Mapping is a unique career, and Barbara Kaszuba loves every minute of it.
As the Jasper County Assessor's mapper, Kaszuba was delightfully surprised when she won the Mapper of the Year Award at the 28th Annual Missouri Mappers Conference in Port Arrowhead in Lake of the Ozarks in July 24-27. The conference is an annual event where mappers gather for workshops, guest speakers and special sessions. This year, Jasper County was represented well with Kaszuba, Connie Hoover, assessor and Carla Palmer, real estate supervisor.
“I was so surprised, so touched,” Kaszuba said. “They don't normally give the award to someone more than once.”
On the wall next to Kaszuba's desk in the Jasper County Courthouse hangs the same award from 1996, from when she was mapping for Newton County. In December 2002, she transitioned to the Jasper County office to work in the mapping department and with the Graphic Information System (GIS) which is the county's maps online. Her position is one of just 16 in the state of Missouri.
Before Kaszuba transitioned to Jasper County, the county had to outsource their mapping needs. Hoover said there are many advantages and conveniences to having an in-house mapper, like having up-to-date information and being able to save money. Plus, Kaszuba is the go-to person for any questions.
“We always have people coming in with questions,” Hoover said.
“She knows all the legalities and stays very busy,” Palmer said.
“Yes, swamped but I love it,” Kaszuba said with a smile.
In 2006, the mapping system went from pen and ink to digital. After Kaszuba processes new information, it loads overnight and when she comes in the next morning her updates are already visible online.
“She's the kind of person who you can go to with a question and get an answer,” Palmer said. “And if she doesn't have the answer she will do whatever it takes to get the answer. She goes above and beyond – she most certainly deserves the award.”
The assessor, real estate supervisor and mapper all work closely together – and it's a winning team for Jasper County.
“We all work well together and it is, it's a team,” Kaszuba said. “It's like a family … I love my job, I love this field. I get excited, and it's kind of geeky. People's reaction is usually 'oh, that's really fascinating,' or 'wow that sounds like the most boring job in the world.' It's different every day, and I love the challenge.”
Kaszuba, Joplin, has been mapping at the county level for 22 years, and before that she was in the surveying field. She has a son in Kansas City, and a daughter in Fort Scott, Kan., who has three beautiful children. Kaszuba said she is very proud of her family, and happy in her work.