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wyoming economic - development

business images

Winning Strategy Efficient government lures new investment

Fueling New Opportunities

Energy-related suppliers stoke the economy

State of Wonder

Wyoming offers abundant arts, culture, natural beauty Sponsored by the Wyoming Business Council | 2012

wyoming business images

20 Workstyle Fueling New Opportunities


Energy-related suppliers stoke Wyoming economy

An Economic Gem


Coal, uranium lead Wyoming’s mining industry

Taking a Shine to Clouds




Wyoming offers perfect climate for data centers

Shots Heard Round the World


Firearms manufacturing thrives in Wyoming

Downhill All the Way


Wyoming’s ski slopes bring jobs to the state Table of Contents Continued on Page 5


On the Cover Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Photo by Antony Boshier

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Insight Overview




Business Climate












Economic Profile


Through the Lens


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wyoming business images

201 2 Edition , volum e 4 Content Director Bill McMeekin

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Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Jessica Walker Staff Writer Kevin Litwin


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Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier

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color imaging technician alison hunter Senior Integrated Media Manager Deshaun Goodrich


Winning Strategy

Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf

Efficient government lures new investment

Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan

Fueling New Opportunities

Energy-related suppliers stoke the economy

Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./business Development Scott Templeton Senior V.P./Agribusiness Publishing kim holmberg

State of Wonder


Wyoming offers abundant arts, culture, natural beauty

Find out what it’s like to live here and what makes the state such a special place to be.

V.P./business Development Charles Fitzgibbon V.P./external communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens V.P./travel publishing susan chappell

SpONSOred by the WyOmiNg buSiNeSS COuNCil | 2012

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Web project manager noy fongnaly Web Designer II richard stevens Web Development Lead Yamel Hall Web Developer I Nels noseworthy Web account manager lauren eubank Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto

Workstyle We spotlight the state’s most innovative companies.

Meet the people who set the pace for business innovation.

Creative Services Director Christina Carden Creative Technology Analyst Becca ary

Dig Deeper >>

Audience Development Director Deanna Nelson Distribution Director Gary Smith

Plug into the area with links to

Executive Secretary Kristy Duncan Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake

local websites and resources

Receptionist Linda Bishop

to give you a big picture of the region. Wyoming Business Images is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Wyoming Business Council. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at

Demographics >> A wealth of demographic and statistical information

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Unparalleled Beauty, Unrivaled Opportunity Wyoming makes it easy to work where you want to live


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you to be part of a crowd only when you want to be, and its residents enjoy freedom from high crime, the pressures of big cities, traffic jams, and noise and air pollution. The New West of Wyoming offers you the space to grow and thrive. Wyoming is often called the first state in Outdoor America. From the thrill-seeker to the nature lover, Wyoming has something to please everyone, including two spectacular national parks and a dozen state parks. From its broad high plains to its soaring mountains, from its storied frontier past to its role in the ancient histories of native peoples – the Western spirit thrives to this day. Discover why Wyoming is the ideal place to live and work.

business owners to enjoy higher earnings, the lack of an individual income tax contributes to the state’s lower cost of labor. Wyoming ranked No. 1 for business-friendly taxation on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index in 2012. Wyoming ranked No. 3 on that list in 2010 and 2011. The state ranked fourth on the 2011 Pollina Corporate Real Estate Top 10 Pro Business States list. For 2010, The Atlantic named Wyoming the Best Performing State Economy, while 24/7 Wall St. named it the Best Run State in America in 2010 and 2011 based on a comprehensive analysis of state financial management data. Wyoming’s quality of life allows

Wyoming offers a bounty of advantages for business relocation and expansion, unparalleled natural beauty and a quality of life that gives you the freedom to work where you want to live. Though it is a state of wide-open spaces, Wyoming boasts a superior transportation system, cutting-edge health providers, communities with the latest technological and communications infrastructure and renowned educational assets, including the University of Wyoming and a statewide network of community colleges. Among Wyoming’s key benefits is a highly advantageous tax structure. Wyoming does not have corporate, inventory or personal income taxes. Besides allowing

