Sam Lanier, Chief Executive Officer
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In June of 2014, Sam stepped away from his full time career as a Fire Captain, to take the leap of faith as the Full time CEO of FireWhat with a passion to change emergency services for the better. Sam began as a founding member of FireWhat in 2010, and took on the roll of CEO in 2012. Over the next two years, Sam and the team would build the company to becoming a sustainable enterprise. In June of 2014, it became apparent, it was time for Sam to lead the progress and focus his efforts full time on the project.
Sam started his fire service career at the age of 15 with Hammond Ranch Fire Company and went on to work for CalFire as a fire captain for 15 years. He spent two years working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a Federal Grant Administrator and National Fire Program Specialist II where he administered a $41 million dollar grant awarded to 2,100 fire departments in the western United States. Recognizing the lack of communication and technological capability among fire departments and other resources for incident response, Sam brought these issues to the forefront in US Congressional Fire Act hearings.
Sam has taught firefighting and emergency management classes throughout his career to both private and public institutions. He is committed to excellence and innovation and sharing his knowledge with fellow trainers. Sam is a graduate of Fire Science and has expert study in Photography and Graphic Design from California State University, Chico and College of the Siskiyous. He is a three time “Firefighter of the Year” and 2013 National Ski Patrol “Purple Merit Star” award recipient. Sam’s Photography and Graphic design have been published in Regional and National publications as part of his international missionary work. His passion is to one day map the earth and photograph all its beauties to aide the end of world disparities.
John Warinner, Chief Operations Officer
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John leads our efforts developing relationships with FireWhat’s customers and partners and aligning the Company’s capabilities with those needs. John is a Professional Engineer with extensive experience applying technology and innovative approaches to monitor and adaptively manage complex systems. He is continually seeking better ways to deliver products and services.
John earned a BS Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Oregon State University and an MS Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. John's professional experience includes business modeling, strategic planning, customer development, product and project management, and team capacity building. John's domain experience centers on the application of GIS and information technology to agricultural irrigation, agroforestry, water rights, water resources engineering, and ecological restoration.
With his wife Amy, John is currently raising four children and enjoying life in Central Oregon.
Nathan Johnston, Chief Technical Officer
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Nathan and his technology team are responsible for FireWhat's tools, apps, data feed products and websites. After graduating from Stanford University with his BS in Computer Science, Nathan worked for Apple as a software engineer on the CoreOS team. He was part of a small group that built the Spotlight feature and also helped to launch Apple's successful retail stores. Nathan left Apple in 2004 and later earned a Masters Degree in Education at Harvard before returning to Northern California in 2009 to found Pusher, Inc., a successful video production and design agency. Nathan joined FireWhat full-time in 2015 to help define product strategy and lead a team of geo-developers.
Nathan lives in Dunsmuir, California with his wife, dogs, cats, chickens and ducks.
Cassandra Hansen Ph.D. Geographic Information Officer
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Cassandra combines her geographic research and academic excellence to lead FireWhat’s mapping and cartography projects. Her most recent work on the Rim Fire, Silver Fire, and award winning Story Map of the Boles Fire Real-Time GIS have received national recognition. She has also led students in a coordinated effort to use GIS to assist relief efforts in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010, the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines, and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Cassandra graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography as well as a GIS certificate in 2006. In 2008, she earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Cassandra is a National Geographic Cartography Award Winner (2007). Since 2008, Cassandra has taught college courses in GIS, applied GIS, Mapping Science, Cartography, Physical Geography, and Mountain Meteorology. She has completed her doctoral research on pan-Pacific mid-level atmospheric rivers associated with heavy snowfall from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research has won outstanding academic research awards from multiple organizations (CGS, APCG, and AAG).
Cassandra resides in Dunsmuir, CA with her husband and son where she enjoys biking, hiking, and inspiring students with the power of maps.
Ryan McAdler, Senior Software Architect
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Ryan started his programming career in 1998 and continued his pursuits at University of California, Davis. After graduating with a BS in Water Policy and Law and Minor in GIS, Ryan entered the environmental consulting field assisting with a variety of large scale land development, infrastructure and mitigation projects throughout California and Nevada. In 2012, Ryan relocated to Bend, Oregon to join Geo-Spatial Solutions and help build several of the company’s key products.
He enjoys alpine skiing, mountain biking, backpacking and spending time with his family. He is also a co-organizer of Maptime Bend, the Bend chapter of a collection of international beginner-focused community groups for learning geospatial technology, practices and concepts.
Cody Camarata, Industry Development Manager
Cody joined the FireWhat team in the Summer of 2016. Cody leads our Agricultural and Irrigation GIS Sector, as well as Business Development across various business sectors. Cody has a background in Geospatial Technologies and the Startup world.
Josh Spurlock, Social Media Specialist / Visual Artist / Logistics
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Josh comes from a background of being surrounded by media. Growing up Josh spent his summers around his grandpa who designed, crafted, and hand painted signs. At Salt Lake Community College, Josh studied Technical Theatre, Typography, Offset Printing, and Graphic Design. Outside of FireWhat, Inc., Josh volunteers for the City of Dunsmuir both as a volunteer firefighter, and was elected to City Councilor position in 2014 and in 2015-2016 completed his term as the Mayor of the City of Dunsmuir.
