Employee Spotlight

Sara Baber

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A.  The memes.

 

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. I’ve been playing guitar for around 9 years now, and boy are my hands tired LOL!

  •  I was almost Vine famous once.

  •  I’m actually originally from Maryland, so you guys can go ahead and miss me with those WV jokes.

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A.  I’ve always wanted to try to learn a new language. Like, seriously put in the effort and become proficient in conversation and not just    the fun profanities I put into Google Translate or the Italian version of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” that I sing to my dog.

Q. What was your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A.  I’d love to travel to Japan and eat all of their food.

Q. What is your favorite music/artists?

A.  Some of my favs are Sam Cooke, anything Motown or Motown adjacent, Van Morison, SRV, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, and Ed    Sheeran.  This isn’t to say that I won’t drop it hella low to T-Pain’s “Up Down” or listen to “MMMBop” 30 times a day. Also, John Mayer is the greatest blues guitarist of our generation. Fight me.

Developer

Savannah Watson

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A.  The people and work culture are what I like most about Optimal Geo.

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. I have jumped out of an airplane. 

  • I was a competing equestrian in high school.

  • My friend and I were once interviewed about witnessing a UFO.

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A.  Scuba diving!!

Q. What is your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A.  My favorite vacation was probably camping in Oregon. I would love to go to Tanzania. I’m also determined to see the Grand Canyon soon (or before I die)!

 

Q. What is your favorite type of music/artists?

A.  I like a variety of genres. It depends on my mood. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s country.

Geospatial Analyst

Kris Harmon

Geospatial Data Technician

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A.  The atmosphere! I love the events we have as a company to keep us refreshed from the daily grind of work.

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. I usually pass out at the sight or talk of blood.

  • I like to watch live streams of storm chasers during severe weather.

  • I don’t like chicken on bread. I don’t eat chicken sandwiches.

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A.  I want to chase tornadoes!

Q. What is your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A.  I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. Preferably during non-volcano season though.

 

Q. What is your favorite type of music/artists?

A.  I like all kinds of music. NEEDTOBREATHE is definitely my favorite band.

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A. Everyone here reminds me of one big family. People               genuinely want to hear about your day, your project, and what’s going on in your life outside of work.

 

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. My master’s thesis focused on fisheries management          & living shorelines which required me to track four thousand fish for a whole summer.

  • I have slept at the base of an active volcano.

  • My previous job was conducting remote sensing                  research at NASA.

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A.  I’ve always wanted to drive a motorcycle on a race track or on the Autobahn.

Q. What is your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A. One of my favorite trips I’ve taken was to Prague several years ago. There is so much history there that has been preserved going back hundreds of years.

Q. What is your favorite type of music/artists?

A.  I like most types of music, but I’m especially enjoying being close to Nashville to take advantage of the country concerts.

Emily Sardello
Quality Lead
Geospatial Analyst

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A.  I enjoy the people that I work with, as well as the general atmosphere.

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. Although I like football, I would much rather watch hockey (season starts October 3!).

  • I am a geologist, but I don’t really care for rocks. It means earth science, not rock science! Also, quit bringing me pieces of concrete from the sidewalk.

  • I have passed 2 kidney stones since working here. I blame genetics and WRDB.

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A. I’ve always wanted to play hockey. I can’t skate though.

Q. What is your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A. Always wanted to go to Scotland/England, then hop on over to Germany and Poland. Basically, a trip to where my ancestors were from.

 

Q. What is your favorite type of music/artists?

A.  Pink Floyd, Jawbreaker, Brand New

Jason Stuart

Jill Dittmann

Q. What do you like most about Optimal GEO?

A.  I have worked at the JALBTCX office for 11 yrs and have seen many changes. We have been through 3 different contractors and by far Optimal Geo has been the BEST. Our company truly values people on a personal and professional level which says a lot in today’s work force. Our client, my co-workers and the program are awesome.  

Q. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

  • A. I race with a team called Avery’s Army. She’s a young girl who lives in Alabama that was diagnosed with RETT Syndrome at the age of 4. We compete in Spartans (Sprints to Trifectas) and road races from 5k’s to full marathons to bring awareness to the disease and our cause to help raise money for Avery’s needs.

  • I enjoy donating my time to a couple of our local food banks that feed the needy.

  • I’m a HUGE Saints Fan. Who Dat!!

Q. What have you always wanted to try and never have?

A.  Skydiving

Q. What is your favorite vacation or vacation you've always wanted to take?

A.  My motto has always been “Life is all about the adventure”, so I have a bucket list of passport wishes and caviar dreams. lol Australia & Bora Bora are on my must-see adventures, but in my world of travels so far, we have really enjoyed St. Croix/St. John area.

 

Q. What is your favorite type of music/artists?

A.  I love a wide range of music. I don’t really have a favorite.

Executive Assistant

Q. What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

A. Yellowstone is a big bucket list item for me. We had a trip planned to the Hot Springs in Arkansas, Badlands, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone this Spring but had to cancel due to COVID. Instead we decided to take an impromptu trip to Key West which is another bucket list item and will definitely make this trip again.

 

Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

A. Teleportation and ability to speak all languages. Because I love traveling and could go anywhere and be able to speak with locals.

 

Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.

A. My three favorite hobbies are canoeing/kayaking, golfing, and travel.

 

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A.  My wife and I plan on retiring in Asheville, NC. Absolutely love the mountains, hiking in the Blue Ridge, and great camping and kayaking.

