T&D World Magazine

Gathen Garcia: AutoCAD Visionary

Gathen Garcia has the freedom to create a culture where people dream, imagine, collaborate, invent and experiment. Garcia manages the GIS/CAD/3D Visualization support for transmission at Public Service Co. of New Mexico and brings his multi-disciplinary experience to the classroom at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Division in Albuquerque.

His professional and academic careers have him introducing new strategies, new business models and new practices that define new standards and processes for the utility industry. In his professional career, he has worked at PNM for the past 28 years and is currently technical systems manager for Innovative Software Solutions.

“My philosophy toward the GIS community in New Mexico is one of sharing and cooperation. By achieving this, we can all reduce costs associated with data capture and continue to increase efficiencies,” Garcia said. “Not only will we continue to improve our skill sets, but we will also increase our knowledge of how GIS best fits in our organizations.”

Garcia has trademarked and patented two software applications that have been sold and are being marketed to the global utility industry. His group has received geospatial awards from GITA and ESRI. He said that at PNM, he pursues new technologies to identify need and possible solutions for positioning the company for the future. “I continue to work on creating a culture that is open, honest, knowledgeable, collaborative, experimental and unbounded,” he said.

Academically, Garcia has been teaching Beginning through Advanced AutoCAD courses, including 3D Modeling, at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education Division for the past 19 years. In April, he will be presenting AutoCAD: Introduction to Sketch UP. The course covers design ideas using basic drawing techniques and the latest digital software - with a primary focus on the creation of computer-modeled 3D objects within a 2D display environment. Students will learn how to integrate various software packages with Sketch Up, and create 3D geometry using the 2D surfaces of lines, circles, polygons, arcs and freehand curves.

Garcia communicates to students that “AutoCAD is not an application that you learn; it is a career that you build on.” He said that the gap between GIS and CAD is a way for us to capture the lost knowledge we are seeing in the utility industry as a whole. “We need to make sure that we have processes in place to capture the undocumented procedures that are typically left out of the official documentation that employees have in there heads.”

Garcia thoroughly enjoys the subjects he teaches. He said that he had always wanted to be a drafter or animator growing up, but when personal computing became crucial to the workforce in the early 80s, he knew he had found his calling. He started as a manual drafter in 1976, then began working with AutoCAD in 1983 (version 2.x). He first got involved in GIS in 1997 while managing the CAD department. “I would like to explore and get into more animation at some point,” he said.

Garcia enjoys the flexibility and the diversity of his job, but also likes spending time with his wife of 26 years, his two kids and a four-year-old granddaughter. And being a native of New Mexico, he enjoys opportunities to fly fish and play golf.

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