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Helper museum has new director

Jim Boyd

Sun Advocate associate editor

To say that the new director of Helper's Mining and Railroad Museum has the educational qualifications for the job is to omit a bunch of other qualifications he has amassed over the years.

Jim Boyd earned his BA degree in history at the University of Washington. However, he had a double major, so he also holds a BA in economics from the same institution.

He later picked up an Master's in Business Administration with an emphasis in economics from UW.

That's the beginning. In the years since that, Boyd has done consulting in Washington, D.C., and worked as a systems analyst as a computer instructor in Seattle.

He owned a coffee house in Seattle, but as espresso machines began sprouting like weeds all around him, he moved on. Boyd has also worked as a training manager for a chain of convenience stores for a few years.

While he was managing a motel in Torrey near Capitol Reef National Park, he got to know Paul Davis, who introduced him to Helper.

"I started visiting. Then in 2006 I went into the oil fields in Wyoming as a baker. Did I mention I was a baker in the Navy?" he explained. He used Helper as his base camp, commuting to Wyoming and roughly doubling the wages he had been making as a motel manager.

When the oil company pulled up stakes and moved to North Dakota, the commute would have been too long. He stayed in Helper and got the job as musem director.

Stephanie Fitzsimons, his predecessor, will be staying on as a volunteer. Boyd is grateful for that.

"She has done a great job here," he said. As he sees it, her flair for presentation and interpretation complements his own strong points. "I look at it as an inventory management task," he explained.

Boyd is enthusiastic about the "tremendous potential" he sees for the museum's role in community and economic development. "It is a place for families to come and spend some time together," he said.

Museum development will fit hand-in-glove with the city's overall goal of diverting drivers away from Highway 6 and onto Main Street.

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