WV Association of Geospatial Professionals

December 2014
In This Issue
GIS Conference Recap
GIS Training
Get Involved.......

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GIS State Coordinator



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Message from President Frank LaFone


Dear Fellow Association Members,          

I have been proud to serve these last few months as your President. Working with such a diverse, talented, and hard working group of individuals is rewarding work itself. So many of you are doing great things throughout the state to push geospatial technologies to the forefront of our day-to-day life in West Virginia. The WVAGP serves as an important organization to facilitate communication and interaction with our diverse and vibrant community. We have an opportunity to re-affirm the importance of geospatial technology within our state. We can educate the public and our communities about the critical role we can play in all facets important to West Virginians, including the economy of our population, the education of our youth, and the landscape in which we all live.

Our committees are working hard to enrich our geospatial life, such as the Communication's Committee's launching of a series of Meet and Eat events for our membership. We have begun a few exciting initiatives in the coming months, such as a look back into our Association's past and casting an eye toward our future. I encourage each and every one of you to engage with the Association through our committees as they are the backbone of what we can accomplish. Like any organization, if we continue to attract hardworking, talented people there is no end to what we can collectively accomplish. Please get involved in our Association through whatever means possible!

I look forward to seeing you all at our Annual Meeting this summer. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, comments, suggestions, or ideas for making our Association better!

Sincerely,WVAGP small

Frank LaFone

WVAGP President

                               Mapping the Mountain State
2015 WVAGP Board of Directors
Board Members (from left to right):  Yueming Wu, Colleen Lemasters, Mike Duminiak, Tony Simental (Ef Officio), Mike Paugh (sec.), Frank LaFone (Pres.), Jennings Starcher (Treas.), Adam Cottrell (VP), Paul Wray, Jessica Gormont, Connie Ervin, Wes Bailes (not pictured).
  • The 2014 biennial West Virginia GIS Conference took place June 2-5, 2014 at the Marriott in Charleston, WV. There were 203 attendees and 17 exhibitors who participated in this conference that featured 8 plenary sessions, 41 individual oral presentations, 8 posters and 2 workshops. The most attended workshop was the ESRI Hands On Learning Lab that had 74 students complete over 222 lessons. There were also presentations given that highlighted geospatial activities and GIS research going on throughout the state. Attendees also attended 3 evening socials that were a success and these events received positive feedback. During the luncheon on Wednesday awards for Geospatial Jeopardy, student and professional posters, interactive map completion, 3 new GISPs recognized and 3 lifetime achievement awards that were presented by the WV Association of Geospatial Professionals Board of Directors. Congratulations to the following individuals:

    • Geospatial Jeopardy winners - Jason Favor, Eric Bess, Tyler Bragg, Gary Facemyer, Matt Strogen and Cody Wetzel
    • 2014 Student Poster Competition Winner - Andrew Kaufman
    • 2014 Professional Poster Competition Winner - Mike Duminiak
    • 2014 Interactive Map Competition Winner - Ryan Stanley
    • 2014 GISP Recipients - Maria Gray, Jessica Perkins, Jessica Gormont
    • 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners - Craig Neidig, Jennings Starcher Robb Shaffer, and Sam Lammie
GIS Training at WV GIS Technical Center

Message from Paul Wray, Outreach & Training Committee Chair:  A major objective of WVAGP is to make training affordable for its members; and so this past year, as Chair of the Training Committee, I and others have worked earnestly to organize professional development and training opportunities for the WV GIS Community.   


Click here to view the GIS training classes being offered by the WV GIS Technical Center, Department of Geology & Geography, WVU. Registration is first come first served.

West Virginia GIS Coordinator - Spotlight with Tony Simental

We recently sat down with Tony Simental to find out a little more about our State GIS Coordinator. 

Raised in Mexico by an American mother and a Mexican father, his unusual childhood provided him with curiosity about the world and early interest in engineering, planning, geology and geography.  Tony possesses a combination of academic training, GIS skills, research interests, and work experience in private, governmental, and educational organizations that has served him well in the last five years. 

