One month into 2018 and already a pair of very important travelers have arrived in Sheridan. My wife and I welcomed twins Jackson and Maxwell into our lives Jan. 16, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the expansion of our family. Being a parent for the first time has heightened my focus and drawn my life’s priorities in black and white — family and community have always been the two things that matter most to me, but I am now perhaps even more keenly aware of how my actions affect those two aspects.

For months now, I’ve listened to people tell me that my life is about to change (for the better, of course), that I’ll probably never sleep again, that I need to slow down and enjoy my time at home and that work is about to become a secondary concern. I agree that my life has changed forever (and I couldn’t be happier), I don’t even remember what sleep feels like, and I am trying to appreciate every second of happiness with my new family.

But I don’t agree that my professional life needs to take a backseat to what’s going on at home — in fact, I feel more passionate than ever about my work, because what I do at Sheridan Travel & Tourism, and what I do for the community, will today and tomorrow impact my family.

I’m back in the saddle as the president of the Critical Air Service Team, and I’m looking forward to another year of growth and spectacular service driven by our partner, Denver Air Connection. Gov. Mead’s ENDOW Initiative recently cited improvements and expansion of Wyoming’s commercial air service as the state’s number one business priority, which will certainly shine a light on the work our volunteer air service group continues to do.

Working with Salvatore Brown, our film and digital production coordinator, we are expanding our film and production efforts with a “Sheridan Storytellers” monthly program, and we continue to work with the Wyoming Office of Tourism to recruit narrative, documentary and short film productions to our region. We continue to shape and develop our advertising campaigns in an effort to keep our media offerings current, evocative and effective, and we have stepped up efforts to attract conferences and conventions from across the nation so that we might offer individuals and organizations a glimpse at life in Sheridan.

There’s an energy in Sheridan that’s not typical of a blustery winter in Wyoming. Some of our legacy employers are growing and expanding (Kennon, Vacutech, Emit, etc.), while legendary family businesses are moving to Sheridan lock, stock and barrel (Weatherby Inc.). Ramaco Carbon is making bold moves, while Sportsman’s Warehouse and a number of other companies are about to add additional jobs to our community.

We had one of the best fall seasons for travel and tourism on record, and our winter attractions and activities continue to evolve and expand. And if you take a peek at our community calendar, you’ll see that there’s an event taking place nearly every week of the year.

We’re working harder than ever at Sheridan Travel & Tourism, because we understand that a strong, stable visitor economy is what so often drives interest in our community. Lifestyle is paramount for individuals and companies interested in one day relocating here, which in turn drives growth, which leads to jobs, revenue and opportunities for every individual who lives in Sheridan. And for me, that’s what it’s all about — I appreciate very much the opportunity to be part of the growth engine that will allow my kids to grow up in a community with unlimited options in their personal, professional and recreational lives.


Shawn Parker is the executive director of Sheridan Travel & Tourism.