New land planner has GIS experience; looks to streamline processes



Big Horn County Land Planner Joy Hill and her husband Larry and their son moved to Big Horn County last August and nearly a year later the perfect job opened up for her.

Hill said they moved to the area to be near Larry’s parents in Worland. He is employed with Georgia-Pacific. She had taken time off to raise their 15-month-old son, Wyatt

When the county land planning position opened earlier this year with Jim Waller moving to Johnson County, Hill said she felt she had the perfect GIS skill set for the position. She began her duties June 11.

Hill said she has a lot of experience in GIS for that part of the land planner duties but not much experience on the land planning end, but acknowledges a capable staff in Nick Wilson and Stefanie Padilla. “It won’t take long to get up to speed,” she said.

She said she will be active in state and national organizations with plans to attend the Western Planners Conference in Billings in August and a national GIS conference in Denver in September.


Hill graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania University in environmental studies and biology. She earned her master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in geology. She worked in GIS in Pennsylvania for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the Bureau of State Parks. She also worked for the Byron Fire Protection District in Illinois in training firefighters to use GIS.

She moved to Washington state and worked for eight years before the family moved to Wyoming last year.

“My first goal was to get our records in order and give the office a more professional image, more organized and welcome,” she said. She pushed for and got voice mail and a second line for the land planning office. “A voice mail system is important for our office because our people are in the field a lot and we want people to be able to reach us.”

In regard to services the county currently offers, Hill said there won’t be any changes anytime soon. She said within the next year she will be looking at adding some services if staffing and funding allow.

She said she would like to branch out and work with towns, other agencies and the schools.

She also wants to establish easier processes for residents to understand and follow, including processes for obtaining septic permits and applying for subdivisions.

The entire staff will be looking at current processes, identifying weaknesses and streamlining all processes, she said.

She said there is a lot of information on the walls at the land planning office, but added, “We need to do a better job of communication that information.”

Training will be another emphasis for Hill. She said she would like to provide training in a variety of skill sets including having Padilla trained in graphic design, which she said is important in documentation and mapping.

The staff is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., preferably by appointment since they can be out in the field during those hours. The main land planning number is 568-2424 and Hill’s direct line is 568-2407.