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Wyoming Economic Development Contacts Wyoming Business Council Cheyenne, WY (307) 777-2800 Big Horn County Economic Development Inc. Basin, WY (307) 568-3055 Big Horn Mountain Country Coalition Kaycee, WY (307) 738-2269 Campbell County Economic Development Corp. Gillette, WY (307) 307-686-2603 Carbon County Economic Development Commission Rawlins, WY (307) 324-3836 Casper Area Economic Development Alliance Casper, WY (307) 577-7011 Cheyenne LEADS Cheyenne, WY (307) 638-6000 Cokeville Development Corp. Cokeville, WY (307) 279-3227 Converse Area New Development Organization Douglas, WY (307) 358-2000

Forward Sheridan Sheridan, WY, (307) 673-8004 Glenrock Economic Development Corp. Glenrock, WY (307) 436-9294 x314 Goshen County Economic Development Torrington, WY, (307) 532-5162 Green River Futures Green River, WY (307) 875-4509 IDEA Inc. Riverton, WY (307) 856-0952 Town of LaBarge LaBarge, WY (307) 386-2676 Town of LaGrange LaGrange, WY (307) 834-2466 City of Lander Lander, WY (307) 332-2870 Laramie Economic Development Corp. Laramie, WY (307) 742-2212 LEADER Corp. Lander, WY (307) 332-5181 Lovell Inc. Lovell, WY (307) 548-6707

Town of Pinedale Pinedale, WY (307) 367-4136 Platte County Economic Development Wheatland, WY (307) 322-4232 Powell Valley Chamber Powell, WY (307) 754-3494 City of Rawlins Rawlins, WY (307) 321-0348 South Lincoln County Economic Development Corp. Diamondville, WY (307) 877-9781 Star Valley Chamber Afton, WY (307) 885-2759 Sweetwater Economic Development Association Rock Springs, WY (307) 352-6874 Thermopolis-Hot Springs County Economic Development Co. Thermopolis, WY (307) 864-2348 Uinta County Economic Development Commission Evanston, WY (307) 783-0378

Dubois Volunteers Inc. Dubois, WY (307) 455-2041

North East Wyoming Economic Development Coalition Gillette, WY (307) 686-3672

City of Evantson Evanston, WY (307) 783-6309

Northern Arapaho Economic Development Committee Arapaho, WY (307) 857-3868

Wind River Development Fund Fort Washakie, WY (307) 335-7330

Forward Cody Cody, WY (307) 587-3136

Pine Haven Economic Development Board Pine Haven, WY (307) 756-3279

Town of Wright Wright, WY (307) 464-1666

Washakie Development Association Worland, WY (307) 347-8900

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The Candyman Can in Casper Experience matters, and Don Stepp has plenty of that after making chocolates for more than half a century.

Cleaning Up in Sheridan A Colorado-based designer, manufacturer and installer of commercial vacuum systems has picked Sheridan for a new manufacturing site.

Since 1956, Don and his wife, Elma, have operated Donells Candies in Casper. Donells offers handmade tasty delights including a variety of candy canes, lollipops, fudge and popcorn. Donells Candies, now in its third generation, emphasizes quality with small production batches and combined candy-making experience of more than 100 years. The company’s chocolates, seasonal products and corporate gifts are available for sale online at

Vacutech’s 40,000-square-foot manufacturing operation at the Sheridan High Tech Business Park produces vacuum systems used in applications such as commercial car washes, house cleaning, industrial manufacturing, dental hygiene and commercial transit. The new operation employs roughly 35 people locally and is expected to deliver $3 million to $5 million annually into Sheridan’s economy.

University LEEDs the Way The University of Wyoming was established in 1886 in Laramie and it has enjoyed continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission since 1923. In addition to offering more than 190 areas of study through traditional and distance-learning opportunities, the university stands out in another way. Its business school has achieved what only three other business schools in the United States have, attaining the gold certification status in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system. It is the first state-funded higher education building in the state to achieve gold status. The business school project included a 112,000-square-foot addition to the original 53,000-square-foot business school built in 1960. The new business school complex includes a number of sustainability features. Ninety-five percent of the material from the old building was recycled to divert it from landfills, 10 percent of the new building is recycled content and 90 percent of stormwater is treated to remove at least 80 percent of suspended solids from the water.



