Women In GIS: Kija Kim

December 7, 2000

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What is your position in your company?

I am President and CEO of Harvard Design and Mapping Company, Inc.(HDM). I started the Company with my partner Jim Aylward in 1988, almost 12 years ago. At that time, there were very few GIS consulting companies, and even fewer women in GIS. So, I would say that we had the idea for a GIS venture early on. Naturally, as a co-founder, I started at the top!

What is your background?

I am a geographer by training.I did my undergraduate work in geography and cartography at Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and my graduate geography work at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, home of Clark Labs and IDRISI software. In the early 1980's I got involved in automated mapping (specifically for PC based systems) and system integration for the civil engineering / land survey industry which led me toward present day GIS technology. I've got more information on my background at http://www.kijakim.com

Would you recommend GIS to other women?

Definitely.GIS is a very interesting information technology niche area which involves many different backgrounds.At HDM, a significant number of the staff are professional women. A quick profile of our staff includes Geographers, Civil Computer Scientists, Programmers, Engineers, Geologists, Urban Planners, Computer Scientists and Political Science majors.So, as you can see, GIS requires very diverse backgrounds.For beginners, an internship program is very helpful.At HDM, we have been providing internship opportunities for a very long time and have produced many GIS analysts.

What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud.

I was able to start a business based on my education and training. I took an opportunity to utilize cutting edge technology in a business environment.HDM has been in business for over eleven years and is an established industry leader in custom application development, data integration and data management.

What does your typical day or week look like? My major responsibilities are marketing, client relationship management, business development and strategic planning.I am also involved with many professional, public and community affairs organizations, and sit on many different boards.HDM also has an office in Washington, DC, so these responsibilities require a lot of traveling for me.

Why is GIS an exciting industry in which to participate?

Because GIS can be used in nearly any industry, and has so much more potential in the years ahead.Besides, being in the middle of the Information Revolution is exciting!

What is the most important "next thing" that will happen in GIS?

If I told you what we think is the next best thing in GIS, I would describe our strategic plan for the new year - and that's still a corporate secret!

Before you came to GIS, what did you think your career would be in? While I was in school majoring in geography, I thought I was going to be a professor.

Email: kija@hdm.com
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