Faces Behind the County: Tyler Hill
Our first employee is Tyler Hill. Tyler currently works as Project Development Specialist in the Public Works department. For the past five years (plus several more summers as a seasonal Parks and Rec employee), Tyler has shared his dedication and commitment to improving the county. His hard work has been recognized by County, state and national organizations. Tyler was recently voted president of the Northern Kentucky American Public Works Association (APWA) and vice president for Kentucky APWA. He was also selected as one of 32 AWPA Emerging Leaders across the nation.
His hard work isn't limited to the AWPA. He has also received emergency management training to help Boone County prepare and respond to emergencies and disasters. This past fall, Tyler and other members of the Kentucky Incident Management Team #1, attended intensive, hands-on disaster management training at Disaster City.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite part about working for Boone County is getting to serve and shape my community. I was born and reared here as the first son of a nurse and sheriff’s officer. Public service has always been in my blood despite how much I have attempted to fight that at times. As a child, I watched Boone County take shape. Every day I wake up excited to make my home a better place and take part in what is unfolding right in front of us.
Q: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
My day-to-day responsibilities are best described as that final line most people find in their job descriptions, “other tasks as assigned”. I create, lead and facilitate various programs for the county. My daily tasks generally focus on making the daily lives of employees safer and better. Facilitating training on everything from heavy equipment and CDL programs to Flagger Training and a laundry list of safety issues. I work on technology integrations for our work order system so that our feet on the street can more efficiently do their job. I work with other departments such as Parks, Risk Management and Emergency Management to ensure we are all ready, safe and properly trained. I also sit on committees that change and affect how and what we do so that we can better serve the community and be safer while doing it.
Q: How do you describe what you do to family and friends?
When I try to describe what I do to my friends and family, I also start by asking them something to the effect of… “You know those jobs at your workplace, the ones that weave in and out of everyone’s day, nobody knows who does it, nobody knows how it gets done, it’s just taken care of?” I’m that guy for Public Works. I’m the guy behind the scenes, making sure things are there when they are supposed to be there.
Q: How long have you worked for the County?
I have been with Public Works for 5 years. I also spent a number of summers in the mid to late 2000s working for the Parks in their Summer Programs when I would come home from college. Those summers and those people are still some of my favorites to this day.
Q: What are some things that residents often find surprising about your department’s services?
Most people don’t realize that Public Works professionals are First Responders. In 2003, President George W. Bush issued Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) officially recognizing public works as first responders. In 2019, the US Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 15, expressing support for the designation of October 28th as Honoring First Responders Day, where Public Works is specifically mentioned. The National Incident Management System lists Public Works alongside police, fire, and dispatch for All Hazards Emergency Management. I say all of that to say, Public Works is the silent army of public service. As a rule, during a large emergency, we are the first in and the last out. We make sure police, fire, and EMS can get where they need to go and then spend the weeks, months, and years after an event helping life get back to normal. We do all of this without the fanfare given to other professions.
Q: What’s your favorite story about working for the County?
I have grown up in and around the county, so I have no shortage of great stories. One of my favorites is a simple story that could very easily go unnoticed. When I was a young man working for the Parks Department, I remember that at the start of every summer David (Whitehouse), Mary Ann (Neltner) and Paul (Ankenbauer) made all the summer program leaders go to CPR and first aid training. Every year, like clockwork. I remember it feeling tedious. Well, I came to find out years later that repetition is what builds memory. When I was a young father, my beautiful daughter decided to eat one bite a little too large and choked. Because of the repeated training I was offered, I jumped to save her without even realizing what I had done. I still thank those three occasionally for making me sit there all those years ago because I’m sure I forgot to as a young man.
Q: What are some of your professional development accomplishments?
This year has been an amazing year for my professional development. I have enrolled at NKU to get my master’s degree. I completed a Leadership program through Thomas More. I applied for, was accepted to, and completed an Enhanced All Hazard Incident Management course through Texas A&M; I was one of many people from Kentucky to do so but the first from the state to represent Public Works. I have been elected the President of the Northern Kentucky APWA (American Public Works Association). I have also been elected the Vice President of the Kentucky Chapter of APWA. The one I might be the proudest of is that I was accepted into the APWA Emerging Leaders Academy. This academy is a rigorous, year-long program where I work together with Public Works professionals from around the United States and beyond. I was selected for the class of ’23-‘24 from a pool of hundreds of international Public Works professionals and the first ever from the state of Kentucky.
Q: Why is it important to you to be so involved in your field?
As I mentioned before, public service runs in my family. I never saw myself as the hero that police officers or nurses are, but I found my way to make my community a better place. I feel like by getting deeply involved, I can help grow what we are doing and bring more attention to the great things we are a part of. Ultimately, I want to help people and make Boone County a better place for everyone, and by diving deeper into Public Works, I can find more ways to do that for my community.
Q: What have been some of your biggest lessons learned during your emergency management deployments?
Some of the biggest and yet most simple takeaways in any emergency are teamwork and diversity. Working on the Kentucky Incident Management Team, I get to work with individuals from all different disciplines. It’s important to work with them, and it’s important to have all those different disciplines and bring those skills to the table.
Easily the largest takeaway from any event I have been a part of is the importance of Public Works professionals. Police, Fire and EMS will always be the people on the front page because they do spectacular things. They save a family from a burning building, rescue people off rooftops during a flood, and protect us from the people who mean to do us harm. But the importance of your Public Works happens in silence. We clear the roads of debris so the fire truck can get through, we unclog the waterway and maintain the roadsides so that the flood recedes, and we clear the snow so that EMS can get to the injured people. Public Works builds and maintains the means of travel that everyone uses every day and never thinks twice about.
On a more personal level, a lesson learned from these incidents is that the people going into the event aren’t the only heroes. Those of us who choose to go are supported by other amazing people. My daughter gets nervous when I go, so she writes me notes and sends me messages to keep my morale up. My mom, dad and stepparents step up at home in my absence. My boss, Rob Franxman, supports my training and willingness to help when I can. The value of the support from those around you makes all the difference when it comes to showing up.
Q: Where have you been deployed?
I have only been on the Kentucky Incident Management Team for about a year and a half. In that time, I have been deployed twice. Once to floods in Eastern Kentucky in the summer of 2022 and then again to the Rockcastle Train Derailment on Thanksgiving of 2023.
Q: What was that like being away from home over Thanksgiving?
Being away from home and family on Thanksgiving was tough, I’m not going to lie. But you know what’s worse? Getting emergency evacuated from your home the night before Thanksgiving, possibly not having anywhere to go, not knowing what comes next. I believe that one of the greatest deeds a person can do is help someone in their darkest hour, knowing that you want nothing from them in return. I love helping people and this was an amazing opportunity to help people who truly needed a hand. As always, my support amazing support system helped me through. My daughter wrote me a note and slid it into my pocket as I ran out the door with strict instructions not to open it until Thanksgiving morning. I found it that morning and read it. It said she loved me and hoped I was safe. It absolutely meant the world to me at that moment.
Have a County employee you'd like to recognize? Email Elaine at email@example.com.