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Todd Lewis: Embracing Systems Thinking

Updated: Jan 23

In this Pathfinder episode, we speak with Todd Lewis owner of Spatial DnA, a leading consulting firm in the Geospatial Industry. Todd joins us from his home in Ottawa, Ontario and shares how his childhood dream of being an engineer led to being involved in a diverse portfolio of projects from aviation to oil exploration to hydrographic surveys and more. A systems approach to project delivery and business management has made Todd one of the most sought after thinkers in the industry.

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As Todd has traveled along this career path, he has learned a few lessons that he shares with our Pathfinder community.

1) An education in engineering teaches you how to learn things really quickly by developing frameworks and systems for rapid development of new ideas.

2) Try to understand the financials of the business you work for and align your asks to senior managers around the trends in those financials.

3) Start your business based on what you are passionate about and find partners with similar values. Set goals and track them on a regular basis.


Passion - Todd's passion for the industry is rooted in applying system thinking into technology and business administration and focusing on how the two interact, relate and work with each other.

Action - He turned this passion into action by starting his company, Spatial DnA, applying systems thinking to many of industries. They grew by creating, refining and evolving systems in collaboration with his customers. Embracing FME as the engine for moving data around an organization was key. He recognized that effective communication, mentoring and coaching people was the key to success.

Tenacity - This achievement was not easy and he was tenacious in just getting started. Getting out of the way and knowing that you may not know what to do, what the next step is or how to do it but to just start. This philosophy goes into his consultations with customers and he is clear that his job is to learn faster than you because your time is precious. Keeping a healthy mindset and knowing that you will get through hard times has kept Todd pushing forward.

Humility - This journey has taught Todd that being a mentor is more about talking about approach to problems versus how to fix the problem. Humility is a core value of his organization and as a result staff are encouraged to not be afraid to ask for help and give the help wherever they can. Todd suggests that you become a natural networker and connect people with no expectation of anything coming back and the longer you do that more will come back to you.


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