ENDOW, Gov. Matt Mead’s statewide task force to frame and identify avenues for economic diversity, toured Sheridan in early August. Our companies, such as Vacutech, L&H, Kennon Products and Flood Marketing, all were part of the tour and present a diverse and growing economic picture that was a surprise to many on the ENDOW team.
Rosie Berger and Jesus Rios are part of the ENDOW team and were responsible for the tour. We live in one of the more balanced economic pictures, which over time brings a more sustainable community — slightly buffered from the whims of energy. ENDOW heard issues such as workforce housing and training. Sheridan as a region is often used, in economic and community success, as the template to follow. This is due to responsible civic leadership, a giving community, a progressive community college and cooperative entities.
One of our avenues of success is the effective use of state funds. Monies from the Wyoming Business Council are part of North Main Street, the Hi-Tech Park, WYO Theater and Airport Business Park. The impact of the interstate exchange is a foundation for development and the initiator of growth on the north side of Sheridan. Kudos to the city, county and Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority for their leadership in seeking and receiving monies and, more importantly in today’s economy, using the money productively.
Some discussions are floating around staff changes at government and community entities. The ability to change to better working conditions is a blessing — that means the talents have marketability. Secondly, having the ambition to explore and do more things is the mark of good long-term skills. This is far superior to a situation where work environment stifles ambition and does not build marketable skills. As an example, Cheyenne will benefit from Robert Briggs and the expertise he built while being part of the city of Sheridan planning office. Certainly the loss of Colin Betzler at the Sheridan Community Land Trust, Jay McGinnis at the YMCA and now Beth Holsinger at the Downtown Sheridan Association will create some voids in the short run, but their skills in team building will allow new energy and ideas in a setting that will embrace rather than fight. These changes support our perspective that Sheridan is rich in talent and a location where solid employees remain available.
Forward Sheridan is reaching out to our investors once again to evaluate and reframe our focus and efforts.
This effort is started. Currently, board members and staff are meeting with our local businesses and asking a series of questions.
Do we represent what they (investors) expect? How do we report or publish to reach our community? And most importantly, are we doing what is expected? To date, the results are starting to be collected and Forward Sheridan will report in a newsletter.
In addition, Chairman Aaron Sopko has driven an immediate change in Forward Sheridan operations and we provide board updates weekly as brief summaries.
Jay Stender is the executive director of Forward Sheridan.