A Successful Wager Located on the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Indian Reservation, the Wind River Casino has brought big revenues to the Northern Arapaho Tribe. The casino has an estimated annual impact of $90 million. This economic boon benefits members of both the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, which includes about 10,000 tribal members currently living on the reservation.

Preparing to Survive A military installation in southeastern Wyoming is helping prepare soldiers for the rigors of modern warfare. Camp Guernsey, established in 1939, covers 125 square miles. Camp Guernsey has a center for unmanned vehicles, a mock village to simulate urban combat, numerous parachute drop zones and weapons ranges that accommodate everything from small arms fire to full-scale bombing runs.

Wind River Casino features all the popular slot machine games, as well as the classic table games of Three Card Poker, Texas Hold ’Em and Black Jack. When gamers work up an appetite, Wind River has the Red Willow Restaurant and the Cee Nokuu CafÊ, both of which offer fine dining and convenient hours. Go to for more.

What makes Camp Guernsey particularly valuable as a training site for modern conflicts is its hilly terrain, which replicates the environments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Training Today to Power Tomorrow A facility geared to provide youth job training opportunities is scheduled to open in Riverton by 2013. The Fremont County Job Corps Training Center will train up to 300 students between the ages of 16 and 24. Programs will prepare students for jobs in the energy industry, including construction and diesel mechanics, office administration and facilities maintenance. The campus will be the largest vocational residential center in Wyoming. It will feature dorms, a cafeteria and a recreation center, as well as classroom and training buildings. This facility is federally funded and is created in partnership with several energy companies, which will donate equipment to ensure the most realistic training possible.

b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t


555 General Brees Rd. Laramie, WY 82070 (307) 742-4164



“Shovel ready� building sites available in our Airport Business Park

Finding Fun in Fossils Located on the site where Fossil Lake once sat 52 million years ago in southwest Wyoming, the Fossil Butte National Monument is now home to some of the world’s best preserved fossils.

Technology Taking Care of Nature

These fossils include a wide variety of plants, fish, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals. The area includes two hiking trails with trailside exhibits to learn about geology, fossils, wildlife and plants, as well as a scenic 7.5-mile drive that offers a more relaxed way to view Fossil Butte.

Natures Composites is a manufacturer of environmentally friendly fencing, decking, lumber and other building materials. Located in Torrington, Natures Composites makes products using recycled, high-density polyethylene reinforced with wheat straw cellulose. Its state-of-the-art production facility uses innovative manufacturing techniques to develop these composite products with the objectives of achieving environmental sustainability and optimal performance.

Additionally, local wildlife, including more than 100 species of birds, mammals, snakes and amphibians, is often seen.

Photo Courtesy of Arvid A ase

The company’s advanced manufacturing capabilities enable it to avoid using toxic chemicals and materials in its production. Natures Composites’ products include TerraFence™, a line of fencing products including privacy, ranch rail and ornamental styles, and TerraDeck™, a line of decking products to construct decks and hand railing. While it has made great progress in reducing its environmental impact, Natures Composites continues to strive for a zero-waste manufacturing process. In this pursuit, Natures Composites is pooling its own research and development resources with those of universities and nonprofit groups through mutually beneficial partnerships. Go to for more.

Devoted to Good Coffee From a Roman Catholic monastery nestled in the solitude of the Rocky Mountains in Powell, a small group of Carmelite monks produces small batches of premium coffee blends and teas as a form of manual labor. The products are sold around the world to help raise funds to build a new monastery. Mystic Monk Coffee offers a wide variety of coffee blends, including Pumpkin Spice, Jingle Bell Java and Tanzanian Peaberry, as well as teas including Black Tea, Green Tea, Fruit Tea and Herbal Tea. Mystic Monk also sells coffee sampler packs, coffee grinders and coffee presses. Find more at

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Business Climate

Winning Strategy Efficient government, encouraging policies bring business to Wyoming

Story by M.V. Greene Photography by Jeffrey S. Otto


ov. Matt Mead espouses a fundamental formula when it comes to doing business in Wyoming. “We try to encourage, not discourage, entrepreneurs and businesses because when they are doing well, everyone benefits,” Mead says. That’s kind of the bottom line to having a vibrant business climate, the governor says – creating an atmosphere where businesses will want to locate, expand and succeed.

