Wisconsin Geospatial News

WLIA presidency full of challenges, but working with talented people made the job enjoyable


Ken Pabich, Director of Planning, Zoning & Land Information for Calumet County, completed his one-year term as President of the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) in March 2006. I recently spoke with Ken about his experiences as President, and where he thinks the association is heading in 2006 and beyond.

Ken, can you summarize some of the major accomplishments of WLIA over the past year?

In my view, the WLIA strategic plan was one of our most important accomplishments. It provided a great opportunity to look at what we are doing, and where we are going as an association. I thought it was a great process since it relied so heavily on the membership to develop the plan.

Also, the planning process provided some great ideas for us to implement long-term, but there were also some short-term ideas that we could address during the year.  Many of the ideas focused on better communication with the membership, which we implemented through the new WLIA web site, and also by providing more information in the WLIA Land Records Quarterly newsletter.

For you personally, what accomplishments are you most proud of?

When I first started, I challenged the board and membership to become more involved, and take ownership in the association. All of the work we accomplished over the year could not have been done without help from our members.   By far, I am most proud of the fact that we could all work together toward a common goal. Sure, not everyone agrees on every issue, but I think we made some great progress. 

I was also very honored by all of the time, effort and expertise that the past presidents provided throughout the year. During the entire strategic planning process they provided extra energy by participating in numerous conference calls and meetings. It’s this type of support that makes the work fun.

What were some of the more challenging aspects of your presidency?

The greatest challenge for me was trying to balance all the legislative issues. For several years, we’ve heard from the membership that we focus too much on legislation, and not enough on our core membership needs. Last year, we had a stretch for about a month where we had legislative alert after alert.

Working through the legislative process is a part of our association’s responsibilities, but with the Board’s help we tried to show the membership that we were involved in many different activities that benefit the association.

What issues do you see WLIA facing over the next year?

For 2006 and into 2007, we will be facing three big issues: the statewide GIS strategic plan, the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP) administrative rule update, and the state budget as it pertains to the WLIP. The board is also going to spend a lot of time trying to implement some of the ideas outlined in the strategic plan.  

On a personal note, what led to your interest in running for the WLIA presidency?
Actually, there were several reasons for running. First, I felt that I had a strong understanding of the association, and I felt I could provide something back to it. Second, my employer provided me with the necessary support to serve. Lastly, my family supported the idea as well. This position takes a tremendous amount of time away from both work and the family. So, when all of the ‘stars’ lined up, I decided to go for it!
What words of advice do you have for the incoming president, Fred Halfen?

Have fun and enjoy the ride! There is always so much work to be done, and it’s hard to meet the needs of everyone. If you get caught up in it, you can’t enjoy it. The first six months for me were a blur, but then I stood back and really started to enjoy the entire process. It was great to work with so many talented people across the state. The WLIA presidency will be something that I always remember.

Please join me in thanking Ken for his service to WLIA. You can contact him at (920) 849-2361 x263 or pabich.ken@co.calumet.wi.us.