Garfield County attracts experienced human resources director

July 28, 2014

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – An east coast attorney with 20 years of human resource (HR) management experience begins work for Garfield County as its human resources director September 8. Diane Hayes, JD, MBA, SPHR, is wrapping up her employment at Vermont Law School, where she has worked for seven years as director of human resources, and is packing to move across the country to Garfield County.

Garfield County was able to attract Hayes through the lure of Colorado’s climate and geography, and the county’s management philosophy.

“It has been my long-term dream to live in Colorado. I have visited the state for many years, and been struck by how happy people are there,” said Hayes. “I love the beauty, the orientation towards outdoor activity, the friendliness, the abundant sunshine, and specifically, the opportunities I see in Garfield County, based on what I know about it.”

Hayes says she is referring to growth potential throughout the county in population, business opportunities, tourism and other sectors, and in energy generation. “The potential is there for great things to happen for Garfield County, and I would love to be a part of that,” she added.

In her current role, Hayes oversees all human resources, legal compliance, and payroll activities for Vermont Law School, directing employee relations, policy interpretation, talent management, compensation and benefits, training and development, and diversity.

Hayes previously worked as Vice President of People & Culture at Grand Circle Travel Corporation in Boston, MA, where she says she applied for the position because with a title reflecting an emphasis on people and culture, she appreciated that they took a slightly different approach to human resources. She managed human resources at other New England companies, including as Senior Human Resources Manager at the Timberland, Co. in Stratham, NH and Manager and Vice President of Human Resources for Saucony, Inc., in Peabody, MA. In these capacities, she managed both domestic and international plants.

She also worked as a labor and employment attorney for one of New Hampshire’s largest law firms, Sheehan, Phinney, Bass and Green in Manchester, NH, and holds a master of business administration degree.

“Diane was the winner out of a competitive field,” said County Manager Andrew Gorgey, who led the search. “Employees are the county’s greatest asset. I am looking forward to working with Diane and believe she will make a substantial contribution to our organization and management team. Her attitude, philosophy, and experience are what we are looking for.”

Hayes says she will listen and observe first and develop plans for the Garfield County Human Resources Department after that.

“My hope and expectation coming freshly out of the interview process is that the commissioners, the county manager, and the directors are looking for a partner to come in and learn about people-related challenges and then help them develop programs and initiatives to build a strong cohesive team.

“I was really impressed by the values in the (county administration) mission statement,” she said.

Hayes isn’t all work and no fun though. Before she interviewed here, she had not been further west than Edwards, Colorado. She expected a smaller town and community than Glenwood Springs turned out to be. She is very interested in the stores, amenities and the cultural experience here and in all Garfield County communities. “I love downhill skiing, hiking, playing softball, travel, and read a good amount. I love reading,” she said. Hayes will not relocate alone, she will be moving here with her cat.