Map Specialist
Federal Flood Certification Corp./First Horizon Home Corp.

“I was trained as an engineer in Ethiopia. I graduated from Addis Ababa University, where I majored in building design and construction, completing a three-year program in engineering.

“When I came to the United States about 10 years ago, I took some CADD courses at Collin County Community College, where I was a member of Phi Kappa Theta student honor society. While in school, I found a job as a CADD designer and detailer. Then I earned an associate degree in Construction Management from North Lake College. I’m also licensed as a professional inspector by the Texas Real Estate Commission and have International Code Council certifications as a building inspector and plan examiner.

“I started looking for work and applied for several jobs, but I got only a few interviews. By chance, I found the GIS classes at Brookhaven. I had been calling around about them because I thought this would give me more skills to add to my résumé.

“In my current job as a map specialist, I process a request from clients for flood determination on their property. I am using geospatial technology — using a survey, plan or tax map of the lot — to compare with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps by creating an aerial overlay of those images. This is a very powerful tool that determines whether a property is located in a designated potential flood zone area or not. Based on my analyses, I will prepare a certificate regarding the status of that particular property.

“Some day, I would like to combine my job skills in engineering, construction and CADD, added to the new geospatial technology skills I’m developing.”

In his job as an engineer in his native Ethiopia, Abdul Jebbar Ali worked on water supply, city water supply system and hydroelectric projects. He also conducted geotechnical investigations and visibility studies for major dams. He is working toward an associate degree in Geographic Information Systems at Brookhaven College.