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Keynote Speakers

Morning Keynote:

GIS/Geospatial Technology in PA:
How Far Have We Come - How Far Can We Go?

Thomas O. Sweet, Jr.
Partner Manager, Esri

GIS Champions in local organizations have long been a critical element of the foundation of GIS or what many now call Geospatial Systems and some WebGIS.  The work of these individuals, originally in isolated pockets and later in collaborative groups of noisy people, initiated much of what we see today.  With that same zeal, collaboration and imaginative leadership, it is time to make sure that these efforts are healthy, continue to build on the lessons learned, and take advantage of evolving technologies to create new solutions that continually keep the vision fresh. 

Tom Sweet joined the Esri team in 2013 with the primary focus of managing the relationships of Esri Partners that provide content to ArcGIS and the ArcGIS Online market place. The focus also includes supporting the paradigm shift to a subscription methodology for independent local governments to acquire and maintain currency to near real time levels in their spatial data holdings.

Tom has over 30 years in the industry and has worn many hats but has always focused on Pioneering the application of Information Technologies in innovative ways in Pennsylvania.  Before joining Esri, Tom served local government for twenty years as Chief of the Information Technology Group of an eleven- county Council of Governments. During this part of his career, he pioneered the locally independent yet regionally coordinated development and implementation of GIS systems that reduced cost by 60% through leveraged partnerships and cost sharing. Tom has received many awards from various agencies, cabinet members, and governors, as well as the White House for his application of information technologies that promote cost effectiveness.  He was invited to testify on the use of spatial technologies in local government before the U.S. House Committee for Government Reform in the first committee hearing on Geospatial Technologies in Local Government.  Tom’s past efforts in supporting the business of governance include leading collaborating elements of local government form PAMAGIC and the Pennsylvania County Professional association.

Mid-Day Keynote:

Design that works in Syria and Silicon Valley

Brandon Rosage
Ushahidi Creative Director

Brandon will discuss how his team at Ushahidi, a non-profit tech company born in Kenya, designs communication tools that simultaneously meet the demands of people in bandwidth-strapped regions of Africa and those in smartphone-saturated metropolises. He will dig into the challenges Ushahidi has overcome since 2008 in helping to build an industry around crowdsourcing. And he’ll highlight the design system that Ushahidi released Sept. 30 that gives users unrivaled control over the data they collect and the stories they tell.

Brandon leads Ushahidi’s design team in its effort to craft an outstanding experience for people who use the company’s products. The team contributes user experience, visual, user interface and front-end design to Ushahidi’s software and communication material.

He has spent most of his career crafting design systems for organizations focused on social good, including government agencies, news agencies, non-profit organizations and universities. He most recently worked with Happy Cog, an Austin- and Philadelphia-based design studio, leading much of its process for building and delivering web design systems to clients.

Brandon spends every remaining minute with his five-year-old son, one-year-old daughter and wife; exploring Texas, cooking barbecue and watching Detroit Tigers baseball.