SHERIDAN — Gov. Matt Mead joined Weatherby President Adam Weatherby and a host of local representatives in breaking ground on the construction of Weatherby’s new manufacturing facility in Sheridan’s High-Tech Park Friday.

“As I look at today’s groundbreaking, I think of what it means in terms of jobs, diversity and economic development, and I’m just thrilled,” Mead said.

Mead thanked the Sheridan Economic and Education Development Authority, city of Sheridan, Sheridan County and the state Legislature for helping recruit Weatherby to Wyoming. He also thanked the local communities that assisted Sheridan in recruiting Weatherby.

“In Wyoming we can get very parochial — if it’s not our community, we don’t care about it. That was not the case with this project,” Mead said. “We had communities in this part of the state that stepped up and wanted to help, Johnson County certainly being one of them.”

Mead also congratulated Sheridan on demonstrating it was not only a good place to run a business, but it was also a good place to live.

“Sheridan: you sold yourselves,” Mead said.

Weatherby echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t think there is a place on the planet that we would rather be right now than Sheridan, Wyoming,” Weatherby said. “And it’s not just because of good taxes and this and that. If we were to start back over and it was the same as the other states, I think we would be right here in this community. It’s not about finances or money or all those different things; it’s about a place you feel you can call home.”

State Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan, said the emphasis Sheridan College has placed on offering training in modern manufacturing and technology by expanding its tech center, hiring more faculty and purchasing new manufacturing equipment helped lay the foundation for companies like Weatherby to move to Sheridan.

“You cannot build the businesses of tomorrow without committing today to training a qualified workforce,” Kinskey said.

Kinskey also highlighted the role Whitney Benefits, and Whitney board of directors member Tom Kinnison in particular, played in helping the college grow its manufacturing and technology training programs.

The 100,000-square-foot Weatherby building is expected to take about a year to complete. The company plans to begin manufacturing at the facility next spring.