Running in the Black Yet it helps, as well, when you lead a state that has no personal income tax, no corporate tax and no state debt. In 2011, Wyoming ended its fiscal year with a $437 million budget surplus. Mead also cites variables such as vibrant energy and agriculture

industries, along with a high livability quotient. “We are proud to contribute so much to America’s power needs and realize this benefits our economy as well. With the energy industry, we also have strong tourism and agriculture. These three strengths – energy, tourism and ag – mean we fund schools very well, do not have an income or corporate tax and, on top of that, we have about $14 billion in savings,” Mead says. Among national accolades, Wyoming ranked fourth on the Pollina Top Pro Business State rankings for 2011 and No. 1 on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index in 2012. Additionally, The Atlantic magazine named Wyoming the Best Performing State Economy for 2010 and the 24/7 Wall St. website ranked it Best Run State

in America in 2010 and 2011. The Pollina rankings, for instance, measure job retention and creation among states based on 32 factors controlled by state government, such as taxes, human resources, education, energy costs and infrastructure spending, offering a gauge of strength in economic development. Wyoming has ranked in the Pollina Top 10 since the study was established in 2004. Access to Levers of Government “I also believe that Wyoming has an inherent advantage on account of our small population. Individuals can access their government and meet with me and my staff, as well as the congressional delegation. In addition, our size allows us to be nimble – we have the ability to

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Upton Logistics Center

Providing Excellent Service for the Western United States

• 600-acre industrial park with rail access • 13,000-feet railroad track • Inexpensive three-phase power • Natural gas • Excellent geographical location • Transloading/ storage options • Unit train accessibility • Lease or purchase

Upton Logistics Center 121 W. Merino St. P.O. Box 255 Upton, WY 82730 (307) 468-2600



Wyoming’s Economy By the Numbers

The Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne.

563,626 2010 population, up 14.1% from 2000

change course quickly if we realize that state government needs to go in a new direction,” Mead says. Robert Jensen, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, credits an attitude among state and local leadership for creating conditions for a positive business climate. “They understand business and they understand what business means to a state. They do things that are business friendly. That doesn’t mean we skirt the rules or are easy on our regulation. At the same time, we do know that business is what drives everything. So there’s a good understanding of business, a good respect for it and

an enthusiasm for trying to help businesses of all kinds in the state,” Jensen says. Cooperation on Business Front Cooperation among local economic development organizations on business building also plays a significant role in Wyoming, Jensen says. Ultimately, that helps businesses to lower costs and efficiencies and productivity, he says. “We have a good team involved with trying to make it easy to do in Wyoming and helping to make business successful,” Jensen says.

$52,664 Median household income, 20th in the nation

91.8% Percentage of state’s adults to complete high school (highest in nation)

$38.2 Gross domestic product in billions (2010) Source: Wyoming State Government

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Fueling New Opportunities Energy-related suppliers stoke Wyoming economy

Story by Pamela Coyle • Photography by Brian McCord


yoming is energized. With one of the healthiest state economies in the country, vast energy resources and a growing renewable energy sector, Wyoming is attracting supplychain manufacturing investment and creating new opportunities for existing companies. A number of major projects are moving forward, and state economic development leaders say more are on the way. In Cheyenne, Midwestern Wyoming Inc., an oil and gas pipeline service company, began operations at the Swan Ranch Rail Park in fall 2011. Midwestern has a 55-acre site in the new park with a 60,000-square-foot pipe-coating plant and a 17,000-square-foot fabrication shop. Also in Cheyenne, a partnership between Gestamp Renewables, a Spanish company, and a subsidiary of Ohio-based Worthington Industries Inc. will build a



