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Happy ending

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Photo by Kim Dean/NLJ Karen and Jim Hutchinson are looking forward to spending more time together as well as seeing their children and grandchildren more.
KateLynn Slaamot, NLJ Reporter

Hutchinson’s BLM career comes to a close

Jim Hutchinson has been a staple at the Bureau of Land Management’s Newcastle field office for 27 years, and friends and co-workers honored his contributions when he retired on May 31 after serving the public for 33 years with the agency. Over the past eight years, he has been the assistant field manager for the Newcastle office.

Hutchinson was born in Huntington, West Virginia, but moved to southeast Wyoming with his family when he was only 15. He finished high school at Green River High School, and graduated in 1982 before going off to the University of Wyoming.

He graduated from UW in 1989 with a major in science, but did not start his career with the BLM until 1991. Hutchinson also spent time working in the oil fields, beginning in 1984 and running up until he took his first job at BLM.

He worked primarily with the oil and gas industry through inspection, witnessing procedures, production accountability and more.

During his years with the BLM, Hutchinson interacted a lot with the public, including landowners, he said.

“Those are the things I really enjoyed, was the interaction with the people,” Hutchinson said. He liked the stability of the BLM job, and noted the importance of maintaining relationships with the public.

He said his goal as a leader was always development, and he believed it was important to help his staff be their best and so they could be most effective in their jobs.

“To me, it’s always been about the people I work with. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important to me,” Hutchinson said.

Lucas Keeler, a petroleum engineer technician at the Newcastle office, said that he’s known Hutchinson for several years, although he’s only worked with him at the BLM for about five years.

“He was an amazing coworker and boss, so he wasn’t just your typical boss. He was also involved with everyday work,” Keeler said. “He wasn’t afraid to get down in the trenches with his employees or everybody that he oversaw. … He’s very respected, and he respected us.”

Chad Krause, field manager at the Newcastle office, has known Hutchinson since 2016 and has worked directly with him since October 2022. Krause said that three things stand out to him about Hutchinson: his integrity, commitment to public service and care for the people.

“He’s a fantastic human being. We miss him here, but we’re really grateful he’s still in the community,” Krause said.

Hutchinson said he is looking forward to more time with his wife, Karen, and their kids and grandkids. He’s also glad to have more time to socialize, and said he is excited to be involved in his community of faith and continue to explore the outdoors.

“I thoroughly enjoy hiking and outdoor activities,” he said.

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