Alex Zelenski
Clearview Geographic LLC, DeLand

What does your company do?

Clearview Geographic LLC is an environmental and technical systems firm. What exactly does that mean? And, what about GIS, how does that fit in? Don’t worry we get asked that a lot. To be brief we’re scientists who really care about the health of our planet, ecosystems, and wildlife that also know how to work in the practical world of business technologies. A fun way to think of us is sort of as a mix between the IT professionals you would envision working on the computer systems in the 1999 film The Matrix mixed with that little fuzzy bear from Dr. Suess’ The Lorax.

What is your background and how did you get into the business?

Growing up, I was the type of kid that wanted to be a celebrity chef astronaut and have PhDs in mathematics, engineering, and art. Well, not those specific examples but I think you get the point. I studied Environmental Science and Geography at Stetson University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2016. Prior to founding Clearview Geographic I had several professional roles and was very passionate about my wide range of hobbies. My “aha” moment came while I was working with a land development company, literally obsessing about what geographic information systems (GIS) technology was doing for the group and, more importantly, what it could do as the organization grew. After spending a few months trying to gain internal support and seemingly hitting every brick wall I could find with what felt like a “Stay in your lane” kind of response, I could not help feeling “well this is my lane!”

What sets your company apart from others?

I would say our best strengths are probably our agility, ability to simplify what is seemingly too complex to tackle, and drive for growth. We want each and every one of our clients to walk away from our service thinking, “How did I do this before I had Clearview Geographic’s help?”

What are your biggest challenges and how are you addressing them?

One of our biggest challenges is making sure we maintain the quality of service that we are known for while continuing to grow in new and exciting directions. We are meeting this challenge with a growing team of dedicated professional staff and fostering growth with our innovative internship program.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the challenge of working in an industry that not many people are familiar with, or at least that they are aware of. If you ask most people you meet what GIS is they will probably look at you like you have three heads. Afterall, what could those three letters stand for? As stated above, it stands for Geographic Information Systems and those three words are the foundation for a lot of decision making that occurs around the globe.

Most of us living in the developed world have been exposed to the various downstream products and integrations of a GIS without knowing that a GIS is situated somewhere in the development stack. Map apps that let you find the quickest route to work operate with a GIS helping determine the best possible route. Social media that has location and interest-based advertising have a GIS backbone. And, more relevant to the immediate Central Florida area and the environmental side of Clearview Geographic LLC, a lot of construction plans are ran through a GIS at some point in time — whether that be with the designing engineering firm or the regulatory agency that reviews it.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I will give three solid pieces of advice that I wish I took more seriously when I started down this path.

The number one thing that I can tell aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep trying. I know it sounds like the stereotypical answer to a question like this but if I had given up on the first “no” I received, I would not have founded the company and would not be where I am today. In the beginning entrepreneurship is ripe will thousands of negatives. Hang in there!

The second piece of advice is to make sure you do not get stuck in an area that does not work for you. Keep your greater goals in mind and do not lose sight of them and adapt when things are not working.

The third is sort of close to the second point but keep learning! When you develop a business and build a brand, the only thing that really helps push things forward is learning what does and does not work and changing what does not work.