160,000-square-foot wind tower manufacturing facility, creating 150 jobs. Groundbreaking on the project, a potential $40 million capital investment, is expected in spring 2012. High Demand for Suppliers French-based Schlumberger Technology Corp., a technology services powerhouse for the oil drilling industry, is building a new central maintenance facility in Cheyenne to service customer operations in Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Construction will wrap in spring 2012 and the new operations base will employ 35 to 50 people in engineering and skilled technology jobs. “Schlumberger already has a significant presence in the states and regional offices in Denver,” says Randy Bruns, CEO of economic development agency Cheyenne LEADS. “This will greatly expand their physical

presence in this region.” Swan Ranch is proving fertile ground for energy-related companies, which typically move quickly when they want to expand, Bruns says. In August 2011, Bell Supply Co., a provider of specialty equipment for oil and gas players, opened a new showroom and 5-acre pipe yard in the new rail park. McJunkin Red Man, a Texas-based company, has a new regional distribution center east of Cheyenne and supplies products for refining, petrochemical, gas distribution, and oil and gas exploration industries, among others. At least half of the leads and inquiries coming to the Wyoming Business Council are energy and technology related, says Ben Avery, the council’s director of business and industry. “The number of inquiries we are getting from site selectors and from small businesses looking to

Bell Supply Co., supplier of specialty equipment for the oil and gas industry, opened a showroom and five-acre pipe yard in Cheyenne.

relocate from California and other states is higher than it’s ever been,” Avery says. “Many people call and want a ready site, including on rail which we have throughout the state.” meeting the demand Wyoming is hard at work on efforts to create new opportunities for existing suppliers. In August 2011, several dozen Wyoming companies met with representatives of General Electric Co.’s aviation and energy divisions to learn how to do business with the company, what products and services GE needs and what qualifications GE has to become a preferred supplier. As of October 2011, six of

the participating companies were in negotiations with GE, says Larry Stewart, director of Manufacturing-Works, which organized the event and provides technical assistance to Wyoming companies seeking to expand their capabilities. To its credit, GE brought along four success stories, representatives from smaller companies that already work with the heavy-hitter. “Stereotypically, people think ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a machine shop in a small town,’ but this event showed they can,” Stewart says. One sure sign of the event’s success: “We had breakout sessions in the afternoon,” Stewart says, “and no one left early.”

In Good Company Recent Wyoming accolades: •No. 1 on the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index in 2012 •No. 14 on Forbes 2011 list of Best States for Business •Named the Best Performing State Economy for 2010 by The Atlantic magazine •Named Best Run State in America in 2010 and 2011 by 24/7 Wall St. •No. 1 in coal production, coal reserves, uranium source, soda ash production and bentonite production Source: Wyoming Business Council

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p h o t o c o u r t e s y o f C a m ec o Re s o u r ce s



An Economic Gem

Coal, uranium lead Wyoming’s mining industry

Story by John Fuller


ining and minerals play a crucial role in Wyoming’s economy. The state is the nation’s leading producer of uranium, coal, cola, bentonite and soda ash – all important resources that are in demand worldwide. While development of these resources provides a major economic boost, state business and government leaders also recognize their role in being good stewards of the environment. Uranium Makes A Comeback Already the nation’s leading uranium producer, Wyoming expects to see a surge in uranium mining over the next decade. Worldwide construction of nuclear power plants may more than double in the next several years, and the United States still has more than 100 nuclear power plants in operation, powering one in five homes. Cameco Resources, which delivers about half of U.S. uranium production from its facility at Smith Ranch/Highland mine in Converse County and a smaller operation in western Nebraska, has plans to develop an adjacent site, Reynolds Ranch, and two additional sites, North Butte in Campbell County and Gas Hills, on the Fremont-Natrona county line, in the next few years. At least 10 other uranium mines being developed by other companies are in various stages of the state and federal permitting process. Once its new mining facilities are fully operational over the next six years, Cameco’s Wyoming production is expected to double to around 4 million pounds of uranium, says Ken Vaughn, Cameco’s corporate

and government relations representative. Cameco Resources, which is a subsidiary of Canadian-based Cameco Corp., recently moved its U.S. headquarters from Denver to Cheyenne to be closer to its principal mining activities in the state. Cameco has 215 employees and 50 fulltime contractors working in Wyoming. “Wyoming is very amenable to resource development and state officials and residents alike take their environmental responsibility very seriously – as do we,” Vaughn says. Wyoming: King of Coal Coal remains the mainstay source of U.S. electricity generation, and Wyoming is the nation’s largest producer of coal, providing 40 percent of the nation’s total production. Wyoming coal comes from four of the state’s 10 major coalfields. The Powder River Basin, located primarily in the northeast section of Wyoming, is the largest coal-producing field in the world. Wyoming coal is shipped to 35 states and is highly desirable because of its clean burning, low sulfur levels. Wyoming’s coal industry injects more than $1 billion in taxes and royalties into the state annually, revenues that fund schools, highways, University of Wyoming buildings, the School of Energy Resources and other state and local initiatives. Wyoming coal mines produced about 442 million tons of coal in 2010, up 2.4 percent from 2009 but down from a record 462 million tons in 2008. Growing demand and rising prices played a large part in the rebound of coal

