i-Open Focus is a nod from i-Open Technologies to the people who make our organization turn. It’s a way for us to highlight and recognize the people that help make i-Open Technologies what it is. This i-Open Focus is featuring Usman Yousaf, one of Canada’s 30 FME Expert Certificate holder.
    1.  What is your Name and your Role at Polar Tech/i-Open Technologies?

    My name is Usman Yousaf and I am a Senior GIS and Data Specialist at Polar Technology Solutions Inc.

    1. How did you hear about Polar Techch/i-Open Technologies?

    I found the opening at Polar through the job board a few weeks after I finished my bachelor’s degree in GIS.

    1. How long have you been with Polar Tech/i-Open Technologies and what would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?

    July 2019 will mark 7 years of me working with Polar. The most rewarding part was the opportunity I got to learn new technologies and applications.

    1. Your recently acquired your FME Professional Certification, tell us a little bit about this achievement.

    I started preparing for this certification a little while ago. Our Chief Technology Officer, Jonathon McIntyre, was a great mentor to me through-out the certification process. The application got delayed because of some change in priorities. I finally submitted my application in the first week of June. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients who agreed to provide a reference for my work.

    1. How long did it take you to acquire your FME Professional Certification?

    Once I completed and submitted the application, I took the certification exam and passed it with 94%. I was awarded the certification in 10 days.

    1. You now are one of 30 rarified FME Expert in Canada. Professionally, what does this mean for you and i-Open Technologies/Polar Tech?

    I think it is a great achievement for myself and my company. It will definitely help gain the confidence of our existing as well as prospective clients.

    1. What were some challenges you faced while pursuing your FME Professional Certification?

    Preparing the sample projects according to the certification requirements was a bit of a challenge. I spent a fair bit of time on it but the reward for that was that the projects were approved by Safe Software in the first attempt without any revisions.

    1. Let’s get a little more personal, what is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

    There can be no other answer to this question but “hiking in the mountains.”

    1. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

    Once I was in Calgary, waiting for the train. It was in the late evening and starting to get dark. I saw my friend waiting for the returning train on the other side of the lines. He was busy looking at his phone, so I called out to him, “Jawad!”. He looked at me for a second and then started looking at his phone again; he obviously didn’t recognize me. I went over the bridge to the other side. He saw me walking towards him and waving at him. Now that I was about 15-20 meters away, I could tell why he wouldn’t respond. He was not Jawad. It was too late and embarrassing to just turn around so I ended up asking him, “do you know which train goes to downtown?”. He told me, I said thanks and I was back waiting for my train.

    1. Where do you volunteer or give back to the community?

    I have volunteered with different organizations from GeoAlberta geospatial conference to Mud Hero Obstacle Race event. Recently, I have submitted my application to become a volunteer fire fighter with the Red Deer County and I am waiting for the hiring process to open. I am very excited and really looking forward to being a part of this.

    1. Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.

    Though I am a Senior GIS and Data Specialist, I have a master’s degree in business administration.

    1. What is the best advice you have received regarding your career and profession and why was it so meaningful?

    I would say there were many advices that I received which made a difference in my career in the long run one way or the other.