Silverthorne public works director to retire after 33 years |

Silverthorne public works director to retire after 33 years

Bill Linfield is hoping to spend more time taking photos after he retires from the town of Silverthorne as the public works director in April.
Kailyn Lamb / |

In 1976, when Bill Linfield first came to Silverthorne, the town had been founded only nine years before. For the last 33 years, Linfield has built his career in the town as the first public works director, a position he’ll retire from on April 7.

When Linfield first started as the public works director in 1984, Silvethorne had a staff of 10 people and town hall was located at what is now the bus transfer station. At the time, Linfield said the town consisted of a few paved roads and a simple water and sewer system.

“It’s been fun to be part of the evolution of the town,” he said.

Linfield has been involved in the growth of Silverthorne for most of its 50-year history. He came to Summit County fresh out of engineering school from Colorado State University to work as a consultant for Silverthorne. Over the years he’s sat in on more than 1,700 works-session meetings with the town council, and worked with seven different town managers.

“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s had its challenges,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done some good stuff, which is very satisfying.”

Shortly after becoming the public works director, Linfield began working on a new town hall, which was built in 1986. Since then he’s helped to build the U.S. Forest Service building, the Silverthorne Pavilion, the recreation center and most recently, the new performing arts center for the Lake Dillon Theater Company.

For Linfield, the recreation center is the one he’s most proud of. It was built at the same time as the Forest Service building. Linfield said that they traveled to rec centers across the state to find a design that fit best, choosing a company that had designed the Delta Recreation Center and had previously worked with Silverthorne on the town hall’s construction.

“The rec center was really fun to be involved in the design of and constructing,” he said. “That’s probably the building I take the most pride in because, functionally, it’s really good.”

Linfield’s final project with the town is the performing arts complex. The interior of the building is nearing completion with finishing touches and final clean up. The landscape and an outdoor performance space will be completed in June.

For the last 20 years Linfield has been working with the public works department on a new workshop. The town recently approved plans for the Cottonwood Public Works Facility, which will be completed after Linfield’s retirement. He said that after all the work he’s put into the new facility, he’s sad to leave the project.

Linfield’s post-retirement plans are to stay in Summit. He and his wife, Sherry, met here and eventually raised their son and daughter here. Linfield sees retirement as an opportunity to spend more time on his photography. He added that he will offer photography workshops and that he’s always enjoyed taking the technical aspect of his hobby and breaking it down for people.

“That’s my passion, that’s what I love to do,” he said. “As an engineer, I’m a little bit of a geek.”

Linfield worked with film cameras until his first child was born. It wasn’t until his wife bought him a digital camera 15 years ago that he got back into taking photos. In those 15 years, Linfield has collected 750,000 images on four remote hard drives.

Working behind the camera he’s learned that technology isn’t the only thing that makes a good image. Observing your surroundings and how it can impact a photo’s subject are also key.

“The equipment is important, but it’s not going to help you take a good picture,” he said. “You think about (composition) until it’s ingrained in you.”

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