Uranium Reserves By State Ore (million tons) for both $50 & $100/lb variety




New Mexico


Arizona, Colorado, Utah*




All Others+ * States aggregated to prevent individual mine disclosure statistics + Includes Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Cameco Resources delivers half of U.S. uranium production from its facility at Smith Ranch/Highland mine in Converse County.

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Brian McCord

production in the state, says Marion Loomis, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association. He adds that if seaport capacity can be expanded on the West Coast, Wyoming’s coal producers could also expand exports to Asian markets. “We are very optimistic about our future in the mining industry,” Loomis says. “Our state administration and legislature and the general public are very supportive of the mining industry. They all seem to recognize its value and its contribution to the state economy.” More than 6 million tons of bentonite is mined in Wyoming annually. Bentonite deposits in Wyoming make up more than 70 percent of the world’s known supply. Major uses include absorbents, animal feed, drilling fluids and sealants. Wyoming is also one of the few locations in the world with so-called “rare-earth” elements. Rare-earth metals have a wide variety of applications including hybrid car motors, computer hard drives, cell phones and wind turbines and sophisticated military equipment.

Trona is an evaporate mineral found more than 1,000 feet below ground. The trona near the Green River in Wyoming is the largest known deposit in the world. The mineral is processed into soda ash, a key ingredient in glass production. It is also used in chemical manufacturing and for soap and detergent. Church & Dwight, the producer of Arm & Hammer baking soda and other products, has operations in Wyoming.

J eff r e y S . OTTO

Trona in Wyoming

From top: The Dave Johnston Power Plant in Glenrock, one of the largest coal-fired plants in the Rockies, receives coal from mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin; Wyoming is the nation’s largest producer of coal, providing 40 percent of the nation’s total production.



Mining Their Business Westech is world leader in heavy equipment truck bodies Coal, trona, uranium, gold, silver, copper and molybdenum. Westech designs, engineers and manufactures bodies for huge trucks that haul these minerals out of mines throughout Wyoming. “For example, a mining company purchases a large truck made by Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi or whomever, but those trucks are purposely built without bodies,” says Rich Peters, Westech sales manager for North America. “The mining company then contacts us to construct a truck body that is ideal for use in the particular mine where that company is excavating.” Peters says Westech, which was founded in 1938 and is based in Casper, first sends its engineers into the mine to see what truck body would be ideal. “We look at the conditions of roads in and out of the mine, and examine the shovels and buckets and other loading equipment that will be used to fill the truck bodies,” he says. “Our goal is to have mining companies get maximum use from our truck bodies, so the companies achieve maximum payloads.” One of Westech’s truck bodies – attached to a threestory truck – can haul 447 tons of coal, enough coal to fill more than 4 1/2 railroad cars, a full-day’s supply of fuel for a power plant. That hauling capacity earned the company an entry into the Guiness World Records book in fall 2011. Peters says most of Westech’s business is with mining companies in Wyoming, but it also ships truck bodies worldwide. “We deal with mining companies in Niger and Senegal,

Africa, as well as Mongolia and into South America,” he says. “We also ship to Canada. We’re quite diversified.” Westech manufactures more than 550 bodies annually. Peters says because the company has gained a global reputation, it will have a major presence in September 2012 at MINExpo International in Las Vegas – the world’s largest and most comprehensive exposition dedicated to mining. “Our display on the main floor at MINExpo will include a huge water tank painted with beautiful murals of Wyoming, such as the Grand Tetons, antelope, elk, buffalo and minerals,” he says. “We are proud of Westech, and proud to do business in Wyoming. It’s an easy state in which to do business.” – Kevin Litwin

Westech CAT 793 Flow Control Combo Body.

