BY JODI PETERSON
Former CEMML principal investigator Shannon Voggesser has moved from creating maps to managing finances — but she’s still a CSU employee.
Voggesser grew up in Winfield, a town in south-central Kansas. An early interest in psychology led her to major in that subject at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. But halfway through, she realized that she really liked maps — both using them and making them. That led her to switch majors, and she earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies. After graduating, she got a job as a materials manager at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base. She soon realized, though, that she would rather be doing something that put her undergraduate interests to work. Voggesser then pursued a master’s in geography with an emphasis on Geographical Information Systems at the University of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, she taught world geography at Rose State College and worked as a GIS analyst for Devon Energy.
In 2004, Voggesser and her new spouse Garrit moved to Loveland, Colorado. She’d fallen in love with the state during her college years, and he wanted to return to his home town. Voggesser quickly found a job at an organization she’d never heard of, CSU’s Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands. As a GIS analyst, she worked on several projects under agreements with the Department of Defense, and eventually found herself shifting into a management role. She began developing project proposals, managing and tracking budgets, supervising staff, and generally ensuring that deadlines and expectations were met.
A fun project, recalled Voggesser, was making maps for cultural-themed decks of cards meant for military installations in the Middle East. The card backs had pictures of artifacts and culturally significant areas for each country, so that soldiers playing games during down time could then recognize such items if they came across them while on duty. “For each deck, I was asked to make a map for one of the cards,” said Voggesser. “They were the smallest maps I have ever made!”
Her biggest project, and the one she’s most proud of, was managing all of the environmental GIS data for the Air Force. That included overseeing teams that were delineating wetlands, mapping vegetation, and modeling flood risks for dozens of Air Force bases in collaboration with the CSU engineering department. “The Air Force Civil Engineer Center and other divisions are recognizing the good work that CEMML is doing,” she said, “and how we’ve collected this great data they can use for planning and mission training, construction, and operations.”
She also inherited a project supporting an Air Force system that manages and tracks hazardous waste and materials at installations. Another major effort was overseeing development of a Tribal Lands Viewer for the Air Force, which gives commanders a way to see which Indigenous tribes are affected by planned projects and provides contact information for required consultation.
As for her new job, Voggesser says it was just time to try something different after nearly 19 years. “I always enjoyed the finance and budgeting part of my position at CEMML,” she said, “and I wanted to explore that more.” Now, her title is Grant and Special Funds Manager, at the CSU Office of Engagement and Extension. It’s familiar ground, though — she helps support other project managers and their work out in the field.