Women in GIS: Lisa Ackerman, Integration Technologies

September 22, 1999

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What is your position at Integration Technologies, and how did you get there?
I am Vice President, Mapping Solutions.I am a founder of this company, and have been here now for 12 years.Integration Technologies (IT) brought me to GIS by customer requirements and feedback.We started in 1988 as a LAN/WAN database communications company, consulting with clients in retail and real estate.Guess what their next question was: "Now that I have this great data, can I map it?" In 1989 we partnered with MapInfo to deliver database mapping output and our 9 products catering to retail and real estate grew from there.My previous career had me in real estate development of retail sites.

Lisa Ackerman with daughter Lauren
What is your background?
I worked in real estate site selection and development for a Southern California developer.(This is in my blood.My father retired as a top site selection executive at Arco Products and everything in my world has been directed around Arco locations: directions to a shop, family vacations, etc!) I studied for two years at Long Beach State, then I got antsy and wanted to get started in my career.Training is on-going - I try to listen to my customer so I can learn! Then I deliver what they need.

Would you recommend GIS to other women?
I would recommend GIS to other women (and men for that matter).First I would ask them "are you sure!" All kidding aside, if they love a fast paced industry where they never stop learning, then I encourage it.But, you cannot hide in this industry and skip on by and not truly learn database technologies, available third party data, and mapping software - you have to live it, eat and sleep it or forget about it.Then you have to supply a real business application with results.If you want an easy career, this is not it!

What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?
First, my kids (well you did not ask personally or professionally!).Second, working with Fortune 500 companies in retail / real estate and delivering solutions that make a difference in their company.I enjoy problem solving and working with clients like Wal-Mart, Simon Property, Burger King, Grubb & Ellis, Shell / Texaco and assist in creating a product line that stand behind! That is exciting!

What does your typical day or week look like?
Business in the last two years has completely changed for me.I used to travel one to two weeks a month; that is now down to three to five business days because of the internet.Some key accounts I have to this day I have never met face to face.They know what they want and when presented with that solution they buy.Business today is a lot about relationships but more on delivery of what the client needs.If I can deliver what they need a hand shake is not going change that.Do not get me wrong, I still see a lot of my clients and meet with them on their needs but business is moving at the speed of light and I have to meet their expectations.

In summary: light travel, half of each day is spent in meetings each day with clients (telephone conference or they fly to meet me) the other half of my day are emails and solutions proposal writing and planning my clients next step using this technology.

Why is GIS an exciting industry in which to participate?
It sounds really corny but I learn something new everyday - a new data source, a new requirement, a new software product / feature and that makes it exciting.Not to mention each client has a different way oflooking at their business and it is great to apply a visually based>technology to solve it.

What is the most important "next thing" that will happen in GIS?
GIS is turning up in more places everyday making it more acceptable to the average person from the internet to automobile rentals to their home PC.It is becoming acceptable and a requirement for the folks I work with in retail and real estate.So next thing is just more uses will appear then what we have seen in the last 10 years.

Before you came to GIS, what did you think your career would be in?
A real estate broker or developer - but I get to consult to them instead! Sometimes I think I got the better deal then sitting with one problem to solve everyday, now I have a lot of different business opportunities I can solve daily.

Women in GIS


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