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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Potter County Employee Earns Statewide Excellence Award

Potter County Today
A Potter County employee has received statewide honors for excellence. Will Hunt, Potter County Planning/GIS director, was chosen among his peers from the Pennsylvania GIS Professionals Association for this year’s Excellence in GIS Award. It was presented by association president Stacey Sekkes of Chester County. Geospatial Information Services is a technological specialty that has become an essential service for not only government agencies, but a growing number of businesses and service providers. It combines geography and map creation with aerial photography and other sources of information, data and images.

As one professional organization defines it, “GIS has unleashed the power of mapping. It allows users to visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. GIS benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS.” Title searchers/abstractors, real estate professionals, surveyors and other private-sector users have benefitted from Potter County’s GIS Department. Fees paid by those served by the department help to offset county expenses. GIS services are also critical to federal, state and local governments, and to county departments such as Emergency Services/911, Tax Assessment, Planning and others.

Hunt previously served as a GIS assistant in Tioga County. He succeeded Rudin Emborsky as director of GIS for Potter County. When long-time Planning Director Charlotte Dietrich retired earlier this year, Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover named Hunt to the dual role of planning/GIS director. Potter County Chief Assessor Jake Ostrom doubles as GIS/mapping coordinator. Also on staff is Deb Ostrom as administrative aide for planning/GIS. A separate position of GIS technician was established and the commissioners this week hired Coudersport native Charlie Tuttle, a recent graduate of Mansfield University, to fill it.

Hunt has distinguished himself in the GIS field. His leadership in assisting the Pennsylvania State Land Tax Fairness Coalition to create visual exhibits demonstrating the impact of state land ownership on local real estate tax bases earned Potter County an international award from the Environmental Systems Research Institute.