After 70 years headquartered in California, American firearms manufacturer Weatherby Inc. broke ground on a new home base here in early April.
There is a reason this world-famous company moved to Sheridan.
In front of distinguished guests including Gov. Matt Mead, the members of the Edward A. Whitney board, Sheridan College trustees and others, we acknowledged that great achievement is realized only through the efforts of many.
As in any endeavor, there are pivotal figures. Two such people in our community remain Edward A. Whitney and Tom Kinnison.
A century ago, Mr. Whitney gave a great gift to this community. Over the past decade, as Whitney Board president, Tom Kinnison has been a leader, along with the board, in bringing Mr. Whitney’s vision to life in ways he could never have imagined.
If you don’t know Tom, he is a local businessman who has served in public life for decades. He served briefly on the Sheridan City Council before moving on to decades-long service in the Legislature. He served as chairman of the influential appropriations committee.
Upon retiring from public life, he was appointed to lead the Whitney foundation, to which he dedicates many hours of service a week, all the while continuing as a full-time entrepreneur.
He is tireless — perhaps relentless — when he is working on a project that will benefit the Sheridan community.
Integral to local growth is our own Sheridan College, a direct beneficiary of Mr. Whitney’s will.
President Paul Young has performed admirably, along with the college board and staff, in building a new sense of purpose at Sheridan College.
In the past decade, Whitney gifts to the college have exceeded $70 million. Those gifts leveraged additional public and private contributions, bringing a staggering total of $121 million to our Sheridan facilities.
The college high-tech manufacturing programs have been a cornerstone of those efforts. To name just a few of the tangible results are two expansions of the Tech Center, the funding of additional faculty and the purchase of the most modern manufacturing equipment available.
You cannot build the businesses of tomorrow without committing today to training a qualified workforce. And you cannot attract companies like Weatherby without laying this kind of groundwork.
Tom Kinnison knows that, and it has driven his efforts behind the scenes — inspiring, convincing, cajoling, bargaining, pushing and providing the resources to move forward.
Weatherby’s relocation to Sheridan, and the creation of hundreds of other jobs, would not have been possible without Tom’s vision or the work of the Whitney Board, the college board, leadership and faculty.
When the governor, the talented staff of the Wyoming Business Council and other local stakeholders began talks with Weatherby about relocating to Wyoming, we had the foundation already in place in Sheridan.
Mr. Whitney would be proud. When you see Tom Kinnison, take a moment to thank him for his decades of commitment to our Sheridan community.
Sheridan is a community that values hard work, faith, family, country and the U.S. Constitution. It is a good fit for a great business like Weatherby. We offer a warm Wyoming welcome to the Weatherby family and employees — welcome to Sheridan, welcome home.
Dave Kinskey represents Wyoming Senate District 22, which consists of Johnson County and eastern Sheridan County. A businessperson and former mayor of Sheridan, Kinskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 751-6428.