MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Rod Sando (2000)
Rod Sando's first exposure to what we now call GIS was while working on his degree in Forestry at the University of Minnesota in the mid-1960s. Some of his earliest GIS research was on national forest fire modeling, dealing with both the spatial distribution and display of data. While an instructor and researcher at the University, Rod joined the team that was developing the Minnesota Land Management Information System (MLMIS) and made major contributions in his creation of an innovative forest suitability model for the Arrowhead Region.
In the mid-1970's, Rod joined the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, first as Director of the Division of Forestry, then Administrator of the Bureau of Lands, next as Administrator of the MIS Bureau and then became Commissioner in 1991 and served in that role for eight years. In the fall of 1977, as Director of Forestry, he used GIS at the national level to help establish the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and improved management planing for surrounding forest lands. During his stint as the Administrator of MIS he worked to strengthen the Department's GIS efforts and was also a strong supporter of modern LIS practices, including expanding the use of GPS technology.
Even as Commissioner, his GIS roots showed through. When someone came into Rod's office trying to convince him of some position, Rod always told them to "show me a map". While Commissioner Rod provided much support in bringing additional funding to add GIS support staff and to enhance the technology base. As a result, today DNR has a highly integrated and organized GIS architecture, making GIS a tool that is now be used daily by hundred's of resource managers at all over the state.
During his tenure at DNR, Sando earned a wide range of support in Minnesota and gained a national reputation for visionary leadership on natural resources issues. He left DNR in 1999 and has since become the director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Rod's Lifetime Achievement Award plaque reads: "Rod Sando - Pioneer GIS User, GIS/LIS Champion in DNR ".
For more information on this award, see http://www.mngislis.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=43.