Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Introducing David Park and the Geospatial Research Centre

David Park Dr David Park is the founder and director of the Geospatial Research Centre (GRC) in Christchurch. The GRC is a joint venture between The University of Nottingham, The University of Canterbury, Canterbury Development Corporation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. David moved to New Zealand to set up the GRC in 2006; it was officially launched in April 2007. Recently, we were privileged to meet with David and see the GRC first-hand.

NZCSRSC: The GRC is probably one of the fastest growing centres in NZ ICT. But it's so much more than a university department. Can you tell us more about it?

David: The Geospatial Research Centre is a university owned, university based company. We are trying to implement a reasonably novel set-up where permanent company employees are integrated in a single, cohesive team with University support staff (finance, HR, PR, administration, etc) and students at undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels. The students are physically located within the company premises and are working on commercial projects and activities as part of their course of study or research (yes - we do pay reasonable rates!).

NZCSRSC: Often when we think of opportunities in the ICT field we think of other bigger countries. What made you choose NZ?

David: I was looking for a country or region in the world that had no incumbent in the space I wanted to play in, was actively looking to support and grow its ICT sector and had a good mix of companies and opportunities - all wrapped in an environment that would be a positive help in attracting staff and students! New Zealand was top of the list and since our initial approach to the NZ Embassy in London in 2005 we've never looked back. We are now successfully securing and completing contract work from companies in the US, UK and New Zealand.

NZCSRSC: David, your passion and enthusiasm is infectious. What/who inspires you?

David: Good question! I can't say that I have been explicitly inspired by a single individual in either my personal life or the wider world. However, I have always believed that it is important to get a balance between work and home priorities and that you should always "give it a go" if you have an idea or dream. These two themes underpin much of what I do and are probably a result of listening to a number of individuals during my life. It is always worth listening and trying to learn from others, especially in terms of what really matters in the long term.

NZCSRSC: How is your family adapting to life in NZ? I hear you are about to have an addition to your family.

David: I am happily married and have three boys (currently aged 6, 3 and 15 months). We are expecting the arrival of #4 baby on 11th January 2008 so there may be a few more sleepless nights ahead for me through next year! The family is settling in OK. Galen, my eldest, is going to a great local school and we all love living by the beach - it's great to be able to take the dog out for a walk in the late evening and unwind.
The kids are already picking up the local accent and it will be a positive step to have a true Kiwi baby in the house in a few weeks time.

NZCSRSC: Thanks David! We wish you the best of luck with the family and look forward to hearing from you next year.

David Park will be speaking during the NZCSRSC'08. If you have any questions or comments for David please post them in the comments section.Geospatial Research Centre

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