For 10 years Lloyd Thiel has thought about making a run at one of the Park County commissioner seats, and in 2018 he decided that his time had finally arrived.
“It’s pretty much a full-time job,” Thiel said, and with a family to raise, a ranch to run and a business to manage, he didn’t feel like he had the time to give the job its deserved attention.
Thiel runs about 100 head of cattle on his 500-acre ranch and has for 28 years managed his own construction firm.
With his three children now out on their own and his first grandchild born 18 months ago, Thiel said he’s finally reached a stage in his life where he can pursue government service, though.
“This is my very first ever political campaign,” Thiel said, but he has public service experience nevertheless.
Now retired, Thiel served as a volunteer firefighter, and he continues to be a reserve for the Powell department.
His service also includes six years on the Park County Predator Board, and 16 on the Bennett Butte Cemetery District Board, where he is currently president.
“When I started on the cemetery board we were dead broke,” Thiel said.
Within five years, however, the district had over $100,000 in reserves, Thiel said, adding “We have never taken our full mills,” during that time.
Calling himself “almost a native,” Thiel was born in Red Lodge, but moved to Clark when he was 8 years old.
He’s been there ever since.
One thing he said he wants people to know is, “I’m from Clark, but that doesn’t mean I’m running from Clark – I’m running for all of Park County.”
After marrying his high school sweetheart 33 years ago, Thiel got his diploma in diesel technology from the Wyoming Technical Institute and began his own excavating business.
That excavation business, Thiel Construction, has been going strong for 28 years, Thiel said.
He said that his work there gave him important insights that could prove useful as a commissioner.
“Our largest part of our budget is our Road and Bridge Department,” and he said his construction background would give him a leg up in those discussions.
“I can relate and I don’t need to be drawn a picture,” he said of understanding those projects.
As a contractor, Thiel said, “I have had to deal with a lot of the red tape from the feds and the state” while doing projects with the Wyoming State Parks Division, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service.
For many Park County residents, Thiel first came into the public eye when he called the commissioners’ attention to the dilapidated Beartooth Ranch near his home.
“I kind of halfway instigated” the ranch issue, Thiel said, though he insisted his coming forward about the property and seeking a commission seat were unrelated.
Instead, he said he was running because, “I don’t want to lose the Wyoming we have.
“This is better than most places to live, and I want it to stay that way.”