Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - by Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications
Visitors to Whitfield County’s new Rocky Face Ridge Park that officially opened July 25 may not know it, but the facility located off Crow Valley Road is there thanks in part to several years of behind-the-scenes help from veteran county employee Jess Hansen.
“Jess has worked tirelessly since at least 2016 on the conceptual development and design of Rocky Face Ridge Park,” Whitfield County Engineer Kent Benson said. “Especially notable are his efforts on the facilities and appearance of the park entrance, acquisition of grants to help fund park improvements and his work on design of the trail system. Jess put in many hours of work on the development of the park which are little known, but much appreciated.”
Mr. Benson successfully nominated Mr. Hansen as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for June, and the two men attended the Aug. 8 meeting of the county commission, where Chairman Jevin Jensen presented Mr. Hansen with a certificate.
Aside from the park, Mr. Hansen has worked for Whitfield County for almost 20 years, during which time he has created the GIS system used by the public, most county departments, 911 and first responders, Mr. Benson said. Mr. Hansen also led the county-wide re-addressing project in 2007-08.
Asked to rate Mr. Hansen’s accomplishments with the county, Mr. Benson said creation and continual improvement of the GIS system would be at the top of his list.
“GIS has become such an indispensable tool,” Mr. Benson said, “that it has become difficult to remember how we operated without it.”
To allow county residents to learn a little more about him, Mr. Hansen filled out the following questionnaire.
Job title: GIS Manager
Time with the county: 18 years
My current role as a county employee: GIS maintains all of the GIS data with the exception of Stormwater. I have one part-time employee, and together we maintain 40,000 parcels, 36,000 addresses and 2,600 different roads, along with more than 100 other GIS data layers. I maintain the County’s GIS website that has been active since 2005, which generates approximately 8,000 parcel maps per day.
What do you like the most about your department, team, or role? I could not ask for a better group of people to work with. They are all professional and hard working. What I like best about my role is that there is a real need for the products and services that I provide and that they are appreciated by those who use them.
Most successful project you and your team completed? I would have to say the creation and implementation of the GIS as a whole.
Favorite Whitfield County restaurant or activity: Cyra’s restaurant and Rocky Face Ridge Park.