Dave Gilbert receives an Excellence Award from PA MAGIC. Wearing a grey suit jacket, he stands in front of a window holding the award in front of him.

Dave Gilbert, GISP

Dave Gilbert, GISP


Dave Gilbert, GISP


“I’ve stayed with GeoDecisions for more than 35 years for three main reasons. The work is rewarding and meaningful, GeoDecisions has always been a technology leader, and there is consistency in leadership and continued growth.”

There is more to Dave Gilbert, GISP, than meets the eye. When he accepted a position in 1986 as an analyst focused on environmental projects with then venture technology firm GeoDecisions, now a division of Gannett Fleming, he never would have guessed it would lead to a more-than-35-year, fulfilling career.

As the firm grew and transformed over the years, supporting state and local governments with asset management emerged as one focus area. Today, Dave serves as a senior project manager and data analyst with a passion for GIS, motivating him daily to help clients leverage the power of spatial data.

As we asked Dave a few questions, he enjoyed a walk down memory lane. Get to know him here:

Tell us about your experience in the industry.

When I joined GeoDecisions, it was a venture technology firm out of Penn State University. At that time, I was a research assistant for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Co-op Unit, and some of my work involved digital mapping. As this work was ending, the newly formed GeoDecisions had an opportunity that would allow me to apply my environmental background to GIS, a relatively new technology at that time. I joined as the third employee; the first two were the office manager and another analyst.

What is your favorite thing about helping clients solve their GIS, geospatial, data, and technology challenges?

One thing GIS brings to every conversation is the ability to see things you couldn’t otherwise see before. No matter the topic, spatially enabling the data helps everyone better understand the information.

I remember a zoning officer who described the time-consuming process of distributing adjacent landowner notifications. GeoDecisions designed an application that reduced time spent by more than 80% and produced more helpful information. Seeing her positive reaction to this application was one of those moments I’ll never forget.

What impactful and innovative projects are you currently working on?

I specialize in GIS and GIS database development and work primarily with our state and local government clients. My goal is to help our clients solve their challenges using GIS and technology.

Every water utility client I work with is currently facing the challenge of meeting the Revised Lead and Copper Rule regulation changes. It is an enormous issue in terms of infrastructure and human health. GIS helps by providing inventory and inspection tools and managing and reporting the data to the public and regulatory agencies. The positive contribution GIS makes to this program is incredible and long-lasting.

Why have you stayed with GeoDecisions for more than 35 years?

The work is rewarding and meaningful, GeoDecisions has always been a technology leader, and there is consistency in leadership and continued growth.

Working for a company where you are valued and heard makes a big difference. I’ve seen firsthand how collaboration and innovation contribute to our success.

It’s interesting to look back and reflect on how things have changed over the years, such as:

  • The use of electronic timesheets. When I started, we used snail mail, and everything was paper-based.
  • Everyone has their own email address. We used to think we only needed one account per office.
  • The use of Microsoft and Windows. We initially used DOS, for those who know what that is. I did my first presentation with a slide projector after taking pictures of my computer screen, so PowerPoint was like magic when it first came out.

How does your work contribute to GeoDecisions’ vision to intrinsically transform the way organizations approach decision-making through innovation?

Many utilities are still in the early option stage for enterprise asset management, and many have their field assets mapped. They are beginning to integrate work order management and capital planning into their delivery systems. The more GeoDecisions can assist these utilities in growing in these areas with innovative technology, the better our communities will be in terms of economic and environmental resilience and sustainability. Organizations and communities can see the power of innovation and technology driving success.

What important lessons have you learned about diversity?

A huge part of my career has included traveling, both nationally and internationally. Experiencing other parts of the world impacts your understanding of other people and cultures. It is something that every traveler benefits from. Working in these diverse settings helped me value acceptance, diversity, and inclusion, affecting how I conduct myself every day.

What does “Excellence Delivered as Promised” mean to you?

Gannett Fleming and GeoDecisions are committed to excellence, and this phrase has stuck with me over the years. No matter how each project goes, at the end of the day, we will always deliver and meet our clients’ requirements while aiming to exceed them. This dedication drives me to make better decisions about my time and resources every day.

Let’s talk family and your favorite family tradition!

My wife, Wendy, and I have been married for about 30 years and live in a small community in central Pennsylvania. We have one adopted son, Alex, who just turned 19. With relatives in Maine, we have made many trips over the years and would say it’s our favorite vacation spot.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I used to be a drummer in two Scottish bagpipe bands. Another thing most people don’t know is that I lived in the Gettysburg National Military Park Cemetery in the old caretaker’s house as a research technician on a white-tailed deer study for the park in the 1980s.

What's your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?

As much as I like maps, I also like hopping in my truck and driving the old dirt roads of north central Pennsylvania without a map – just to enjoy the drive and try to figure out where I am based on the map in my head.


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