Driving forward with new industry opportunities

Home|Opinion|Local Columnists|Driving forward with new industry opportunities

We continue, as an organization, to make a purposeful effort to reach out, usually one on one, with our investors and stakeholders. This outreach has several specific aspects. The first and foremost is to ask what their most pressing concerns are for day-to-day sustainability. This drives the question is our current mission focused on what they, the businesses, deem as important and valued. Secondly it is valuable to understand how they view the economic climate in Sheridan as it relates to business sustainability. A welcoming climate is appreciated. Our focus is on opening markets to enable higher and better sources of income, specifically for advanced manufacturing.

We use these business interactions to set the groundwork for our strategic planning and implementation. Forward Sheridan’s board includes primarily business leaders that can provide insights from their operations. One quick example that encompasses our community is the continued construction demand. This is very positive for suppliers and support infrastructure such as subcontractors/engineering. These are clear examples of continued investment in infrastructure for the future. For Forward Sheridan, we can use these ongoing projects as testimony around the commitment to economic diversity. This balance of sectors sets the standard in Wyoming.

The success of Kennon Products and their state of Wyoming financial commitment demonstrates that the Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority and Kennon prepared a competitive and compelling proposition that met the state of Wyoming economic development criteria. As state supported funding becomes more critical, the track record not only of projects built but the successful outcomes from the investment is essential to keep the momentum.

Workforce continues to be a concern. Recently in our discussions with two local manufacturing companies the concern is on finding qualified workforce; trained, hungry and ready to go. One CEO specifically stated that he is looking for the right attitude — they will train candidates. The desired position is to have demand for workforce rather than considering downsizing.

Some of the emphasis on housing seems, or at least for the moment, relaxing to manageable levels. This is not to say that affordable workforce housing is not an issue. Affordable housing is an issue as options are limited. Again, the focus by the Housing Task Force is making headway looking at code conflicts. This was a good event that was approved by the city of Sheridan. The housing team, specifically with valued input from builders and real estate sector members, are opening new avenues to look at mixed or missing middle housing options within Sheridan.

Forward Sheridan would like to acknowledge and congratulate Kristen Czaban on her WPA leadership that was announced in January. Secondly, Greta Knapp of Bank of the West was promoted to regional vice president working all the Bank of the West facilities in Wyoming. As the community gets primed for the FAB Women’s Conference celebrating women and their accomplishments, it is great to have good news to offer.

Another short byte. The Wyoming Legislature is proposing some block chain legislation. One bill is to evaluate the opportunities to use block chain technology within state records. Secondly, block chain technology was just announced to track Wyoming beef exports from Powell off shore. Forward Sheridan’s perspective is that we have block chain skills in Sheridan that are perched to enter this emerging market.


Jay Stender is the CEO of Forward Sheridan.


By |Feb. 8, 2019|

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