[OSGeo-Discuss] Board candidates: what are your plans?

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Wed Aug 20 17:10:56 PDT 2014

Thank you to Johan for mentioning this.  I agree that it is a good time 
for Board candidates to speak and explain their vision/plans.

I would like to explain my vision, status, and plans through the 
following sections:


I was initially named as President of OSGeo in December 2012.  I do plan 
to re-stand for another term as President. It is an honour to represent 
OSGeo, and I take this position very seriously. Although our foundation 
is filled with thousands of active and superbly bright members, there is 
sometimes a very important need to be the face of the foundation. 
Besides the obvious visible role at events, and giving the foundation 
stability and dependable leadership, as President I also handle concerns 
and challenges occurring throughout the foundation, often this means 
just listening closely, and then bringing the issue forward through 
appropriate methods.

Over time I have also come to realize my own strengths and limits, and 
this is a very important part of being the President of OSGeo - 
leveraging the community (committees, local chapters, project leads) to 
get things done, and not get tangled into tasks.  As an example, I do 
still poke my head into FOSS4G committees occasionally, but mostly to 
guide the progress or report challenges brought to me through the 
community.  It is thanks to this realization that I am enthusiastic and 
energized to represent this great community as President again.


As a current Board member, and potential future Board member, I feel I 
bring a strong sense of community to the Board.  It is no secret that 
for a long time now I have focused on building the community of OSGeo. 
I once heard an interview with a legendary lead singer of a band[1], who 
said his goal each concert was to make the kid sitting in the very back 
row to feel like he's as much a part of the concert as the kid sitting 
in the front row, and this is exactly how I focus my community work for 
OSGeo.  I try to make the shy new developer or student, just newly 
looking into Open Geospatial, looking to hopefully join or form a local 
chapter in a remote country, feel as part of the community of OSGeo as 
everyone else does.  A result of doing that, is that like that singer, I 
feel that the OSGeo world is very small and very connected (one moment I 
am talking with an OSGeo-Argentina community member, the next moment I 
am talking with an OSGeo-Sri Lanka community member).  I see the world 
as very small and very connected.

Education / Training

The stability of our foundation and its software projects, means that 
there is now a huge demand on training in the education system.  I feel 
it is very important to help promote Open Geospatial in universities and 
schools, and I am very happy to continue working with Suchith and other 
academic leaders through the Geo for All initiative.  On a recent trip I 
made sure to meet with fellow ICA and ISPRS presidents to continue the 
great momentum developed by Suchith, Maria, and others.

I should also point out that it is important to support OSGeo's Google 
Summer of Code students, led by the wonderful work and leadership of 
Anne, and I make a point of promoting her great work publicly whenever I 

Building an "Ecosystem"/Network

It is obvious to me, thanks to leaders like Dirk who champion this, that 
OSGeo's relationships with geospatial communities (such as OGC, ICA, 
ISPRS, LocationTech, etc.) and also the professional service providers 
supporting our projects, are very important for our future as a 
foundation.  A lot of work must be done soon to manage this so that we 
can continue to grow and thrive in today's industry, and I realize this 
will be a team effort.


In the past year the foundation went through some challenges with 
servers, I just want to make sure we acknowledge this, and as a Board 
member I will support the SAC committee to make sure we can give them 
what they need.

Supporting the Tribe

The core of OSGeo depends on grassroots events like code sprints and 
smaller local FOSS4G events and "townhall" meetings, and as a Board 
member I will make sure we do support the tribe through these events 
whenever possible.

Charter Members

Several community leaders, the most prominent being Venka, have 
expressed their desires to leverage our Charter Members more in the 
growth of the foundation.  I plan to work with Venka and the 244 Charter 
Members and the Board to see how we can involve the members more in 
important decisions.


I would like to see a clear picture of our financial outlook presented 
to the Board regularly, and therefore relayed to the whole community. 
I realize the foundation struggles at gaining sponsors, but I think the 
first step in getting on track with that is a clear 'look in the mirror' 
each month or so.  I will encourage the Board and the Treasurer to have 
monthly or bi-monthly financial updates done.

I would like to thank Daniel here for his hard work on following through 
with the 501(c)(4) Tax Exempt Status for the foundation.  I will do 
whatever is needed to support him and the next Treasurer with that.


It is no secret to most of my passion for FOSS4G, tracing all the way 
back to lively talks with Markus and Venka 10 years ago.  I went on to 
put a lot of focus into the main event, many years of just doing the 
little things behind the scenes, often nothing more than 'picking up a 
dropped ball' over and over.  Today I put a lot of my focus in the 
smaller FOSS4G events, not necessarily doing the work but instead 
helping promote them, small hints of guidance when necessary, making 
their event feel/be as important as any FOSS4G event.

It is all that history that gives me a unique perspective of the FOSS4G 
community.  Having been vocal for many years on the need for resources 
for the continuity and management of the main FOSS4G event, I hear those 
demands strongly again from others recently, and realize that we will 
have to deal with that as a Board and through the Conference Committee. 
  The FOSS4G brand is very important to OSGeo.

In Conclusion

The OSGeo community is very important to me.  It will take all of the 
community to make all of the above happen, not just one or a few people. 
But I am so happy to be here, to be potentially on the OSGeo Board again 
and President, singing to that kid in the back of the concert, singing 
about the great community of OSGeo. :)

Sincerely yours,


[1] Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden
[2] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Jeff_McKenna

On 2014-08-20 5:41 PM, Johan Van de Wauw wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I'm relatively new to OSGeo (at least the organisational part), but
> I'm a bit surprised by the board elections.
> I'm seeing two phases: a nomination phase and a voting phase. I double
> checked and last year it was the same. In my opinion we are missing
> the most important step: a "campaigning period". I'd like to know what
> each candidate would like to do, how they see the future of OSGeo,...
> Now - don't get me wrong- we have (up to now) 7 excellent candidates
> for 5 positions, and probably many other charter members have done so
> much for the community that they deserve to be on the board. But as
> much as I would like to thank all of them, I would like to use
> different criteria for selecting board members.What are your vision
> and goals? Where should OSGeo head to? What about the financial
> situation? I'd like to know each candidate's vision before voting.
> Actually, all other volunteer run organisations where I've been
> involved have such a phase. Usually it happens "offline" during
> general assemblies, but at least for debian they are online [1]. The
> actual examples from debian are for choosing the project leader and
> are way too long, but I'd definitively like to read a paragraph or two
> which vision each candidate has on OSGeo.
> So here is my proposal:
> For next year:
> - Make something like a "campaining period" a part of the election.
> Give candidates an official time to explain their plans and have room
> for discussion afterwards. I actually think this would be a better
> place for "endorsements" than the nomination phase. Endorsing a
> candidate for his/her future plans based on his/her current
> achievement is imho a stronger signal than some of the endorsements we
> saw on the list before.
> For this year:
> - Even if there is no official period, I'd still love to see the
> vision/answers to the above questions from the candidates.
> Johan
> [1] https://www.debian.org/vote/2013/platforms/
> _______________________________________________

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