Past-President’s Message – Wow, what a year it has been!

It was great seeing so many of you at the 32nd Wisconsin Land Information Association Annual Conference. In my opening remarks I mentioned how much I appreciated the opportunity you gave me to serve as president for the past year and I sincerely meant that. Serving as president-elect, president and now past-president has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. The association is what we make it and I encourage every member to participate in whatever ways you can to keep the association strong and relevant.

I also said that I thought this is an exciting time for the association. Based on what you saw at the conference, I hope you agree. Excerpts from my report included in the 2018 WLIA Annual Report:

  • The year started with the 31st annual conference at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. The conference featured 32 exhibitors, 10 technical workshops, 30 hours of educational sessions, special interest group meetings, the Esri Hands-On Learning Lab, the annual map contest, a town hall forum, and plenty of opportunities to make new connections and network with peers.
  • Regional meetings were held in Delavan in spring and Sturgeon Bay in fall. The spring meeting included technical workshops in addition to the traditional, shorter sessions. Among other topics, the fall meeting included timely information on NG911 and the new datum NGS will release in 2022.
  • In preparation for the new legislative cycle, the board approved updates to the association’s legislative priorities white papers. As part of this process, a new priority, next generation 911 GIS funding, was identified.
  • There was also significant activity related to the foundational layers: 1) the Status of Selected Wisconsin Foundational Layers document was updated, 2) A new, Foundational Layers Completeness Discoverability Accessibility Scorecard, was developed and implemented and 3) Based on feedback from a stakeholder survey, data exchange standards for Road Centerlines and Address Points were developed and adopted.
  • Throughout the year, WLIA exhibited and presented at conferences around the state. This outreach raises awareness of our association and helps create alliances with associations that have shared interests.
  • Financially, WLIA finished the year in the black and continues to maintain its strong financial position. To ensure this continues and in response to rising costs, the board approved modest fee increases for the 2019 regional meetings.

On February 22 the baton was officially passed to our new president, Peter Strand. Peter and I were elected to the board in the same year and I am confident the association is in great hands with Peter as our president. He brings a tremendous amount of passion and experience to the position that will serve our association well.

We also elected Tony Vander Wielen as our president-elect and introduced 5 first time board members. I sometimes worry about succession and knowledge transfer, but the constant influx of new board members and non-board volunteers helps keep the association fresh. I look forward to hearing the new ideas each will bring to the board and to the association.

As I look forward to the year ahead, I also thank you for the year we’ve just concluded. I hope to see you May 30-31 in Eau Claire, October 24-25 in Bayfield and February 19-21, 2020 in Middleton for the 33rd WLIA Annual Conference.

It was a wild ride and I am better for having been on it!

Eric Damkot
WLIA Past-President

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