Local News

January 4, 2013

Adams ‘maps’ his way to employee of month honors for Whitfield County

Mitch Adams of the Information Technology/Geographic Information System (IT/GIS) Department has been named Whitfield County Employee of the Month for November.

An 11-year veteran with the county, Adams worked his first three years in the Tax Assessor’s Office and has spent the last eight years in the IT/GIS Department.

During the past six months, Adams volunteered to be the project manager for the Whitfield County Carbondale Business Park timber harvest project. As part of those responsibilities, he led the effort to select a timber harvest specialist to grade and mark areas for the harvest and  a company to harvest the timber.

“Mitch’s efforts led to a successful timber harvest in all aspects, where the contractors, Joint Development Authority (owners of the park), staff and the commissioners were pleased with the outcome of the project, which was outside his area of responsibility,” said Jess Hansen of the IT Department, who co-nominated Adams for the monthly award.

According to Hansen, Adams does an excellent job of keeping the GIS mapping data up to date, assuring that it continues to be a useful tool.

“Mitch has great customer service skills and always goes above and beyond to help the public with any issues that they may have,” Hansen said.

Since beginning his tenure in the IT/GIS Department, Adams has spent extensive time both at work and outside of work enhancing his work-related skills. He’s currently working toward a GIS Certificate through Penn State University.

“His daily maintenance and quality control of the GIS data (parcels, town boundaries) is one of his biggest and longest-running achievements,” Hansen said.

Adams has spent at least three years combing through records and databases across the county for evidence of annexations so that GIS could display the best possible town boundaries for the incorporated cities within the county.

“During that time, Mitch spent hundreds of hours combing through documents in file cabinets at the cities looking for documentation and making certain that errors were corrected,” Hansen said. “The result of his efforts has been appreciated by all who depend upon the accuracy of the county’s GIS data.”

Co-nominator Kent Benson, county engineer, also praised Adams.

“As long as I have known him, Mitch has been one of the most well-liked employees the county has,” Benson said. “He always greets people with a smile or a joke. People like to be around him, but more importantly, he goes beyond his normal duties by doing rush jobs for engineering, zoning and the Joint Development Authority. We have asked Mitch to drop everything and do an enormous amount of work ‘by 5 o’clock’ many times, and he has never failed to deliver. He is a very valuable member of our team. He has never complained about these requests and takes pride in being able to help.”

His work has also been invaluable at the Carbondale Business Park. “Several times, we have had surprise visits from potentially big clients,” Benson said, “and Mitch has helped us put together maps and visual aids for presentations on extremely short notice.”

Joint Development Authority officials also praised Adams for his efforts.

“The GIS Department is critical to supporting the economic development effort of Whitfield County,” said Andrew Walker, chairman of the board, and Elyse Cochran, executive director. “As part of this department, Mitch Adams provides invaluable services to support the Board of Commissioners’ and Joint Development Authority’s efforts to attract jobs in the community.

“From printing property maps at a last-minute notice for our prospects, assisting far beyond anyone’s expectations with the timber-harvesting project at the Carbondale Business Park, to transporting our sales team to Atlanta to make presentations to statewide project managers, Mitch is always there willing to assist. Not only is he accessible, he is highly competent, professional, and represents the spirit of Whitfield County.”

To help Whitfield County residents find out more about him, Adams filled out a survey.

Education: Bachelor of science degree from the University of Georgia. Working towards GIS Certificate through Penn State.

My role as a county employee: Creating and updating GIS (mapping) data and making it available for the world to see.

What keeps my job interesting: Interesting projects — mapping all the cemeteries in Whitfield County, managing the Carbondale timber harvest project, GPS’ing trail systems in Whitfield County, managing a mapping database with more than 40,000 parcels.

What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: Knowing our department provides a tool for residents, business owners and county employees to use that makes them more efficient in the duties they perform.

The most important thing I’ve done on the job: Help design a comprehensive mapping website that both employees and residents of Whitfield County use on a daily basis. 

Where I grew up: Pleasant Grove community, Whitfield County.

Family: Alison, Hayden, Hudson and Harrison.

After work, I enjoy: Camping, hunting, riding motorcycles, spending time with my family.

Community activities: First Kids soccer coach, County League assistant baseball coach.

Favorite TV show: “Seinfeld,” “Nitro Circus,” “Duck Dynasty,” “Dirty Jobs,” “American Pickers.”

Favorite sport: Racing ... pretty much any kind.

Favorite music: I listen to a wide variety of music, depends on what kind of mood I’m in. Some of my favorites are Don Williams, Zac Brown and Johnny Cash.

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Las Palmas.

Favorite Whitfield County event: Prater’s Mill Country Fair.

Three people (living or dead) I’d invite to dinner: My grandparents.

I’m most proud of: My family.

Pet peeve: People who stop and talk in the middle of the aisle while shopping.  

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s: Be thankful for everything you have been blessed with. Enjoy this life to the fullest ... you’ve only got one shot at it.

Who has had the most impact on my life: My parents. They’re the best.

Personal goals I have accomplished or would like to accomplish: I would like to complete my course work through Penn State. I would also like to be a role model and leader for my family the same way my parents have been for me.

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: Classic/custom car designer and fabricator like Chip Foose. The things those guys produce are true works of art. If that didn’t work out, I would be happy to race the cars or motorcycles others design.

If I could have two wishes, they would be: 1) Political leaders could lay aside their own agendas and unite for the common good of our country and world. 2) Everyone could have a warm place to go home to and someone there that loves them.

You’d be surprised to learn that I: Have driven a race car around Atlanta Motor Speedway at 160 mph and would like to do it again ... but faster!

Anything else you’d like to say: I’m grateful for my job and all the great people I work with. I’m honored to be employee of the month and would like to thank those who nominated me for this award. Thank you!



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