Whenever a retiree walks out the door, a library of knowledge walks out, too.
Fortunately for the Billings Field Office, one retiree has come back as a volunteer, bringing with him the wealth of knowledge and experience that he gained during a long career with the BLM.
Ken Hanify retired in 2003 after 42 years of federal service. Three years ago, he started volunteering for the Billings Field Office, conducting abandoned mineral compliance checks -- one of his responsibilities before he retired. Ken’s knowledge of the area is impressive and his recollection of well locations is phenomenal. His ability to find well locations has greatly decreased our search time – time that can be applied to training.
“It’s a bit intimidating to follow a legend like Ken, but I also have the opportunity to learn from him while in the field,” said Melissa Half, natural resource specialist in the Billings Field Office.
While Ken was employed with the BLM he also established his credibility with grazing operators and mineral lease holders. Those positive relationships carry through in his role as a volunteer.
“It’s sort of comical when Ken comes into the Billings Field Office and there are various specialists with a list of questions for him, mainly related to past projects that Ken was involved in,” added Half.
Ken started his career as a biology and physics teacher with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He later worked with the Youth Conservation Corps program with the BLM, and retired as a natural resource specialist. He now contributes about 40 hours a year, helping with compliance checks and passing on institutional knowledge.