2019 40 Under 40: Sumerset Ellis

Sept. 13, 2019
Sumerset Ellis, MSGIS, GIS Asset Administrator, Utah Transit Authority (UTA)
  • One word to describe yourself: Industrious
  • Alma Mater: Louisiana State University, University of Utah 
  • Favorite hobby(s): Entertaining, mothering, classic Nintendo and laundry 
  • Fun fact about yourself: I won the “Eats the Most” award at summer camp.  
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent (and why): In UTA’s system, my favorite station is Salt Lake Central. You can connect to all modes and the sheer size is remarkable.  
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent (and why): The St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans. I can’t get enough of the sounds, the seats, the views and exposed light bulbs.

Sumerset Ellis joined Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in 2017 after spending 12 years at the University of Utah, where she has impacted overall GIS efforts, data analytics and implementation of the Transit Asset Management (TAM) program.

Ellis has accomplished a variety of things in her short time at UTA. She helped design and initiate an open data portal that allows the public to download data related to key UTA KPIs. She geospatially identified UTA assets containing key information relating to the TAM program. Through georeferencing she created as-built drawings of rail infrastructure to better identify components. She successfully piloted a workable turn-by-turn navigation solution for bus drivers to minimize route deviations due to detours. She completed Phase 1 of a light-rail vehicle tracking software that tracks LRV location relative to the planned schedule. 

She also set up a property database that will include agreements, license documentation and other relevant information relative to UTA properties in UTA’s ArcGIS Online account. She provided constant support of UTA’s Service Delivery departments relating to map creating and software support. 

Ellis accomplished all of this while being the only GIS person at UTA, and only being able to devout 50 percent of her time to these projects. The other 50 percent of her time goes towards implementing UTA’s TAM program. 

“My current position at UTA feels like a random act of luck and good fortune. I have been working in and studying GIS for some time and after finishing graduate school, it was my desire to move into the public sector and focus my energy on our community and environmental awareness.”

“Since I have the opportunity to work with all departments at UTA, I get to personally experience each group’s inner workings and capabilities. I love being able to find GIS-based solutions to individual and group challenges.”

“The Salt Lake Valley has some of the worst air quality in the country and the opportunity to work in public transit is a dream. Helping to move our cities forward will forever be one of my greatest achievements.”