2007 Peter S. Thacher Award Recipient: Gary Smith
The 2007 recipient of the Thacher Award is Gary Smith from the State of Vermont. Gary has been using GIS technology since 1981 when the first license of ESRI software in the northeast was installed at the University of Vermont’s School of Natural Resources. In managing that system, he realized that the data layers being developed had great utility in many different applications. By 1983, his small team began to build a statewide GIS database. All of this effort began to attract attention, both within and outside Vermont and soon demonstrating and sharing the new technology with interested parties became a regular event. In 1984, he began offering an undergraduate level course in GIS. This quickly evolved into a course offered each semester, always with a waiting list. In 1990, enabling legislation was passed by the State of Vermont that formalized the creation of the Vermont Center for Geographic Information. Jumpstarting this effort was the donation of all GIS layers created to date by Gary’s team.
Throughout his professional career, sharing information and professional knowledge has been a hallmark of Gary’s work. Much of today’s GIS activities in New England can trace its roots back to his activities at the University of Vermont. Bringing people together to share knowledge has always been important to Gary. He is the founding chairman of the NEARC organization, and is a regular presenter at both the fall and spring events. As NEARC chair, he initiated the “Wish List” which summarized the GIS software development requests from NEARC members. This organized list of software enhancements was presented to ESRI at the annual International conference.
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to NEARC. If not for your efforts, we would not be here today. Congratulations Gary!