Q&A with Tommy Franzen, GIS Developer

February 13, 2024

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Tommy Franzen, GIS Developer at The Freshwater Trust.  Tommy holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Oregon and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Portland State University. As a GIS Developer, he assists multiple departments of the organization, providing maps, data analysis and data management.

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

I develop geospatial tools and workflows that integrate into our BasinScout Analytics. I spend a lot of time writing code, documenting procedures, managing GIS data and every now and then I make a map or two.

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

I am working on quantifying the accuracy of data used in our analyses, as well as documenting the QC [quality control] process of those data.

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

Planning for our 2024 staff retreat (Staffapalooza)!

What do you love about working for The Freshwater Trust?

I work with very smart, dedicated people who are trying to solve complex problems and it is very rewarding.

Last book you read or movie you watched? 

I recently watched Oppenheimer on an airplane; it deserves another viewing in a theater.

Last place you traveled.

Chiapas, Mexico

A quote you live by. 

We’re all just folks doing the best we can.

[Editor’s note: Tommy is also an accomplished drummer. Check him out in this video!]


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Threading the needle between managing a team of GIS analysts while still contributing to complex analytics.

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

Find someone who has been in the field for a long time and ask them lots of questions. Stay current on new technologies (remote sensing, UAVs, AI, etc.) as GIS is constantly evolving to embrace those.