Speaker Profiles

John Mencias, CEO, Ministry of Public Utilities, Information & Broadcasting

In addition to his role at the Ministry of Public Utilities, Information & Broadcasting, Mr. John Mencias is the founder and Chairman of Business Service Network (BSN). He has led and been directly involved in the planning and execution of most IT projects and has been the lead developer for most ecommerce applications developed by BSN. Mr. Mencias previously had an 11-year history at the Belize Electricity Ltd (BEL) in the areas of project management and control, production planning and operations, management information systems, strategic planning and budgeting, purchasing and inventory management, public relations, customer services and customer billing. He also spearheaded the implementation of the company’s first ever Enterprise Resource Planning system (Management Information system), in conjunction with the re-engineering of BEL’s key business processes. Mr. Mencias possesses a Masters Degree in Business Administration with specialization in Management and Information Technology from Monash University in Australia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering, with a specialization in Database Development, from the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.

Simon Thompson, Esri

Mr. Simon Thompson is the group lead for Esri’s commercial industry solutions. As the GIS leader, Esri’s Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used by the majority of retail leaders for everything from site analysis to logistics and merchandizing. Currently there are more than 1,000,000 users, in 350,000 organizations across the globe. Prior to joining Esri, Mr. Thompson held senior positions in enterprise GIS and IT companies. He is a widely published author and speaker whose interests range from the role of technology in society to global risk reduction and the changing dynamics of business.

Jill Urban-Karr, Stewart Global

Jill Urban-Karr is the Executive Vice President of Stewart Global Solutions, and is responsible for the daily operational management of SGS. Additionally, she is currently engaged in projects and development activities in Africa, the Middle East, the Caucuses and Eastern Europe. Ms. Urban-Karr is an e-Government project manager with a strong background in municipal processes for both the public and private business sectors. The gamut of her professional experiences include strategic planning, process analysis, needs assessment, and proposal development on numerous international projects. Ms. Urban-Karr has coordinated both multi-participant e-Government and Land Tenure/Land Administration projects throughout the United States, Eurasia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.  Most recently, Ms. Urban-Karr lead the team which developed the Land Policy/Land Law for Benin, is working on the land registration solution for Burkina Faso, is developing a public private partnership model for land registration in Kosovo and Romania and is conducting the assessment phase for land registration in Saudi Arabia.

Adam Pittman, Esri

Mr. Pittman has spent more than a decade working with the Solution Engineering and Technical Marketing groups at Esri, Inc. the developers of the ArcGIS product suite. His specialty as a solution strategist and technology spokesman has taken him around the world to promote ArcGIS as a platform for increasing effectiveness and efficiency in making sound and practical business decisions for the corporate and government sectors. In recent years, Adam has worked to develop national and global campaigns focused on promoting Esri product releases. Adam arrived at Esri in 1999 with a background in Environmental Consulting and Microbiology. For the past twelve years he has worked to develop and deliver technical demonstrations and solutions across a spectrum of industries domestically and internationally.

Sajit Thomas, Esri

Mr. Thomas joined ESRI in 1998 after earning a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Working at ESRI’s West Palm Beach office, he has gained more than thirteen years of experience with GIS, focused on the design and development of web and mobile applications. Mr. Thomas currently works as a Technical Architect on the Corporate Sales team and is responsible for designing and developing next generation applications and prototypes that demonstrate the capabilities of GIS. Mr. Thomas has been involved in building GIS applications for organizations like IBM, Disney, UPS and many State and Local government agencies.

Jan Meerman, Belize Tropical Forest Studies

Jan Meerman holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Ecology and specializes in environmental, biodiversity and natural resource topics. Particularly he has been active in areas such as information analysis, strategic planning, project design and project evaluation in Belize but also in Central America and the Caribbean. As an environmental consultant he has performed several Environmental Impact Assessments and Natural Resource Inventories as well as produced Management Plans. For Jan Meerman, data management is a critical component of nearly every assessment and planning effort. As such he has developed into one of the few GIS specialist in Belize that has contributed original datasets that are now publicly available. Important among these is the Central American Ecosystems Map: Belize of which the first version was published in 2001, followed by an update in 2004, The 2005 National Protected Areas Systems Analysis; Fire Risk Assessment; Survey of Land Degradation in Belize; and; Land Use Change Detection (Deforestation) for Belize. All of these shared data are shared following a standard data sharing protocol including metadata and terms of use.

Marion Cayetano, TBSL

Marion Cayetano is a highly respected leader in the field of GIS in Belize. With over 14 years of GIS experience, Mr. Cayetano has taught GIS in various sectors such as: education, agriculture, social development and information technology. Along with teaching experience he also has experience applying GIS to a broad range of projects. Mr. Cayetano holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy from the University of the West Indies, a Masters Degree in Rural Resource and Environmental Policy from the University of London and a Graduate Diploma in Management (Applied) from McGill University. He is co-founder of Galen University and has been integrally involved in the development of the university and its academic and research programs.

Eugene Ariola, Belize Natural Energy Limited

Mr. Eugene Ariola is a son of the soil, born and bred in Punta Gorda Town, Belize. He attained his primary thru tertiary education in Belize. Furthermore, he studied Oceanography in the School of Marine Sciences at La Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico. Subsequently, he worked as an Oceanographer at the Coastal Zone Management Institute from 1996-2004 where he developed his experience with geospatial technology. Since then he has worked with in the area of Freshwater Conservation at Programme for Belize. Mr. Ariola is currently employed as a Geotechnician within the Exploration Department of the Belize Natural Energy Limited. He continues to use the science of GIS and the software as a powerful tool to integrate / manage varied types of datasets, develop workflows, maps and visualizations that contribute to good management decisions.