Mapping a Course for GVEA Employees
By Rachael Kvapil
Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.” Maps are an important part of GVEA’s daily operations and safety protocols. Dana Daily makes sure these maps take employees to their correct destination as the co-op’s computer-aided design/geographic information system technician.
“Our goal is to keep our map as up to date as possible for all of our field crews and office staff,” Dana says.
Dana began working for GVEA in August 2017. She is part of a team that continually maintains and updates its mapping system with corrections from the field, new members added to the system and ever-expanding infrastructure. The team also collaborates with engineers, electricians, GVEA’s safety team and facilities personnel to maintain all the digital and physical drawings of GVEA’s facilities, power plants, substations and more. The team creates custom maps for general use, such as informative displays and project proposals, plus phenolic tags and signs for field devices and office signage.
Prior to working at GVEA, Dana interned at University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Department of Design and Construction, where one of her larger projects included creating evacuation route drawings in multiple locations for each floor of the largest 50 buildings on campus. These skills gave her the basis for her current position at the utility and later as an instructor at the university.
“It was a really fun project,” Dana says. “I got to walk each building to locate all the life safety equipment and create the drawings. It’s satisfying to go up to campus and see that they’re still there six-plus years later.”
At GVEA, Dana assisted in the creation of a workflow and collaboration with Healy employees to strengthen their communication and drawing organization for the Healy power plants. This included putting together proposals and presentations to expand the team so her department could keep up with the increased workload. With guidance from the construction field representatives and engineers, Dana also revamped all of GVEA’s electrical service guidelines documentation.
“They had been worked on by many people over the years, so there was little consistency,” she says. “Getting things more standardized and giving it a face lift really helped to bring everything
In addition to her work at GVEA, she taught an Intermediate drafting course as an adjunct professor at the UAF Community and Technical College for three semesters. She found this challenging, as she says she’s not the biggest fan of public speaking. She says teaching the class helped her learn just as much as her students.
“It helped some with my fear of public speaking, improved my general communication and problem solving skills, and allowed me to keep up with new features and tools added to the program,” Dana says.
Her department is in a transition stage at the moment. It is moving from its current mapping program to a new one that integrates more seamlessly with accounting and member information. One of the long-term goals is to upgrade mobile applications to give field crews the most accurate representation of GVEA infrastructure. As a service-based department, her team works closely with other departments on projects. She says it can sometimes become challenging prioritizing requests to meet deadlines, but they work together to keep things running smoothly.
“I think GVEA is a great place to work,” Dana says. “A hospitable work environment and camaraderie is integral for employee happiness. I think GVEA does an excellent job at hiring personable, talented and hardworking individuals. The people I work with are probably my favorite part of the job.”
Dana was born in Kentucky and moved to Alaska with her family when she was 7—old enough to experience a slight culture shock but young enough to adapt to life as an Alaskan. In her free time, she loves to bake, read, lift weights and spend time outside walking or hiking with her husband and two golden retrievers. Last winter, she got back into snowboarding and looks forward to continuing to venture out this winter.