At Forward Sheridan, we often seek and receive input on pressing issues around our business community. As examples, employee recruitment, retention, business market recruitment, housing and cybersecurity are the norm in recent months. To stay focused, our FS board of directors annually conducts a “strategic planning” session just prior to July to address our leadership and priorities. First Interstate Bank hosted our planning session in May, which resulted in the following outputs:
• Aaron Sopko, as typical of our board leadership, is resigning as board chairman. Sopko has provide FS with his leadership and assistance while balancing his work responsibilities at ACT as well as several other boards on which he serves.
• Mark Law, who was vice chair, has agreed to ascend and will provide his time as chairman. We welcome Dave Hubert from First Interstate Bank to our executive team to join Anthony Tarver and Don Parrott. Our organization is set up with term limits, and we intentionally seek new members that bring expertise. An example is Keith Marcott from TriHydro, who is now on the board of directors and represents the engineering service sector.
• Our board agreed upon a budget and reaffirmed our rather direct mission — recruitment (primarily of markets), retention of our existing businesses through strengthening their business opportunities and improving sustainability by serving as a conduit for emerging issues to their business. The most apparent issue is cybersecurity. Sustainability is accelerating the discussion on workforce availability and housing. As a historical note, housing and workforce were part of the genesis of the FS formation in the early 2000s. Housing has many facets; we are going to focus on some community solutions to affordable opportunities via our communication with our companies.
FS was invited by The Sheridan Press to assist with its “20 Under 40” celebration scheduled for June 18. This is a great opportunity for all as we see the increasing influence of this group and it provides a key for strategies to address worker retention. A changed paradigm for workers is the community attributes, and our intention is to be aware and build on these attributes to strengthen Sheridan’s core population.
For our businesses to succeed, keeping this workforce population is key. We specifically see the tech environment being a continued growing population, and we are reaching a critical mass of both bodies and a diversity of skills, which was showcased during our Bitcoin/Blockchain tech seminar and sets the foundation for a tech environment. I see this often as the laptops are busy working at our coffee shops in town.
One important perspective about Sheridan is community engagement on many issues. June 14, Green House Living for Sheridan and Sheridan Veterans Affairs Medical Center skilled nursing home teams will host a small informational advocacy meeting at the Sheridan Memorial Hospital public meeting room on Gould Street. Dee Strauss and Keith Wilson will describe the pilot project proposed for Sheridan to provide a cottage assisted care environment for veterans.
Like many community projects, competition via the political world has ramped up, so it is valuable for our citizens and elected representatives to understand the business aspect benefits of the Sheridan proposal. This is the urgency issue — the Wyoming Veterans Commission, Department of Health and state facilities will be making their recommendations to the Legislature in October for a decision as to location. Business value proposition needs to be supported by advocacy. This is a great and efficient tie to our VA and bolsters our veteran care. Please feel free to come by June 14 at 3 p.m.
Jay Stender is the executive director of Forward Sheridan.