SHERIDAN — While Shawn Parker has only lived in Sheridan full-time for a little more than one year, he’s already made his mark.
The 33-year-old has been a force when it comes to marketing Sheridan as the go-to destination in the Rocky Mountain West.
He works as the executive director of Sheridan Travel & Tourism. He’s responsible for marketing, advertising and promoting the community’s hotels, businesses and events to regional, national and international markets. He also develops new travel and tourism programs that foster economic growth.
Plus, in his spare time, he serves as the president of the Critical Air Service Team and is charged with promoting local air service in Sheridan and Johnson counties.
“Shawn Parker is a very bright light promoting our region,” CAST member Bruce Garber said. “He has amazing connections and his drive to help our community is impressive. The Rolls Royce event and his help with the Critical Air Service Team are just a few examples of his dedicated hard work, most of which is completed behind the scenes without a lot of accolades.”
Parker often notes that his outsider perspective helps sell the community to others who don’t live here but could visit and spend dollars as tourists.
He’s originally from the small cottage community of Innisfil, Ontario, Canada. It’s about an hour north of Toronto.
He met his wife — who also works for STT — while traveling in Seoul, South Korea. She convinced him to visit Sheridan in 2011. His wife, Meghan Ahrens, has family roots in the area that date back to the early 1930s.
“After one weekend in the Bighorn Mountains, I was hooked on Wyoming, and we decided to make our home here,” Parker said.
Once the decision was made, Parker dove headfirst into community involvement.
He serves on the advisory board for the Whitney Center for the Arts; represents Sheridan on the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition; has volunteered with the HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation; and volunteers his photography expertise to a number of local events and businesses. He is also participating in the 2016 CiViC Leadership program.
“Volunteerism is the engine that drives this community — behind all of our incredible events are a team of workhorse volunteers that make things happen,” Parker said of why he got so involved. “I just want to do my part to continue making Sheridan the best place to live and work in the Mountain West.”
To that end, Parker describes himself as “maniacally motivated” in whatever he puts his mind to.
Those who work with him agree with the character sketch.
“It seems whenever I’m around Shawn he brings energy and creativity that will motivate any one person or group of people,” city of Sheridan Public Works Director Nic Bateson said. “His travels and experiences around the world have blessed him with innovative ideas that he is able to apply to almost every situation. The Sheridan community is extremely fortunate to experience Shawn’s drive toward life and new passion toward Sheridan. If you live in Sheridan I would be surprised if you have not run across Shawn Parker yet and the results that he produces with everything that he does.”