Gail A. Krmenec

M.S. Geography, 1986

Gail A. KrmenecMs. Gail Krmenec graduated with an M.S. from the NIU Department of Geography in 1986. She began her career as a freelance cartographer for Rand McNally where she designed and produced maps of individual U.S. states and Canadian provinces for the Young Student Encyclopedia set. She also worked as a cartographer for Nystrom, a leading publisher of maps, globes, and atlases for students from kindergarten through college.

In 1988, Ms. Krmenec began a career as a geographer with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. In this role, she provides professional support in the geographic aspects of the Decennial Censuses and ongoing survey operations interacting with city leaders, urban planners, and development officials in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana to ensure housing unit and population counts are accurate.

She has served as Geographic Coordinator and Assistant Regional Census Manager for the last two decennial censuses, planning and executing multiple concurrent projects and programs with rigid deadlines to support this constitutionally-mandated activity. Her direct responsibilities in the 2010 census included leading a decentralized team of approximately 1,650 office staff and 12,000 field staff to complete the census and managing a budget in excess of $27 million. During her tenure with the Census Bureau, she twice took a leadership position running the Combined Federal Campaign program in the Chicago area (an annual fundraising drive that provides federal employees an opportunity to donate to non-profit organizations). The campaigns raised $2 million and $4.3 million respectively in charitable funds.

The professional geography field has acknowledged Ms. Krmenec’s work. She was elected on the Illinois Geographic Information System Association Board of Directors from 1998 – 2002; serving as President from 2000 – 2001. In 2003, Ms. Krmenec won the Bronze Medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce for her professional contributions.

Ms. Krmenec advocates for and supports NIU students, too. More than a half dozen graduates with Bachelor or Master’s degrees in Geography have gotten their first professional experience working under her tutelage in the Bureau of Census. In 2001, she and her husband initiated and created the William Morris Davis scholarship (honoring the founding father of North American geography). The foundation encourages graduate students to conduct advanced research in geography and supports students who demonstrate financial need.

As an active contributor to her community, Ms. Krmenec volunteers her time in activities such as career guidance workshops and participates in fundraising events such as the DeKalb Garden Walk.