Q&A With Dion Webster, GIS Analyst I

February 27, 2023

We recently caught up with Dion Webster, GIS Analyst for TFT. Dion holds an associate degree in Geography from Blinn College in Bryan, Texas, a bachelor’s degree in geography from Texas A&M University, and a master’s degree in geography from University of Oregon. As a GIS Analyst, Dion creates, maintains, and analyzes geospatial data and maps for all departments within the organization. Here’s what he had to say:

1. In two sentences tell us what you do at The Freshwater Trust.

I make maps and perform geographic analysis to help the organization understand landscape characteristics. The work I do helps TFT determine how well current projects perform, identify projects to pursue, and communicate spatial data both internally and to external partners.

2. What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now?

Calculating shade impacts for potential riparian forest planting projects throughout Oregon.

3.  How would you explain GIS to someone who has no idea what it is?

GIS stands for geographic information systems. I take geographic information about a place and use computers to answer questions such as proximity or the best location for a project given underlying characteristics and conditions.

GIS allows me to explore the spatial relationships in the world around me as well as visually communicate with maps.

4. What’s something that’s happening at the organization right now that you are very excited about?

I’m pretty excited about seeing our new projects ramp up in production. We are slowly but surely getting things to a point where we can expand our current areas of operation and number of projects.

5. What do you love about working for The Freshwater Trust?

I love the internal collaboration and range of professionals at different career stages. People are willing to collaborate and work alongside you to reach the goals of the organization.

Whether you are a highly specialized hire with over 20 years of experience, or this is your first step in your career, we all treat each other as equals.

6. Last book you read or movie you watched?

The last movie I watched was Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the last book I read was Rivers in the Landscape: Science and Management by Ellen Wohl.

7. Last place you traveled.

The last local place I traveled to was Metlako Falls, Oregon. The last out of state trip was to Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida.

8. A quote you live by? 

Don’t procrastinate. Life is easier if you don’t have to remember every little thing you put off until later.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself still working in river restoration. Ideally a little bit more river modeling and geomorphic work to accompany the exploratory work and general GIS needs of the organization.

10. What’s the number one piece of advice you have for someone trying to get into this field?

Be open to opportunities.

My path as a geographer started by taking a physical geography class to fulfill a science requirement and since then my life has been filled with opportunities and experiences because I said yes to helping students/professors, attending geography events, and going the extra mile.

#GIS    #GIS analyst