Annual Award Recipients

Hall of Fame

The Ontario GIS Hall of Fame Award pays tribute to the distinguished leaders of the geospatial community. Reserved for those whose contributions exemplify creative thinking, visionary innovation, inspiring leadership, unwavering perseverance, and a strong sense of community. Recipients, whether individuals or organizations, are trailblazers whose pioneering work has significantly advanced the geospatial industry, steering it towards a brighter, more resilient future.

2024 Hall of Fame Award - Dr. Barry Wellar, C.M., GISP

BeSpatial's recognition of Dr. Barry Wellar highlights his pioneering role in Geographic Information Science (GIS), emphasizing his innovative contributions to the field, dedication to education, and ongoing impact on shaping its future. Dr. Wellar's extensive credentials include roles such as President of the Information Research Board, Professor Emeritus at the University of Ottawa, and numerous accolades such as the Horwood Award and induction into the GIS Hall of Fame. His career spans leadership positions in various associations and significant honors, including the Order of Canada.

2023 Hall of Fame Award - Brian Maloney

Brian received his license as an Ontario Land Surveyor in 1983, and worked in a variety of government positions with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Natural Resources, with many of those being in senior management roles, including as Director, Mapping and Information Resources within MRN. Upon his retirement from Government, he worked as a management consultant specializing in activities related to Geographic Information, before joining the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors as Executive Director. Retired (again), we wanted to ensure Brian is recognized for his lifelong contributions to the Geo Community. Congratulations Brian, thank you for all you’ve done, and we wish you well in your retirement.

2022 Hall of Fame Award - John Bacon,  a dear colleague, BeSpatial contributor and faithful volunteer left us far too soon due to a tragic plane crash on March 21, 2022

John was a member of BeSpatial (formerly URISA Ontario) since March 2009 (13 years) and involved in association activities for many years before that time. His contribution to the programs committee started from almost the time that he formally became a member in 2009. He was a natural communicator and enjoyed working the exhibit hall laughing and talking to exhibitors and attendees at our BeSpatial events. John's voice and laugh were his signature. He could be counted on to help out and was always there for us at BeSpatial! His friends and colleagues will fondly remember and be forever grateful for the time that he shared with us, his contribution and passion for the geospatial community and GIS.

 After graduating with a degree in Geography, a position came available to help implement a GIS within a City.  John learned GIS on the job and became proficient enough to teach others. Although he started his career in government, John spent most of hiscareer as a GIS consultant serving government and private industries locally and internationally and had recently started a new position with ESRI Canada.

2017 Hall of Fame Award - Sandra Crutcher

1st Inductee - BeSpatial Hall of Fame.

Awarded at the 30th anniversary celebration held in May 2017. BeSpatial recognized Sandra as a founding member for her over 30 years of contribution, influence and impact on the GIS community in Ontario.

At the local level, Sandra Crutcher serves as the association's first executive director and in this position continues as an ex-officio member of its board of directors. She is a charter and honourary member, a past president and has served on all committees. In her executive director role, she is responsible for office and board management support.

Sandra first joined URISA International in 1985 and was co-Chair for the 1997 URISA International Conference held in Toronto in July 1997 and has served as the Canadian representative on the Chapter Relations Committee. She has won various leadership and service awards at both the international and local level.

At the 1996 annual meeting, Sandra was the first recipient of the URISA Ontario's Exemplary Service award and was once again presented with this award for the second time, along with Jury Konga at the 1998 annual meeting  and again in 2005. In January 1999, she was appointed the association's executive director. At the May 2008 annual meeting, Sandra was awarded with the prestigious GIS Leadership award for her long-time commitment to supporting and advancing the association's goals. Sandra worked for the City of Toronto for 26 years in various management roles in areas such as planning, building, public health and corporate I&T.


The GIS Leadership Award is presented to members who have demonstrated exemplary leadership to Ontario's Geospatial and Information community including creativity, innovation, and dedicated support of programs. Reserved for BeSpatial Ontario members with a demonstrated pattern of leadership, recipients have typically spearheaded new initiatives or significantly enhanced existing programs, propelling BeSpatial Ontario into new realms and bolstering our reputation within the professional community. This award honors those whose visionary leadership propels the geospatial industry forward, setting a standard of excellence for all.

