March Alumni of the Month: Ghermay Araya
Meet Ghermay Araya, our March Alumni of the Month! Ghermay graduated from our deparment with a Bachelor's degree in GIS in 1994. Ghermay is the founder and CEO of New Light Technologies, Inc. (NLT) - a Washington, DC based Information Technology Products and Services Company (est. 2001). Read on for more background on Ghermay, as well as what advice he has for current students!
Ghermay has over 25 years of experience leading and implementing GIS and IT data and application development projects. He heads a dynamic team of professionals involved in the full-life-cycle of technology projects from big data analytics to public safety systems. Throughout the years, Ghermay has consistently used his deep background in GIS and a practical management style to solve real-world business problems for small and large clients alike, leading to innovative and lasting solutions. He currently manages teams deployed across both private and public sector customers including at the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce and Eastern States as well as private companies in the Utilities, Civil Engineering, Emergency Management and Public Safety sectors.
Ghermay is a consummate business development strategist and information technology consultant with a passion for organizing and leading teams to build sustainable technology solutions. In addition to operational management, providing high level guidance, and financing, Ghermay's most important role is to encourage and provide the the NLT Teams with the entrepreneurial space and nurturing they need to build a world-class and scale-able solutions.
Utilizing lean business development and management strategies, Ghermay is leading several product development teams to fruition based on a hybrid development and consulting strategy for bringing customer-proven products to market. This is a strategy borne out of more then two and a half decades of field experience and education at the the Harvard Business School and the University of Maryland.
Ghermay grew up in Washington, DC area and is originally from Eritrea; immigrating to the US as a refugee child- fleeing the Ethiopian invasion in the 1970s. Ghermay graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park Department of Geography with a focus on Geographic Information Systems in 1994. Ghermay attended elementary and junior high school in Washington, DC and High School at Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
Currently he spends the balance of his days helping to raise with his wife two girls and two boys in elementary school and spending any spare time as a long-distance runner and playing in bands whenever he can. Ghermay is also currently preparing for his fifth Marine Corps Marathon.
When we asked Ghermay what recommendations he has for current students, he said...
"I would recommend that graduating students make a strategic plan for themselves that includes what they want to be doing in the future (perhaps 5 to 10 years out) in their personal lives and includes their GEOG/GIS/ENSP major as path that will allow them to stand-out in the crowd when it comes to job and business opportunities. Perhaps continue to take part-time graduate courses in a technical/IT area of Geography while gaining professional experience. If they are inclined to start a business, I recommend incorporating their Geo-spatial background into their offerings as it will be a great differentiation and value-add that will attract customers."
Thank you so much for taking the time to give our students advice. We're so thrilled to have such talented and successful alumni give back their time and expertise to our department!