Associate of the Month: July 2018

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2018

Reaching outside his normal scope of duties with the GIS Department, Eric Barr became an integral part of updating the Delinquent Land Tax Sale posting application used by the Collections Department.

Over the last two years GIS has created and updated a standard operating procedure, but after recent server and software updates numerous changes needed to be made and Eric volunteered to serve as the project lead.

According to Karey Schulze, office administrator for the Collections Department, Eric was involved from the beginning research and development stages when the upgraded platform and servers were installed until the final output of collected stats from the application and presentation of all the data on the website.

“Eric jumped right in and quickly learned the posting process to better understand the needs of the end users so he could relate those to features or enhancements that the software could provide to make their tasks easier,” Schulze said.

Having worked on the program the last two years, GIS Program Manager Vanessa Kerner was more than excited when Eric volunteered for the project.

“I knew it was tough,” she said. “It encompasses just about every aspect of GIS on a very, very technical background that Eric hadn’t worked on before. So working with an SOP, very little guidance and his ability to research on his own, he did a stellar job.

Kerner said, “Eric remained in constant communication with the Collections Staff and was available to volunteer in the field if needed for technical support.”

“He is a fabulous listener and communicator,” Schulze said. “I would consider Eric to be ‘bi-lingual’ in that he speaks both ‘IT’ and layperson English. His hands-on thorough training sessions really helped the posters this year to keep entry errors and application questions to a minimum.”

“Through Eric's use of disconnected editing, where a user downloads a map and data instead of using live data, the DLT volunteers suffered minimal interruption to their workflow due to connectivity issues,” Kerner said. “The result?  Cutting the three-week timeline from previous years nearly in half.”

Schulze said his eagerness to be available as well as being quick to action was, on several occasions, the successful difference of being able to keep five teams out in the field working or calling it an early day. He also made himself available early in the morning to assist posters and waited until the final data from the last team was synced so that he could then begin the consolidation and reconciliation process.

“Even with a new baby at home,” Kerner said, “Eric was adamant on finishing out the DLT project and is continuing to refine the Public-facing application. Eric has set the bar high through his dedication to the project and by demonstrating a can-do attitude.”

“Eric Barr is a heavy producing work horse with the style and success of a race horse. I'm sure he will have a plethora of blue ribbons throughout his Jackson County career,” Schulze said.

IT/GIS Director Michael Erickson said that Eric has been with us for about 2 and a half years, “All I have heard is positive feedback on Eric’s overall performance.”

Erickson said when he first started with Jackson County the Delinquent Land Tax program was very much a broken process. “Every year since we have had this GIS team it has come together and continues to get better with newer fresher ideas. GIS still does a tremendous amount of work given the size of staff they have.”

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IT/GIS Director Michael Erickson, Eric Barr and Chief Administrative Officer Edwin Stoll.