caseydecker_watercoolerISG GIS Specialist Casey Decker’s unconventional college summer job saw him living on the highest mountain in Ecuador for two summers studying glacial retreat and water quality. When not rigging research devices 13,000 feet up, he excelled in the classroom and on the football field at Gustavus Adolphus College. Casey earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team, received Academic All-District honors, and graduated with a double major in Geography with GIS and Geology. Now retired from playing, Casey cheers on one younger brother at Gustavus, and volunteers to coach his other younger brother at Maple River High School. He also loves spending time outdoors, whether hunting or exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

From Mankato to Ecuador and Back

How did you get involved with ISG?

During a GIS class in the spring of my junior year of college I was required to find a “client” that needed help with a GIS related project. I heard about ISG through a friend and thought that I might as well reach out to see if there was something I could work on. It turned out that there was a project— which lasted the rest of the semester and continued on into the summer. This internship then turned into a full-time job on June 18th, 2018.

What’s been the biggest transition from college student to young ISG professional?

My busy course load in college was actually a blessing, as it boosted my organization and time management skills which eased me into the professional environment and allows me to attack every day to the best of my ability.

What skills carry over from the football team to the team at ISG?

The biggest skills that carry over are trust and communication. I have to have trust in my coworkers that they will get their jobs done in a professional and timely manner and they have to trust me that I can do the same. As far as communication, I learned that if you have questions, ask! It is better to know the expectations and to be on the same page from the beginning. Waiting can cost you on the field, and on the job.

What do you enjoy most about working at ISG?

I really enjoy the teamwork and collaboration aspect of ISG. After only a short period of time at ISG it is very evident that my coworkers are very passionate about the role they play in providing excellent solutions to our clients. On any given day I can work with any coworker from any different discipline to complete proposals and projects, and it is very rewarding to help out in the many different fields of ISG!

You lived on a mountain in Ecuador for two summers. How did that adventure make you grow as a person and ISG Employee Owner?

I grew as a person through a lot of adversity. At 17,000 ft. with roughly half of the oxygen we have in Minnesota you really want things to go right, but the unexpected does happen and you have to adapt. Whether creatively modifying our research equipment with basic hardware store materials like MacGyver, or trying to pack up our campsite and climb back down the mountain in a foot and a half of snow, I learned that things can and will happen to set you back no matter what the situation, so you have to be flexible. Now, when things do go wrong I feel like I can respond in a way to help me grow as a person and as an ISG Employee Owner.

I have it on good authority that you used to call every bird a “chicken” until the age of six. When did you rule out an ornithology degree and settle for a different science?

I knew I wanted to major in some kind of natural science going into college, but didn’t know what for sure. Then I tried Geology and GIS classes and got hooked. Also, I only called them chickens until I was four.

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Meet Sam Boeck

Sam leads talent engagement at ISG, focusing on providing innovative and strategic direction for talent engagement initiatives, including professional development, culture, and recruitment. Frankly put, Sam embodies ISG’s culture and...