SHERIDAN — Homer Scott Sr. is among the inaugural class of the newly formed Wyoming Business Hall of Fame. The award originates from a tripartite consensus of the University of Wyoming College of Business, the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Business Alliance.
Wyoming Business Council President Bob Jensen said the idea to recognize exemplary business professionals throughout the state started via Brent Hathaway, who was at the time serving as Dean of UW’s college of business. Hathaway reached out to the WBC and WBA, who created regional teams to identify potential honorees.
“We thought there should be a way we can tell the story of how business has grown up in Wyoming, the ethical nature of how businesses have done over the years, and how we can showcase those businesses,” Jensen said, adding he sees the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame as an opportunity to provide real world examples of successful, socially responsible entrepreneurs. “What better way than to exemplify people who have done that in their lives?”
Homer Scott Sr., born in 1904, grew up on a small farm near Lincoln, Neb. He earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Nebraska and entered the construction industry. He progressed from being a carpenter’s helper to vice president of a construction company that expanded during the years of World War II.
Scott used the earnings garnered from his construction career to purchase the first 3,000 acres of land that would become the Padlock Ranch near Dayton. Today, the same ranch is one of the largest privately owned ranches in the country and has received numerous accolades for land stewardship.
In 1968, Scott again diversified his investment by purchasing the controlling interest of the Bank of Commerce in Sheridan, known today as First Interstate Bank. Like the Padlock Ranch, the bank grew exponentially and today has 74 branches spanning three states.
Scott, along with his wife, established the Homer A. and Mildred S. Scott Foundation in 1982, which was activated in 1988. It provides financial support for youth-based and educational nonprofit organizations. Generally, donations from the foundation require a dollar-for-dollar match from the recipient agency to demonstrate a vested interest in the project. Existing grant recipients, which are vetted for integrity and purpose, include Sheridan’s WYO Theater, the Center for a Vital Community at Sheridan College, the Children’s Center and Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Bighorns.
“There was no question as to Mr. Scott’s contributions,” Wyoming Business Alliance President Bill Schilling said, adding the First Interstate Bank Foundation also serves communities in the three states where bank branches are located.
“Both Homer Scott Sr. and his family today are true stewards and trustees of Wyoming.” Schilling said.
Jensen emphasized the award is intended to recognize not only successful, but ethical businesses.
“His commitment to Wyoming and the Sheridan area was very obvious,” Jensen said. “Whether it was ranching, banking or enterprise, how he and his family and employees have conducted business is a great example for everyone of how business is done in Wyoming.”
Scott’s postmortem induction will be commemorated at a gala event Nov. 19th in conjunction with Governor Matt Mead’s annual business forum.
“A number of family members will be proudly attending Dad’s induction into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame in Cheyenne,” Homer “Scotty” Scott Jr., said in a written statement. “We will be representing our extended families and a vast legion of people, from all walks of life, who are an integral part of his lasting legacy.”
A plaque honoring Homer Scott Sr. will be permanently displayed in the atrium of the state’s college of business in Laramie. Another will be made available for display in the city of Sheridan, and a third will be presented to Scott’s family.
Other inductees into the inaugural class of the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame includes: James Cash Penny, the originator of J.C. Penny department stores; W. Edwards Deming, international business consultant; H.A. “Dave” True, oil entrepreneur, and Clarene Law, who established several hotels in Jackson.