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URISA's Professional Education Committee (PEC)


URISA’s Professional Education Committee (PEC) coordinates and encourages the development and maintenance of URISA-approved professional educational content and materials to grow the profession and support geospatial professionals at all stages of their careers.  The committee establishes guidelines and processes for the development, review, and publication of  webinars, panels, podcasts, workshops, whitepapers, fact sheets, and other forms of content. PEC ensures that these materials are developed and presented in accordance with URISA policies, membership interests, and Board strategic goals. The committee coordinates the URISA portfolio of educational materials, identifying gaps, resolving overlaps, and assessing balance. 

The PEC current currently has over a dozen active workgroups that are creating content. Workgroup topics include guidance for young professionals, preparing for GISP certification, social justice and GIS, GIS and Ethics, NextGen911, GIS management, and more. We are always seeking new ideas that fit within URISA’s mission. The PEC Strategic Operations Team (SOT) meets monthly to share the progress of the workgroups and discuss new initiatives that align with the mission of URISA.

PEC is constantly producing new educational products and is always seeking volunteers interested in furthering its goal to support the GIS profession. Most of our work involves content development, review and presentation. Time commitments can range from an hour to many days depending on your interests and availability.

Is there some other topic that you know about and that you are willing to help us inform others about? Do you like to write material, review material others have written or present to others? If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, we want to hear from you now and request your reach out to our PEC Chair to express your interest!

If you are interested in contributing but not sure how, watch URISA Connect for opportunities to contribute to specific products. 

Members of the PEC Strategic Operations Team (SOT) include:


Matt Gerike, Chair: mattgerike (at) gmail (dot) com

Matt currently serves as the chair of the Professional Education Committee and works with the Next Generation 9-1-1 Task Force.  When not volunteering with URISA, he works for the Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) as Geospatial Program Manager for geospatial aspects of Virginia’s move to Next Generation 9-1-1 and serves as a Research Scholar for Interdisciplinary Studies at William & Mary. 


Dianne Haley, Secretary

Dianne has been a URISA member since 1990 and is a past Board member and a past President. She is currently a member of a number of URISA committees and serves on the faculty of the URISA Leadership Academy. Dianne retired from municipal and provincial government roles in 2011, after spending all of her career in the field of automated mapping and GIS.


Xan Fredericks, Board Liaison

Xan currently serves on URISA’s Board of Directors and is the Professional Education Committee Board Liaison. She works with the US Geological Survey as the Associate National Map Liaison to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands for the National Geospatial Program and is the Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program. 


Judy Colby-George

Judy is involved in multiple URISA committees, including PEC and GIS-Pro.  When not working on many fun URISA projects, she is the owner of a GIS and Landscape Architecture firm in Maine where she spends her time working with municipalities, engineering firms, and other government entities helping them visualize their data, tell their stories, and work towards solutions with good public engagement.


Bernadette de Leon

Bernadette joined URISA after attending the 2013 GIS Health Symposium in Miami, and she has served on several committees that deal with health, emergency preparedness and education. These committees mirror her personal interests and work in public health, higher education, environmental education, and accessibility for people with disabilities. She works in the IT world but loves spending time in the real outdoor world.


Michael Glenn O’Grady

Glenn O’Grady was the founding chair of URISA’s Policy Advisory Committee and is currently serving as chairman again.  Glenn recently completed his second term on the URISA board and is a former URISA president. He has been a member of URISA since 1979. Glenn retired from local government in 2006 after spending the majority of his 30-year career in some GIS capacity. He was a planning commissioner for the City of Encinitas, California, for ten years with the last three years serving as the chair.

Rebecca Somers

Rebecca Somers is a long time URISA member, having served as President, Education Chair, Publications Chair, Workshop Chair, founding GLA committee member, and original GIS Certification Committee member.  She received the Horwood Distinguished Service Award in 2019, and served on the National Geospatial Advisory Committee from 2017-2019. Rebecca is a GIS Management Consultant and PM for GISCI’s GCTC Exam Development and Maintenance.

Steve Steinberg

As GIO  for LA County Dr. Steinberg guides the geospatial strategy across all departments. He is passionate about the use of geospatial methods to solve real-world problems. Previously Dr. Steinberg served as a Principal Scientist at an environmental research agency and before that was a full-time Professor of Geospatial Science at Humboldt State University, CA. He continues teaching regularly and is actively involved in geospatial organizations, including a current role as a member of the Board of Directors for URISA International. Dr. Steinberg is co-authored of two books on GIS and recently released a co-edited volume, Resilient Communities Across Geographies (Esri, 2021).

Shivon Van Allen

Shivon Van Allen is a member of URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet (2020-2022). She has been involved with Oregon URISA (ORURISA) since 2017 and credits her involvement in URISA and her local chapter with helping shape her career, develop professional skills, and expand her network of GIS professionals. Shivon currently works in the utility industry and has a background in land use planning. Beyond her career, she is a committed volunteer in her community, primarily volunteering as a science educator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry where she develops and presents informal science education to learners of all ages.


Megan Young

Megan Young is a member of URISA’s Vanguard Cabinet (2020-2022) and is primarily involved in supporting and planning GIS-Pro and launching the URISA Mentoring Network. Outside of URISA, she currently works as a GIS Specialist serving public advocacy for utility regulation at the California Public Utilities Commission, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Want to get involved? Contact the Chair, Matt Gerike: mattgerike (at) gmail (dot) com.

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