City picks IT director Zack Thorington as next administrator

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On Tuesday, City of Powell officials selected Zack Thorington — the current IT director and longtime staffer — as Powell’s next city administrator.

“I’ve had a connection to the City of Powell for a long time,” Thorington said in an interview. “I’ve been moving toward this my whole life.”

Thorington said his intial goals as administrator will be to help the city maintain a balanced budget and continue providing utilities and other services at reasonable rates.

“I feel it’s my time to take the city into the next decade,” he said.

From an initial pool of about two dozen applicants, the city interviewed seven candidates over phone conferencing software to narrow it to four finalists, who had face-to-face interviews over the past week.

Mayor John Wetzel said the city received very strong candidates, and the decision for the hiring committee was not an easy one.

“Any one of the candidates would have made a good city administrator,” the mayor stated.

Thorington’s long experience with the City of Powell — which involved working with almost every city department in one capacity or another since the early 1990s — tipped the decision in his favor.

“In the end, Zack [Thorington’s] extensive knowledge of the city departments was the push over the top,” Wetzel said.

Thorington has worked in a number of capacities, he said, having done “a little of everything.”

He began working part-time in the Parks Department while getting his degree in mechanical engineering in the early 1990s.

After college, he started his career at a Cody engineering firm and worked on the city’s storm drain project. At the firm, he did engineering work on water infrastructure projects in Greybull and Basin, which he said gave him good experience for the Powell city administrator position.

“I had to work with the public a lot,” Thorington said.

After working a couple years at a local startup, he took a position as Powell’s building official.

Though he was never the city engineer, his degree gave him skills that allowed him to help the engineering department during a time with a lot of commercial and residential development.

“That was a booming time for the city. ... I got a lot of good, hands-on experience with development,” Thorington recalled.

Thorington moved into the IT department full-time around 2004, and a few years later he was promoted to the IT director position, where he’s been ever since.

During his time as IT director, he helped the city implement a $750,000 renovation of the Powell Police Department’s communications system. He called it a “humbling experience” and “a pretty proud moment of my life.”

Thorington’s family also has a history with the City of Powell: His mother, Annette, was finance director, and his father, Jay, worked as a dispatcher, first for the Powell Police Department and later Park County.

The city began recruiting a new city administrator late last year after the current administrator, Zane Logan, announced he’d be retiring in June. Logan was on the hiring committee, but didn’t take a large role in selecting his successor. He said the city made a good decision, selecting among some very strong candidates.

Logan will be working with Thorington over the next couple of months to help him transition into the new position.

“I expect him to grow into the position, and he’ll be a great asset to the staff,” Logan said.

The city interviewed two other local candidates in the final round, while the other candidate, from out of state, had strong local connections.

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