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Congrats to Kelly Baar for new position with Roadway Asset Services

Tim Kane

For not being a geography major, Tim Kane (MS Forestry 2021 and BS Wildlife and Fishers 2017) spent a lot of time in the Burchfiel Geography Building working closely with geospatial faculty like Dr. Bruce Ralston. Tim currently works as a GIS Specialist with Roadway Asset Services here in the Knoxville area. When Tim’s company was looking to hire additional staff, he found exactly what he was looking for in Kelly Baar (BA Geography 2019). Here’s what Tim had to say about Kelly and her experience in the UTK Geography Department:

“Kelly has been an asset by providing training to our partners on how to best utilize the Road TRIP software RAS has created for assessing roadway pavement conditions. This training allows us to better utilize the resources we have available and leverage our positions to maintain high data output and better service to our clients.

I believe that many of the skills expressed in our day to day work were acquired through the geography department at UT. From the hard skills like fluency in multiple GIS environments, to the soft skills of presentation and networking. I believe that geography, more than many other disciplines, gives the user an unparalleled understanding of the world and how multiple disciplines fit together to solve much larger problems. It’s a breeding ground for multidisciplinary studies bringing together spatial understanding and physical assets for greater understanding at large. In this instance, it’s the combination of city planning, pavement engineering, geographic processing, machine learning, and statistical analysis that allow us to deliver actionable products to our clients that will go on to provide residents with a better experience, overall. We are all aware of where the worst roads are on our communities. We’d like for those roads to become almost invisible.”

And here’s what Kelly had to say about how utilizing the department alumni network has helped her be successful in her new position:

Kelly Baar

“Working as a GIS Specialist at RAS has been a great opportunity that I have my network in the UTK Geography department to thank. Starting a new job can be difficult, but I believe gaining this position through my network enabled a seamless transition. Having an instant commonality allowed for more and faster learning opportunities as I was more comfortable and able to ask questions and learn from the beginning. In this role, I have been able to put the technical skills learned at UT to real world applications to meet clients’ needs. I am now able to learn about an industry and application of GIS that I didn’t even know existed, and network with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable engineers in the Pavement and Asset Management world!


The UTK Geography Department is thankful for the ongoing support of our alum and friends who help our students and graduates find career opportunities.