Firmatek’s employees are dispersed around the country, but we also have a group that is great at connecting and helping each other out even when they are thousands of miles apart. It’s pretty special.  A couple times a year, we get as many of the group in one room as possible for some work and some fun.

Last week, we were able to get most of the team to San Antonio for a day to refocus and reconnect as we head into our busy season. It was a great opportunity to get training on new tech and refreshers on Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”).

The first members of the group got in early in the week for outside training with Trimble. Like many geospatial firms, we use a lot of Trimble equipment. It is always great to expand our knowledge base and add new tools to our toolkit. The team really enjoyed learning, living our value of innovation, and the principle of being lifelong learners.

Next, one of our team leaders, Joshua Wilson, led the VZ Summit, where a group of our team members participated in training and discussion around the Riegl VZ 400. The team worked together to troubleshoot some issues we’ve been seeing and finalize new Standard Operating Procedures. For Joshua, the highlight was “getting everyone on the same page regarding the process of registering data, VZ settings, and RiMING Software settings.” At the end of the day, the team had created one surface from data from six different people and processed on six different computers. It was an example of why SOPs are so important and key to our ability to provide accurate data regardless of which team member is on site or processing the data.

On Friday, the rest of the group arrived for a day focused on SOPs. As we head into our busy season, it is important to refresh and reset on these procedures. Even though we have 13 geospatial field technicians and a team of data processors around the country, they all do things the same way and get the same accurate results. It’s important for us to refocus on the details as we head into the end of the year. We want to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially since we have continued to adopt new technology over the course of the year.

Our COO, Rob Wyssbrod, said of the time, “I think just about every employee actively participated at some point during the day.  The engagement by our field team in discussing operational questions and issues was very high.” It is exciting and encouraging to see the team so engaged and caring so much about the work they do for our clients.

But it’s not all about work. We had a little bit of fun too. Our drone team, headed up by Dallas VanZanten, put together a fun drone obstacle course race, (click the link for video.)We all put on the goggles and flew a drone with a shark face on it up and down and around the office space through hoops. There were a lot of laughs. One of our field technicians, Steele, took home the top prize. I was wishing I’d played more video games as a kid… I think I’ll stick to my day job.


We capped off the day with a night out with families at the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball game. It was fun for everyone to get to meet families, enjoy some food and drinks, and build connections. For many of our new guys, it was the first time they got to meet some of their team members in person. It is always valuable to put a face to a name and voice.

In our remote organization, we place a premium on time we actually get to spend together. We always want to make the most of it. This was no exception, and a great reminder of why we spend the time and the money to bring the team together for both learning and fun. I’m already excited about planning the next event!