GEOG 469
Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Meet the Instructor


Welcome to GEOG 469!

Welcome to GEOG 469! My name is Ron Santini and I will be your instructor. I hope you find this semester to be challenging, rewarding, and fun. Though we will likely not communicate face-to-face, I am hoping to get to know each of you through our communications, discussion forums, e-mails, and telephone calls.

So, who am I? I am an instructor for the Penn State World Campus and come to the World Campus from a different path than your typical instructor. I worked for 30+ years in the environmental field, 18 with a major Southeastern United States energy utility. During my years at the utility, I was a project scientist and then a manager of a group of scientists and technicians responsible for the environmental assessment and monitoring of soil, surface water, and groundwater from utility discharges, waste ponds, ash basins, and landfills at fossil-, nuclear-, and hydroelectric-generating facilities. In addition, my team conducted environmental assessments for proposed overhead electric transmission lines, proposed generating facilities, and of contaminated legacy sites.

In 1994, I was part of an environmental exchange team that visited a nuclear-generating facility in Ukraine. The task of the team was to evaluate and make recommendations to the nuclear station management on how to improve station environmental protection programs.

I bring a unique online learning perspective to you. I was part of the first graduating class of the Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program offered through the Penn State World Campus. Having that under my belt, I enrolled in the online Master of Engineering in GIS program from the University of Colorado, Denver, and graduated in 2009. In addition, I hold an Master of Environmental Pollution Control degree, as well as a BS degree in biological health and an AAS. degree in business administration, all from Penn State. I am also a board-certified environmental professional, certified by the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals.

Geography 469 is a new course, and I am excited about teaching it and interacting with each of you. I developed the course from scratch, digging deep into my experience in the electric utility industry along with the experience of other professionals, to bring you an understanding of the challenges of siting electric utility infrastructure as well as exposing you to GIS. Through additional instruction in using GIS and then applying that GIS knowledge to a real-world overhead electric utility siting problem, thanks to the folks at Photo Science, Inc., I am hoping you come away with a basic understanding of GIS and a deeper understanding of the challenges we face in the future in meeting our energy needs.

Again, welcome to GEOG 469! I hope you find the course challenging, practical, and fun, and that you leave with a new skill set you can use while pursuing your degree and in your professional career.