Employee Spotlight Series: Jason Pyles
In our 2019 Employee Spotlight Series, we are creating space to highlight the nearly 65 employees of Buckeye Hills Regional Council. Every year, we celebrate as a region the tremendous impact of our programs and services - an investment of nearly $1.2 billion into southeast Ohio since our inception in 1968 - but it’s our employees who work hard every day to breathe life into our mission and pour out into the eight-county region we serve.
Follow along as we feature three different employees every month!
Jason is the GIS Coordinator for Buckeye Hills Regional Council and has been in his current position since March 2012.
How would you describe your job to someone who is completely unfamiliar?
Jason: What I usually go with first is “maps on computer.” Sometimes it is as simple as making an atlas-style or wayfinding map that you might be more familiar with, but I also make a number of analytical maps, taking information from various sources and combining them to come to a conclusion or make a statement. These are then used in our own planning efforts or to assist the efforts of our members and partners. I also assist our members and partners with their GIS needs, from mapping their infrastructure ourselves or teaching staff GIS workflows that we developed here.
What do you find most rewarding about your position?
J: I am most satisfied when I can take something complicated and turn it into a map that is simple to read and pretty to look at. I’ll admit that doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but I often get pretty close, in my opinion, and that chase alone is rewarding.
Why do you think the mission of Buckeye Hills is important to our region?
J: I have seen so many projects completed and services rendered in my time here, I am not sure where the region would be without our assistance. We fill a role that many of our communities do not have the capacity to fill on their own.
What is one thing you wish more people realized about Buckeye Hills?
J: Where we are? Loads of people drive by us on State Route 7 and have no idea we’re right here. Seriously, though, I wish more people knew all of the things we’re involved in. There are a number of things that just I do that are fairly behind the scenes at the county and community level, and people don’t realize we’re involved, from maintaining data for 911 dispatching and training county workers on tasks they’ve previously contracted out for to presenting about GIS and Buckeye Hills at area schools and presenting work we’ve done at the state GIS conference.
If you had to choose a favorite program, service, or initiative of Buckeye Hills, which would that be and why?
J: I will have to be selfish and say our GIS and Data Services program, because it’s where I live. We have more maps and information than you can shake a stick at and all you have to do is ask.
What are you looking forward to most in your position this year?
J: I’m working to expand our easy-access data offering so that more statistics and interactive maps can be easily accessed from our website. We’ve already started, but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.