Josh provides up-to-date content for social media networks, creating print media, and oversees operations in emergency response trailers. Armed with his customer service training as a McDonalds employee, Josh is out to help everyone in anyway possible and to do it with a smile and a laugh. Now a tenured member of the staff, Josh's responsibilities no longer include making coffee for the office although he continues to Elaine head as a target for card flicking.
Melanie Moss, Marketing Communications Specialist
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Melanie is responsible for marketing and communications for the Company. After graduating from Linfield College with a BS Degree in Business Information Systems and an AA Degree in GIS, Melanie worked as a GIS Analyst/Programmer in both the non-profit and government sectors for many years. With a focus on using GIS to solve strategic planning and natural resource management issues, she found this work to be very challenging and rewarding.
As a Marketing Communications Specialist, she is able to employ her technical background and excellent communication skills to convey complex concepts to a non-technical audience while continuing to support a company that intends to make a difference.
Elaine Lanier, Operations Manager
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Elaine is our Operations Manager. She comes from a background in the Insurance market. With over 19 years of Business Operations experience, Elaine brings a large wealth of knowledge and talent to the team.
As a native to Siskiyou County and has returned with her husband and stared a transportation business and looks forward to raising her twins where she was once raised.
Garrett Miller, GIS Specialist
Garrett brings a diversity of GIS expertise to the FireWhat team. He received his B.A in Geography, GIS Certificate, and Geospatial Intelligence Certificate from the University of Missouri in 2012, continuing on to work for an electrical utility mapping company where he honed his GIS and data management skills. After making the move to Oregon in his 87’ Toyota Dolphin Garrett settled in Bend, Oregon and spent the 2015 fire season working as a GIS Specialist for FireWhat. He is currently heading up data collection and preparation for the Farmers Conservation Alliance: Irrigation Modernization project. Outside of work Garrett enjoys the outdoors, banjo pickin', and gardening.
Blake Michaelsen, Financial Analysis
Blake oversees daily financial activities for FireWhat. He has always had a love of math, numbers, and people; not necessarily in that order. After graduating with a degree in Economics from the University of California at Davis, Blake pursued a career in accounting for education, including the Novato Unified K-12 public school district, The California State University Chico Research Foundation and The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School. After a year of teaching 8th grade math in Austin, TX, Blake and his wife decided to move to Dunsmuir where his wife’s family has always had a home. He is out of Texas, but the Texas is not quite out of him. Although he is now sporting his skis and Patagonia, wearing cowboy boots, a longhorn belt buckle, and saying “y’all” are not uncommon. Blake has joyfully traded Texas barbeque for the wonderful world of FireWhat financials; armed with a smile and his 10-key adding machine.
Loving math, numbers, people, family, baseball, tennis, yoga, skiing, the mountains, the outdoors, fly-fishing, trains, and now Fires? – What? Blake is happily joining the FireWhat family. Blake and his high school sweetheart, now beautiful wife, have enjoyed Dunsmuir for nearly 20 years.
Hailing from central Oregon, Jake attended Oregon Institute of Technology from 2007 to 2011, graduated with a BS in Software Engineering Technology, moved back to the area in 2013, and joined FireWhat in 2016 after some time in the public sector and working with non-profits. Jake harnesses his skill and experience with various web frameworks such as Django, Node.js, and PHP to build and maintain FireWhat’s web-based GIS software platforms and has also been known to double as in-house tech support for FireWhat’s Bend office when the need arises.
Outside the office Jake is an avid eSports fan, an enjoyer of video games, a self-taught musician, a podcaster, and a maker. On any given night or weekend you will likely find him in his garage, tinkering on any one project from his ever-growing backlog of ideas and designs. That, or playing with his cats and talking to them as if they are people.
Sam Schwarz, GIS Specialist
Sam brings his love for maps, spatial thinking, and eye for map detail to the FireWhat team. As a GIS Specialist, he helps with GIS services for the fire seasons and for the agriculture and irrigation sector, taking responsibility on the water right mapping services. Sam graduated from Central Oregon Community College with an AAS in GIS in 2012. He was first introduced to the irrigation spectrum when doing his required co-op work experience at Central Oregon Irrigation District during the summer of 2011. Sam had to the opportunity to do hands-on field work at Central Oregon Irrigation District with ditch riding along the district canals and using GPS to mark canal mileage points.
He continued on to Oregon State University in Corvallis to earn a BS in Geography and the GIS certificate in 2015. While at Oregon State University, Sam worked as a satellite image interpreter within the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, interpreting changes in landscapes using LandSat imagery and Google Earth. Wildfires and agricultural uses were the top changes that Sam observed and interpreted in this position.
Sam is a long time resident in Bend, Oregon, where he grew-up, went to high school, started his college career, and currently lives with his family. He enjoys long distance running, cross-country skiing, mountaineering, and road cycling. Sam likes to compete in races ranging from 5km to ultra marathons. Other hobbies that Sam enjoys are studying road maps and hand drawing his own fictional road maps.