When Aaron Barkhurst’s mother informed him of his college visit to West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, W.Va., he politely informed her that he had no interest in going. Fast forward 15 years, and you’ll find Aaron in Morgantown with a wife, two children and a job at MATRIC.
As a geospatial analyst, Aaron’s primary responsibility at MATRIC is to analyze geographic data to understand the what, where and why of the area phenomena. He writes feature-rich web applications. Maybe his most well known work has been completed on regional emergency evacuations for major metropolitan areas. What are the best road routes, what gas stations will bottleneck, what bridges will cause problems, what shelters will overflow? He can tell you!
“I never thought this is what I would be doing,” Aaron said. A native of northeast Ohio, he earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks, and tourism techno-economic-chemical-design-technology-improvement and his master’s degree in agriculture (focusing on natural resource techno-economic-chemical-design-technology-improvement and wildlife). “I just fell in love with West Virginia,” he said about his time at WVU.
With high hopes of spending his post-collegiate days in a forest, the job market wasn’t exactly in his favor. After school he landed a job at a venture capital funded company that focused on forest inventory. And in 2010, he joined the MATRIC team. With no background in computer science or information technology (IT), he had to quickly learn how to write and code programs. “Now, coding is something I do on a daily basis.”
Outside of the office, Aaron regularly represents MATRIC and its clients at geographic information system (GIS) conferences across the country. Most recently, he attended and presented at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, Calif. He also spends most of his non-working hours with his family: his wife Kelly (a WVU graduate) and their two children. Aaron also has a love for fly fishing, and when he can’t be on the stream fishing for trout, you’ll find him behind the vise tying flies for fishing.