know the unknowable. That makes learning an essential element. Peter Green (former guitarist with Fleetwood Mac) wrote a song titled “On! Well”. The lyrics go: When I talk to god I know he understands, He said stick by me I’ll be your guidin’ hand. But, don’t ask me what I think of you. I might not give the answer you want me to”. Hence my thoughts on the unknowable, because you just don’t know! But, you can ask a question or two!
From a philosophical take, “All knowledge is a function of being”. Similarly, from a more academic reflection, the thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower. Aldous Huxley The Perennial Philosophy. This is why being a lifelong learner is crucial to living your best life.
Q: On a more personal side, do you have a favorite newspaper, magazine, blog, or sources of inspiration?
A: I read Harvard Business Review, Washington Post, New York Times. I enjoy reading books. Articles are great for specificity. But, books give you more details, the whole picture. Philosophy is a topic I enjoy. I read lots from the LinkedIn site as they have a broad and dynamic range of articles, information and understanding. GEO Jobe publishes some good articles in the LinkedIn space. I never miss an article from GEO Jobe, informative writing.
Q: What kind of technology do you prefer and why? (Mac or PC, iOS or Android, and other cool tech)
A: I like that Mac is more unix centric. I own an iPhone. But, I am willing to use the tech that is readily available. PCs are a necessity as they are most prevalent in the business world. I enjoy the thought of using free to air (FTA) satellite instead of paid TV. However, I stream to my smart tv and cast various videos for viewing. In reality, technology can be fun. Just learning it brings a bit of joy to me. Relying on it can bring consternation.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
A: I read voraciously. I ride a Harley Davidson (FLHTC), which is an Electra Glide Classic. I have ridden the Dragon’s Tail in the Smoky Mountains between North Carolina and Tennessee. I am certified in SCUBA diving, and I have been diving off the coast of Alabama. I enjoy diving as there is a hue of purple you don’t see on land, with the exception of sunrise for about 20 nanoseconds or sunset for about 40 nanoseconds. I have a spiritual connection with water, so I am told. I enjoy diving in the Caribbean, lots of beautiful colors and wondrous sights under the waters.
In closing, allow me to quote Daniel Kahneman from Thinking Fast and Slow pg. 381. “What we learn from the past is to maximize the qualities of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience. This is the tyranny of the remembering self” Thanks!