It is with great pleasure, that I have the opportunity to introduce you to the newest member of Agren’s development team. Recently we hired Jim Lyon as Agren’s Chief Software Engineer. The hiring of Jim was an opportunity Agren simply could not pass up. It has allowed Agren to accelerate their effort to develop the most useful and best water erosion prediction model in the world.
The new model, SoilCalculator, expands the research and development of models for distributed erosion modeling. SoilCalculator offers substantial scientific improvements over existing soil loss modeling tools. When finished, these efforts will make the concept of precision conservation a practical reality. Conservation practitioners will be able to quickly and easily target appropriate management practices to areas of the landscape that contribute the most significant sediment loads and evaluate which provide the most environmental benefit.
From 1998 through 2010 Jim worked at the University of Tennessee, for Dr. Daniel Yoder, as the lead developer for the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (Version 2) or what is commonly referred to as the RUSLE2 model. RUSLE2 is the premier model used by almost every federal and state agency for predicting water erosion. As lead developer, Jim worked closely with researchers, domain experts, and end users to ensure that RUSLE2 met the needs of a diverse set of users.
In 2010, Jim left the University of Tennessee and spent three years at Colorado State University (CSU) working on projects to convert major USDA environmental models and datasets into web services, transforming the way the agency does business and allowing the USDA to deliver these environmental models and datasets to a wider audience. Jim developed the Land Management Operations Database (LMOD), from initial requirements gathering through design and implementation. LMOD is intended to be the future sole source of land management information used by all current and future NRCS models. On the Cloud Services Innovation Platform (CSIP) project, Jim adapted RUSLE2, the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS), and several other models and their data into web services running in a hybrid cloud. The CSIP project won the 21st Century Achievement Award in 2012 through the Computerworld Honors Program.
Most recently, Jim spent a year at Amazon Web Services developing scalable web services and engineering applications for the cloud. It is the combination of Jim’s unique expertise and experience that makes him an integral part of the Agren staff. Jim says joining the Agren staff allows him to combine his passions for environmental modeling with his expertise in large-scale computation and scalable web services.
On a personal note, Jim still lives in the Seattle, Washington area exploring the Pacific Northwest with his wife Maureen and his three young boys.
Please join us in welcoming Jim to the Agren team!