2024 Leadership Award - Adam Fox

Adam credits much of his career growth to his early role as BeSpatial /URISA Ontario’s first Student Advisor to the Board of Directors. Mentored by GIS leaders like Sandra Crutcher, Ron Jaros, and Al Little, he learned the value of collaboration and community in GIS. With over 27 years of experience in 15 countries, Adam has held various technical, speaking, and leadership roles, notably at J.D. Barnes, Cadcorp, and Esri Canada, where he currently serves as Executive Director, Sales, leading a team of 150 experts. We're honored to recognize Adam's contributions with this Leadership award!

2023 Leadership Award - Andrew Satterthwaite, Ph.D.

Andrew was nominated by his team at York Region. Andrew’s role often involves introducing new programs, with a focus on optimizing business value through improvements to data governance, data gathering, and bringing an innovation perspective. Congratulations Andrew and keep up the great work!

Andrew is the Manager, Special Projects, Data Analytics and Visualization Services Branch, York Region (The Regional Municipality of York).

2023 Leadership Award - Jan Kestle 

Jan Kestle has been a leader in the marketing information industry for more than five decades. An expert in using statistics and mathematics to help solve business challenges, she directed the initiatives that led to the creation of EA’s PRIZM® segmentation system, WealthScapes financial database and ENVISION business intelligence platform, among other products. Over the years, she’s helped hundreds of customers—in industries ranging from finance and retail to the not-for-profit sector—turn data and analytics into insight, strategy and engagement. Before founding EA in 2003, Jan was president of Compusearch and spent 19 years at the Ontario Statistical Centre. Active in the marketing community, Jan was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Marketing Association. We hope this Leadership award will take a place of honor beside others on your mantelpiece Jan!

2023 Leadership Award - Paul Beach

Paul Beach has over 36 years of experience in the GIS and Information Technology fields. He began his career with the Ontario provincial government researching and implementing new technologies including GIS and GPS within the natural resource sectors. For the last 23 years, Paul has been General Manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s Acorn Information Solutions Group, which is a not for profit organization dedicated to promoting and establishing the means to share data, knowledge and tools among community organizations to create healthier, safer  and more prosperous communities. Paul has also been a member of our Board and a long-time BeSpatial member as well. Congratulations Paul!

2023 Leadership Award - Paul Giroux

Paul Giroux, M.Sc.(GIS), GISP has made significant contributions to the development and implementation of enterprise data, analytics and GIS maturity models. With over 25 years of industry experience, he has helped organizations use his tools and a strategic approach to mature their enterprise capabilities. He developed the maturity method to work with the enterprise geospatial (Slimgim) and Data and Analytics models (SlimD&A) models. His method and tools are used to data drive strategic improvements in large and small complex organizations ranging from oil and gas and federal space agencies to small municipal and county governments.

Paul’s Giroux’s deep insight into our industry and an obsession with sharing what he has developed with and for his peers is why he's being recognized today. Paul's tools and work on becoming "strategic about strategy" is having a profound impact and shaping the future of our industry for years to come.

This altruistic, public-spirited approach is more of what we need in our industry and in the world in general, and epitomizes the word “Leadership”. Congratulations Paul!

John Bacon Exemplary Service

The John Bacon Exemplary Service Award is a prestigious recognition occasional bestowed upon individuals for their enduring commitment to BeSpatial Ontario and the broader geospatial and Information industry. This distinguished honor is reserved for those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication over the long term. Awardees epitomize the pinnacle of service, having made significant contributions to both BeSpatial Ontario and the geospatial community at large. This award stands as a symbol of gratitude for their unwavering commitment and invaluable impact on our organization and profession. Starting In 2023, the award was renamed to the John Bacon Exemplary Service award.

2024 John Bacon Exemplary Service Award - Maureen Mountjoy

Maureen Mountjoy has been an active member of URISA Ontario/BeSpatial since 2000, consistently staffing the AOLS exhibit during its Annual Meeting, both in-person and virtually, to raise awareness about the land surveying profession and the benefits of AOLS membership. Graduating from the University of Toronto's inaugural Survey Science class in 1976, Maureen became the second female Ontario Land Surveyor in December 1978. She began her career in private practice and later transitioned to teaching practical survey methods at the University of Toronto. Recently retiring from the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (AOLS), Maureen served for 23 years as Deputy Registrar, Editor of the Ontario Professional Surveyor magazine, and Administrator of the AOLS Educational Foundation.

