The firm’s newest geospatial program director served as Ohio’s GIO and has more than 30 years of expertise in the evolving geospatial needs of state governments and departments of transportation.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sept. 15, 2021) — Woolpert has hired David Blackstone as a geospatial program director in the firm’s government solutions market. Blackstone served as Ohio’s geospatial information officer (GIO), was the executive director of the Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program for the last four years and, prior to that, spent 27 years as the GIS manager for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
At OGRIP, Blackstone was responsible for Ohio’s statewide geospatial organization, successfully fostering collaboration and coordination at all levels of government, academia and the private sector. At ODOT, he directed statewide transportation information management, including GIS, mapping and roadway inventory operations. Blackstone was part of the first statewide mapping efforts in 2006 through the Ohio Statewide Imagery Program and has continued to elevate the state’s mapping and geospatial capabilities throughout his career.
“Dave has been collaborating for years with the U.S. Geological Survey for its 3D Elevation Program on behalf of Ohio, and the resolution and scale of the data being procured is enough to make other states envious,” Woolpert Vice President and Market Director Brian Stevens said. “He also has been intimately involved with the development of the Ohio Location Based Response System, working throughout the state and with county governments on the collection of spatially accurate street centerlines to reduce data redundancies and support emergency dispatch and first responders. He has done great things for the state of Ohio and will now be able to help us support other governmental agencies around the world.”
Blackstone said in his role at Woolpert, he will help state agencies reap the vast and diverse benefits of geospatial data. He said mobile lidar data, for example, creates asset inventories for transportation agencies to support operations and maintenance, as well as infrastructure planning, design and construction. This data supports electric vehicles by providing non-linear elevation mapping to determine how far that vehicle can travel before recharging specific to that region. It also will be essential for smart technologies, like autonomous vehicles.
“Some state agencies are still using legacy data collections and sending staff out into the field with clipboards, while the amount of assets these agencies have to manage continues to grow,” Blackstone said. “These data provide immense value to multiple, if not all, governmental departments and can be managed and maintained off-premises through cloud-based solutions to minimize ownership costs. This enables states and counties to improve services and keep pace with technology, while staying on budget.”
Stevens said Blackstone, who has worked with Woolpert for decades on multiple geospatial projects, knows firsthand what issues are faced by these agencies and what solutions will work.
“It’s invaluable to have someone who has been on the other side of the table for most of his career come work for us in this capacity,” Stevens said. “Dave is well respected as a leader and an innovator. We know what he has done and what he can do, and we are very excited he is now on our side of the table.”
Blackstone said when he thought about leaving state service, Woolpert was at the top of the list.
“Many projects go sideways at some point, but Woolpert never points fingers and is always focused on the solution. This—combined with partnerships with A-list companies like Google, Esri and Planet—made me want to be part of this innovative firm,” Blackstone said. “Even more importantly, everyone I have dealt with at Woolpert has been professional and excited about the work and the company. I’ve always been impressed with the culture here and how employee-centered Woolpert is, and this has just grown since I was hired. I’m amazed by the resources available and the people who have reached out to me. I’m very happy to be here.”
Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is an ENR Top 150 Global Design Firm, recently earned its fifth-straight Great Place to Work certification and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. The firm has over 1,600 employees and 57 offices on four continents. For more, visit woolpert.com