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SHERIDAN — A small contingent from Sheridan is headed to the Data Center World conference in Orlando, Fla., in a first official initiative to market the town as a potential host location for a technical business.
Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey, Forward Sheridan Executive Director Jay Stender and Sheridan City Counselor Alex Lee will be staffing an informational booth to get Sheridan’s name mentioned among thousands of technical developers and gain professional contacts who can help Sheridan advance the technology-based pillar of the local economy.
The Data Center World conference is one of the largest technical conferences in the country, and combines technical education with vendor contact and peer networking opportunities for professionals focused on both technical arts and business strategy.
Joe Sharkey, a consultant from TMNG Global, gave Sheridan the “green light” to start recruiting small data centers after an extensive review of the city’s infrastructure and economic amenities approximately two months ago. Kinskey said achieving data center recruitment readiness has been an eight-year project for the city of Sheridan.
Now that the city has the endorsement of a leading technical consultant and is well on its way to having certified sites for business expansion, Sheridan’s presence at the nationwide technical conference represents a new tactic of economic development strategy for the community.
Kinskey said Sharkey identified the Data Center World conference as a “must go-to” for self introductions.
“We’re just trying to get our name out there, and get in front of some folks that do this kind of work,” he said.
The Wyoming Business Council has been attending the conference for several years to provide an informational booth aimed to promote the state of Wyoming, which is currently the number two state in the nation for data center locations.
Kinskey said the WBC invited Sheridan’s delegation to join them in the Wyoming booth but that would preclude marketing Sheridan individually. Kinskey, along with his local delegation, chose to establish a table at the conference dedicated exclusively to Sheridan.
Kinskey said out of approximately 100 exhibitors slated to be on the show room floor, only four are individual municipalities attempting to recruit data centers. Sheridan is one of the four.
“We’ll be right across the aisle from the Business Council with a 10-by-10 banner,” he said, adding the team will be utilizing the recently redesigned “WY Sheridan Works” logo and marketing campaign. In addition to promoting Sheridan’s shovel-ready business parks, the team will tout Sheridan’s quality of life, abundant electrical supply and low cost, fiber ring access and sales tax incentives and the fact Sheridan has no income or estate taxes.
Kinskey said it’s unlikely he will immediately convince a company to relocate or expand to Sheridan.
“All you want them to do is give Sheridan a look,” he said. “Sales is a long, slow slog.”
Several local entities contributed financial resources to alleviate the financial burden of the cost of the trip for the city of Sheridan. Powder River Energy Corporation and Montana-Dakota Utilities each contributed $1,000, respectively, and the North Main Association contributed an additional $1,800.
When the Data Center World concludes Tuesday, Stender and Lee will return to Sheridan. Kinskey will fly directly to Seattle to attend a conference centered on community colleges’ role in economic development.