2023 John Bacon Exemplary Service Award - Tony Lea

In memory of Tony Lea. Tony was a long term member of BeSpatial (URISA) Ontario having joined in the association’s formative years. As the contact for Environics Analytics, he championed EA’s involvement for 30 years at the annual conference and Expo and managed engagement in a number of key areas. We are joined tat the BeSpatial'23 event by his wife Joanne Tofani and son, John Lea to receive the recognition of this award on his behalf. THANK YOU Tony, your support over the years was greatly appreciated and we will miss you deeply!

For over four decades Tony was an international leader in research methods relating to location and segmentation. He was recognized globally as the creator of dozens of advanced methodologies widely used by hundreds of research organizations both academic and commercial. As the Chief Methodologist at both Compusearch and Environics Analytics (where he was also a founder) he led and mentored young men and women in those companies and, many others across a wide range of industries, to be data-driven. He was known for his brilliance, dedication, loyalty, and good humor. Along with leading those two organizations, he continued his academic pursuits throughout his career - researching, speaking, teaching, and mentoring at U of T, TMU, and other colleges and universities. His entire academic and professional family feels his loss profoundly and appreciates his lessons, contributions, and all the time they had with him.

2023 John Bacon Exemplary Service Award - Melanie Wawryk

A community builder,  demonstrating a keen interest, offering talents on a number of fronts mixed with a long time commitment… over 20 years, there really isn’t an award that can adequately recognize the depth of gratitude that we who know you Mel and have been part of the journey feel. Along with this award, Melanie becomes our first lifetime achievement honourary board member.

Melanie has been working in the GIS industry for over 25 years and is currently the Manager GeoSpatial Data and Analytics at the City of Kitchener.
Melanie holds a Master of Science Degree from Manchester Metropolitan University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Theoretical and Applied Geographic Information Systems from Simon Fraser University and an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo.

GeoDynamo Award

The GeoDynamo Award is presented to exceptional volunteers who demonstrate unwavering dedication to the GeoSpatial community. Recognizing outstanding leadership and selflessness in their contributions recipients strengthen BeSpatial Ontario's mission while elevating the industry as a whole. This award celebrates those who have sparked positive change, inspired others, and demonstrated a profound commitment to service. The GeoDynamo Award stands as a testament to the invaluable role volunteers play in shaping the future of our community and industry.

2024 GeoDynamo Award - Susan Muleme-Kasumba - Outstanding Volunteer of the Year!

Since graduating from the Cartographic Technologist Program at Sir Sandford Fleming College in 1998, Susan Muleme Kasumba has built a diverse career in geospatial. She began in GIS Software at Avenza, moved to cartographic map production at Western University, and later worked in photogrammetric map production at two British Columbia-based companies. Currently, Susan serves as the Business Development Manager at Airborne Imaging, Canada's largest airborne LiDAR provider (a Barr Geospatial Company). Additionally, she has held roles as the immediate past President and Manager of Strategy and Outreach at BeSpatial Ontario.

2023 1st GeoDynamo Award - Wendy Baldin - Outstanding Volunteer of the Year!

Wendy attended the University of Waterloo, Cooperative Education program and obtained a Bachelor of Geography specializing in GIS in 2001. She started her career at Lafarge Canada and also worked for nearly 4 years at the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority where she built and managed the GIS team. Wendy then made the jump to consulting and began working for The Sernas Group Inc (later GHD Canada) in 2007 as a Service Group Manager of Geomatics. Between 2018-2021 Wendy worked for GEO Morphix Ltd., a medium-sized consulting firm specializing in geomorphology and earth science as a Senior Spatial Scientist. From December 2021 until October 2022 Wendy transitioned over to the Public Sector and was the GIS, IM and IT Coordinator for the Niagara Escarpment Commission. In October 2022 Wendy and her family moved from the GTA to begin a new stage of life in the Niagara Region.  Wendy is now employed for the City of Welland as their GIS Services Supervisor.  In 2015 Wendy earned her GISP designation and in 2017 earned her PMP designation.

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