Q. What was your first job? 

A. My first job was working on my family’s hay farm and my uncle’s chicken farm. My first real job was working at a golf course on the grounds crew and putting up carts in the evening.

Jared Black

IT Admin

 Ana Valenzula 

Q.What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

A.  Taking a cross country road trip from coast to coast.


Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

A. Teleportation because no commute time ever and I could go anywhere instantly without paying airfare.


Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.

A. Teaching music, Hiking and running with my dogs, and since July 3rd of this year learning Hamilton lyrics


Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A. New Zealand


Q. What was your first job?

A. Selling fruits and vegetables at Isom’s Peach Orchard.

  Geospatial Analyst  

Treetop Snow

John Ehlendt

IT Admin

Q. What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

A. Skydiving. The military gave me the chance to jump out of planes, but with a static line and WWII parachutes. You land like a sack of potatoes! I want to experience free fall.


Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

A. The one that would allow me to provide world peace. Nah, just kidding. That will never happen. I’d want to be able to fly. Have the ability to go wherever I want whenever I want. Without a mask!


Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.

A. Traveling(hard these days), fishing(notice I didn’t say catching) and finding/trying new bourbon. I’m like a woman in a shoe store when I’m in the liquor store. I have to look at them all. Yes, I very much consider that a hobby! Don’t judge me.


Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A. On an island in the Caribbean. Not uninhabited though. There has to at least be a grocery and liquor store on it. The less people the better, though.


Q. What was your first job?

A. My first paying job was at 14. I was a suite runner at the Michigan International Speedway. I ran, literally, food trays up to the suites at the top of the stands. I think my legs are still burning. And I still hate rich people…. and people in general.

Lake

 Spenser O'Neal 

 Geospatial Analyst Intern 

Q. What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?
A. I’ve always wanted to travel overseas and backpack a countryside for a month or so.


Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
A. Tough Question, I’d have to say probably the ability to fly so I could travel much easier and enjoy the sights a lot more from one point to another.


Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.
A. Camping, Basketball and Fishing


Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
A. I’d say Greece or Amsterdam, both of those locations have always seemed visually beautiful to wake up too every day.


Q. What was your first job?
A. The day I turned 16, I was offered a job to be a sales assistant at Journeys shoe store.

 John Merritt 

 Vice President 

Q. What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

A. I’m going to build up enough land so my family/extended family can eventually build houses on it so we can all be closer together.  I’ll be working on that for a while.  Oh yeah.. and I need to visit Fiji and New Zealand.

 

Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

A. I’d like to be able to have a visual representation of people’s feelings.  I think in some cases it would be shocking, but people often don’t show their true feelings about things or other people and I believe life would be even more interesting and productive if I could see people’s true feelings. 

 

Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.

A. Farming and finding ways to rebuild healthy soil through regenerative agriculture practices, college football, boating….well, that’s three but I can’t leave out eating.. mostly steak, seafood, donuts, fried okra, fried green tomatoes

 

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A. Right where I’m at, Southern Middle TN

 

Q. What was your first job?

A. Combination of pollinating different types of corn for a seed development company called Pioneer and taking care of a neighbor’s horse farm

Image by Cam DiCecca

 Tom Freeman 

Q. What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

A. 1. I would like to travel. I would like to go back to Baltimore and visit.  I grew up for a time outside of there in Eldersburg, and we spent a lot of time downtown Baltimore.  I fell in love with the sights, sounds, smells of the inner harbor.  We moved to Ga. right as they were beginning the upgrades you might see on tv now in that area.  I would like to go back with my family and see it again (crab boil) and go to D.C.

    2. If money and time were no object, I would like to visit my brother and his new wife in Japan.  They live in Fukyama (be careful of pronunciation as it may end up NSFW).  We have not spent a lot of time together over the last 20+ years.

    3. All man weekend:  WVU football game on Saturday and a Steelers game on Sunday with lunch at Primanti Bros.  Hopefully, the results would be better than as of late.  My dad and I got to take, what appears to be, our last trip together back in 2016 to a WVU-OK game.  Baker Mayfield can kiss my butt.

Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

A. To read minds.  My son is Autistic, and I would like to know more of his thoughts.  I would like to think that I could communicate better with him and others.

Q. List 3 of your favorite hobbies.

A. I have always been involved in sports, either as a player or helping coach.  I just cannot participate as I used too.  I like fishing (trout fishing in Ga.), used to hunt, and would like to get back into it, and working with my hands.  Spent way too much time last couple of years fixing my truck, but I have learned a lot.  We have a bigger garage/man-cave now that I am trying to accumulate some things so my son and I can piddle; and I am enjoying spending more time with my family and grandkids.  My 4 y/o granddaughter is now my new ‘boss’ and I will have to get permission.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A. At one time I thought I would enjoy a snow-covered cabin in Vermont some place, but I think my Bride and I have found exactly what we need.

Q. What was your first job?

A. I worked the back line cooking chicken/fish/baked potatoes/washed dishes on late shift at ‘Delights of America’.  A now-defunct health-conscious fast-food restaurant (if there really is one) in Marietta, Ga. when I was 15.  Herschel Walker was a part-owner of the chain which is where it gained its notoriety.  Non-paying would be tending the family garden during the summers in MD picking beans, etc. and chasing off ground hogs and deer with my pellet gun as they really liked the corn and lettuce.

 Photogrammetrist 

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