Lifetime Service Award - 2009

William McIlvain
William McIlvain

Bill McIlvain of Huntly, Montana retired in October 2008 after 48 years and 7 months of dedicated public service.  Forty-five years and 11 months of his federal career were with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  He retired from the position of Rangeland Program Leader, Montana State Office.  Over this period of time his experiences include Area Manager in Billings and Belle Fourche; Chief of Operations in Dillon; and Natural Resources Specialist, Range Conservationist, and Area Manager in Burley, among other assignments.  During his career, Bill accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about the lands, the resources, the public, his co-workers and the necessary workable processes.  He continually made special efforts to pass on his knowledge to supervisors, peers and subordinates through various means.  This included such efforts as initiating a monthly Rangeland Management Newsletter to the Montana/Dakota range staff and managers that provided information well beyond the range program.

He developed a range orientation package for the Miles City Field Office and conducted monitoring workshops to develop new employee specialists.  These leadership actions have been key throughout his federal service in furthering and supporting career development and informing the public and interest groups.  In addition to mentoring staff, Bill provided assistance to other agencies and to the public through workshops, training, orientation, updates and awareness contacts.  He is well known for his ability to manage conflicting interests and issues.  Bill has a positive way of interacting and is respected for his high integrity, honesty and ability to get the job done.

Bill is recognized as playing a major role in one of Montana’s successful accomplishments–referred to as “Monitoring For Success.”  This program was to improve land stewardship by teaching local citizens how to objectively measure the effects of grazing on rangelands, pastures, and forests.  Because of his expertise in rangeland management and commitment to natural resources, the program was enacted and endorsed by Montana Governor Racicot and seventeen  (17) other federal, state and private organizations.

More recently he played the lead role in developing, coordinating, and improving efficiency of the Montana/Dakotas rangeland work planning processes.  This resulted in Bill finding and identifying the capability to accomplish more for each dollar spent.  Also, Bill provided the means to initiate the implementation of the Healthy Lands Initiative program with the goal to restore habitat, enhance weed control and improve riparian areas. Other programs also benefited.

Bill’s dedication and continuity of service has resulted in him being recognized by various awards.  At the time of his retirement, he was recognized as “one of the most respected program leaders.”  His expertise and institutional history will be sorely missed.

The award was presented at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Billings, Montana on September 11, 2009.