Tony has been the State GIS Coordinator since February 2009, as well as the State Broadband Mapping and Planning Program Coordinator. He is the grant application author, and principal investigator of the State Broadband Initiative grant funded by NTIA; he has collaborated with both the public and private sectors on this important enterprise which included the development of 11 Regional and a State Broadband Strategic Plans.

Tony was instrumental in the development of both the WV Water Development Authority/Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council's and the WV Broadband interactive maps. He also led the development of the State GIS Strategic Plan finished in 2010.

With funding from the FGDC and in collaboration with the Rahall Transportation Institute he developed a Statewide Cadastral Dataset Business Plan. Tony has taught college level courses at Marshall University. He has served as member of several boards and organizations. Tony previously worked for the State's Property Tax Division where he managed and administered the Mined Minerals GIS unit for several years. Tony also served as Interim Public Works Director and as engineering technician for the City of Huntington. Tony is a graduate of Marshall University where he obtained an MS in Geography in 1999. He is a resident of Huntington, WV.


How long have you been working in State government?

  • 11 years

How long have you been in a State GIS leadership role?

  • 6 years

Are you married?

  • Married to Maria Simental, MS who is also a GISer

Children, grandchildren?

  • 4 Children (Anthony, Ana, Adrian and Alexandra) and one grandchild (Maria Isabelle)

How do you spend your free time?

  • Fishing

Do you have a favorite hobby?

  • Carpentry

Who other than your staff and boss do you interact with most in State government?

  • All state agencies that have GIS. Office of Technology, Transportation, Environmental Protection, Homeland Security, Water Development Authority, Health and Human Services, legislative office, Natural Resources, Education, Division of Forestry, Division of History and others including County governments.  

Whom do you report to?

  • Geological Survey Director and Secretary of Commerce

What is the most unusual job you have ever had?

  • Construction assistant coordinator for a movie production company filming the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy" in Mexico.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

  • Interacting with an interdisciplinary group of people. We may be united by the technology but we cover a vast array of subjects and disciplines.

Briefly, what are one or two of the "Hot Topics/issues" for you and the GIS community in your State right now?

  • Developing a Statewide Aerial Imagery and LiDAR business plan.

What is the biggest challenge in your job and why?

  • Working with a diverse set of agencies. Enforcing executive order that created the office. Not being in the state code makes enforcement hard.

How long have you been involved in WVAGP?

  • Since its inception in 2006, as member of the By-Laws Committee, and 2007 as charter member.

How did you get into GIS?

  • Started as a Civil Engineer building roads in Mexico, lots of topographic surveying, lots of aerial imagery and CAD use. These experiences led me to a Master's in Geography where I stumbled upon GIS

Why are you in Public Service?

  • I believe in the common good.

What is the best book you've read lately?

  • The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, by Philip K. Howard

Do you have a favorite quote that guides you?  

  • "If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes." ~ Andrew Carnegie 


Get Involved...... 
WVAGP small 

We want your input and encourage you to join one of our committee's! These are great ways to network and to make a difference. See below for a list of our committee's and chairperson contact information. Don't hesitate!

  • Communication Committee
    • Reports and makes recommendations on methods of communication with WVAGP members and the public. This committee is responsible for the WVAGP newsletter, listserv, website, facebook page, and twitter.
    • Colleen Lemasters

300 Association Drive

Charleston, WV 25311


[email protected]

  • Conference Committee
    • Plans and makes recommendations for the Bi-Annual Conference and Annual WVAGP Membership meetings.
    • Tony Simental

1124 Smith Street

Suite 10

Charleston, WV 25301


[email protected]


  • Outreach Committee
    • Reports and recommends methods for exchanging information and promoting awareness for geospatial technologies. This committee is responsible for WVAGP sponsored training sessions and surveys.
    • Paul Wray

3389 Winfield Road

Winfield, WV 25231


[email protected]

  • Technical Issues Committee
    • Reports and makes recommendations on strategic planning, data development, standards, and shared services throughout the state, such as: aerial mapping, metadata, web services, tax maps, and hydrology.
    • Yueming Woo


[email protected]

  • Election Committee
    • Organizes all aspects of WVAGP nomination and election procedures, for officers and board member elections.
    • Jennings Starcher

1900 Kanawha Blvd., East

Building 1, Room EB-80

Charleston, WV 25305


[email protected]