About a year after graduation I was hired by the Michigan Department of Transportation as a planner. I work for the Statewide Model Unit in the bureau of planning. My work on the statewide travel demand forecasting model has employed multiple facets of my education at MSU. Knowledge from geography courses in GIS, remote sensing, economics, transportation, quantitative methods, physical geography, and others are all widely used in my job. Studying maps for hours as a kid also has been put to good use. Other than the work with the statewide model, I do spatial and proximity analyses, economic benefit analysis of projects, create maps, develop forecasts and growth rates, detour alternative analyses, and a host of reports and other tasks. My duties over the years has become more focused on commercial vehicle movements and have I been working on the statewide truck model. In 2009 my job and title changed to Freight Movement Specialist, and I keep track of commodity movements by all modes throughout the state. Other government agencies, consultants, universities, and businesses contact me for freight data and forecasts. Most of my work is done in TransCAD, with some tasks done in using ArcGIS software.
All my geography professors were great, and every geography class was interesting and beneficial. Once class of note was the Quantitative Methods class taught by Judy Olson. I remember some parts of it were as clear as mud, and after taking the class I never thought that I would use that stuff in an actual career, but low and behold it’s a huge part of my work. Combine that class with GIS and transportation, and you cover the bulk of what I do! Thanks to all in the Geography Department for the great experience!