Muncie Magazine Fall 2013 : Page 51

40 20 topper yle is the first person who comes to my mind when I think of someone in the trenches of his community, someone truly invested in his community — and not just as a participant, but as someone who creates opportunities for others to become involved and invested as well,” said 20 Under 40 nominator Suzanne Clem. Behind the beard and glasses is a community serving machine. Kyle Johnson is not only the Delaware County GIS coordinator, he donates his free time to ensure the area he calls home stays beautiful and safe. Johnson grew up in Warsaw. His mother was a secretary for the Warsaw school system, and his father an art teacher just up the road at Wawasee. Growing up among the lakes in north central Indiana, he spent a lot of time outdoors. It wasn’t his childhood ambition to fuse his love of the outdoors with his future profession, and tie it together with his passion for community service, but that’s exactly what happened. “I grew up on a lake in Northern Indiana. So, I was always kind of an outdoor kid. I was either on a bike, or in the woods, or just doing something outdoors,” Johnson explains. “I was exposed to computers early as well. For a rural elementary school, we had great access. Maybe those things subconsciously influenced me, but I don’t remember specifically having an “ah-ha” moment … things just kind of fell into place.” Johnson’s passion for hitting the bike trials and preserving the environment, pairs perfectly with his position as GIS coordinator. As such, Johnson combines aerial photos and satellite images to produce a comprehensive digital map of Muncie and Delaware County. His view from above allows for a special intimacy with the area, and the familiarity has given him a unique perspective that he makes use of both in community service and in his time spent outdoors. Through his work with Muncie Urban Forestry Board, “K JOHNSON Johnson knows the trees that line our streets and canopy our parks. Through his work on the White River Watershed Project he knows our waterways, and as an avid cyclist, he knows our roads and trails. A lot of what Johnson does for his community might pass by unnoticed, and in regard to keeping our waterways and roads clean, that’s a good thing. He has received certification as an Advanced Severe Weather Spotter, is an active member and former president of Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful, is a member of the Muncie Urban Forestry Board, the Muncie Brownfields Project, White River Watershed Project, Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development, the Red-tail Land Conservancy Board and is the Community Green Map coordinator. For every action, it is said, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Johnson gives so much of his time to serving his community, and to being a steward for the environment it’s fitting that the community give right back to him. The GIS coordinator has received the 2012 Delaware County Emergency Management Medal of Distinguished Service, the 2010 Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Public Service Award, 2008 ESRI Special Achievement in GIS Award, 2006 BSU NREM Alumni Association Award of Merit and the 2003 Indiana Geographic Information County Council Award. Johnson’s activism isn’t limited to his community, he brings it home, too. Kyle and his wife, Joy, are mulchers, baggers, and composters and pay attention to how they dispose of wastes that could have a negative effect on our waterways. And Johnson doesn’t just walk the walk, he rides it, too. His service includes his initiation of a Prairie Creek bike and hike trail system. The Machismo Cyclismo cycling club founder is also a member of Kirk’s (Bike Shop) Racing Team. — Fred Richman 51 / M Magazine Kyle

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