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SU DoGG Alumnus Spotlight

Bryan Thom- B.S. in Geography 2010

Bryan Thom

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Bryan Thom

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Currently, I work as a GIS Analyst for the privately owned science-technology consulting firm Research Planning, Inc (RPI) in Columbia, SC. RPI combines the natural science disciplines with geospatial and quantitative analysis to address unique challenges in coastal and environmental management, namely oil and chemical spill. As a GIS Analyst at RPI, I have responded to multiple oil spills as a NOAA emergency response consultant in the role of Data Manager and Data/GIS Support as part of multi-agency Incident Command Posts. Other major projects I work on are Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps that combine natural, physical, and human use elements to be used in the event of an oil or chemical spill. These maps allow planners and responders to identify the most sensitive shoreline and endangered flora and fauna that will be affected.

My education at Salisbury University was unique and helped provide a strong foundation in not just geospatial science, but also in coastal geology.  Being able to understand coastal processes and apply that knowledge to my current job helped immensely when, just days after graduation I found myself in the middle of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. I was able to come on the job and not only understand my role as GIS support, but also understand issues described by coastal geologists working on the spill.  My time at SU was spent in an educationally nurturing environment with small class sizes and I was always encouraged to challenge myself by my professors. That has helped me achieve success in a very challenging and stressful line of work, where on a response we work seven days a week and often for 14 hours or more a day with our work being used to help guide the entire response effort.

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