MnCCC Spotlight: Jared Baloun

MnCCC Spotlight Jared Baloun, Jackson County GIS

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Crookston, MN, and lived there until the age of 10.  Both of my parents were from the Jackson and Lakefield, MN, area and decided they wanted to move back to the home country.  After leaving Crookston, my parents, two brothers and I (I am the oldest) moved to Windom, MN.  I graduated from Windom Area High School.  After high school I attended University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.  I tried computer science, history, psychology and geography classes in the first few semesters.  Geography really peeked my interest, and I especially liked urban and community development (urban planning).  My aspirations after college were to become an urban planner.  But things changed and I started to looking at what jobs I can obtain with a degree in Geography.  I found GIS or Geographic Information Systems.   I applied to South Eastern Council of Government in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where I worked for two and half years.  Having met my significant other who was also from Windom, we both decided that we would try to obtain jobs near Windom.  Abby and I have been together for almost 14 years and have two beautiful daughters (12 and 9 years old) and one rambunctious son (5 years old).   Abby was driving to school for the day at MNSU when she heard an advertisement on the local radio for a GIS job in Jackson County.  I applied and received the job, which at that time was only a one-year temporary position to digitize County Ditch information.  Close to the end of the year, I was able to secure a full-time permanent job doing GIS at Jackson County Public Works.  I have been here for almost 13 years now.

What was your first job?

My first job was at the age of 11 and worked for a local farmer rock picking over the summer.  My first GIS job was at Southeastern Council of Governments in Sioux Falls, SD. 

What is your role with Jackson county?

I am a GIS Technician that works in the Jackson County Public Works Department.  I am a one man show as far as GIS goes in the county.  My work duties include but not limited to: e911 addressing, property drawing and survey checks, web application development, basically everything GIS that goes on in the county.  I have also obtained MNDOT Road Construction Certifications allowing me to do road materials testing.  

What interests you about MnCCC?

The PIUG group within MNCCC is an awesome group.  Members are able to make decisions that affect the state as a whole.  It is also beneficial to have both GIS and Assessors together to discuss common issues we both may be having and coming up with a solution, while also getting a better understanding of what each group is going through and needs.

What is something on your bucket list?

I would like to travel Europe and visit Germany and Ireland.