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Taking a Shine to Clouds Wyoming offers perfect climate for data centers Story by Dan Hieb • Photography by Brian McCord


yoming has a wealth of energy resources and a lot of cool weather, a combination that is just the thing to bring highpaying data center jobs to the state. Data centers are expanding rapidly as companies and consumers take advantage of the Internet to back up data and to use Web-based technologies for work. While some data no longer lives on a user’s hard drive, it has to be stored somewhere – and that storage must be rock-solid reliable. For companies building data centers, that means a need for sites with a low risk of natural disasters and abundant electricity. And that means Wyoming, economic development officials are telling the industry. And the industry is listening. Cheyenne will soon be home to a supercomputer that will help scientists study climate change, severe weather and the sun’s interior, among many other areas of research. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is spending $70 million to build and commission the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC), a 153,000-square-foot complex that will house a computer with about 30 times the capacity of the one currently used at NCAR’s



Mesa Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. In addition to the low threat of natural disasters, Wyoming’s cool, dry climate was an attraction, as it enables more efficient cooling and reduces energy consumption. When it becomes fully operational in 2012, the NWSC will be a world-class center for high performance scientific computing in atmospheric and related geosciences. It will house among the world’s fastest supercomputers dedicated to earth science research. Marijke Unger, NCAR spokeswoman, says the location allowed for an “extraordinarily energy-efficient supercomputing facility.” Advantages for Computing To keep servers from overheating, data centers typically spend as much as 30 percent of their power bills on air conditioning, says Jim Pieri, president and CEO of Casperbased telecom and data services provider Mountain West. Cool air in Wyoming reduces the demand for A/C, which “can bring a fairly dramatic reduction” in operation costs, Pieri says. Availability of coal, gas, wind and hydrothermal energy sources means Wyoming not only has “a

lot of energy and cheap energy, but we have redundant cheap energy,” Pieri says. Electricity costs in the state averaged 6.2 cents per kilowatt hour in 2010, cheapest in the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Industrial power rates were even lower. Vast Potential Abundant wind power and low prices made it possible for Cheyenne startup Green House Data to create the nation’s first 100 percent green data center. All its electricity comes from wind – and it consumes 40 percent less power than traditional competitors, which allows it to pass along significant savings to its cloud hosting and co-location customers. The company announced expansion plans in September 2011 to add more co-location space. A data center proposed by Verizon in 2010 illustrates Wyoming’s potential. The telecommunications giant took out a two-year option on 160 acres in Laramie, with plans for a multi-billion, 990,000-squarefoot data center. That facility plan was, comparatively, twice the size of a much-heralded North Carolina data center that Apple built to handle its iCloud service. Verizon’s plans for locating in Laramie were put on hold after a

Green House Data in Cheyenne created the nation’s first 100 percent green data center.

merger/acquisition, but its initial decision shows how seriously tech companies are looking at the state, says Gaye Stockman, president and CEO of the Laramie Economic Development Corp. “And technology companies should be looking at Wyoming, because we have so many advantages,” she says. “For example, in Laramie, more than half of our workforce has college degrees. We

do not have a corporate state income tax and the state offers sales tax exemptions. We have a very business-friendly environment.” As part of its data center recruitment initiatives, LEDC recently introduced a mini-website, The site focuses on selection criteria typically analyzed by prudent site selectors. The large investments create

a lot of property tax revenue, says Sean Stevens, the business recruitment program manager for the Wyoming Business Council. And while data centers don’t typically bring an abundance of jobs, many of those that are created will pay between $80,000 and $100,000, Stevens says. “And (data centers) will be a gateway for more technology companies to follow,” he adds.

Wyoming Data Center Sales Exemption The exemption requires a $5 million investment in capital infrastructure (building, walls, engineering, etc.) in a Wyoming location, in addition to a $2 million or larger investment in data center equipment (servers, peripheral equipment and data center containers) and software purchases. If these thresholds are met, the sales tax burden on the qualifying computer equipment is exempt. This exemption can be applied if the data center

invests $2 million in equipment in a calendar year in the future. In 2011, the Wyoming Legislature added another tier requiring a $50 million capital infrastructure level. This tier also requires the $2 million in data center equipment purchases. At this tier, the qualifying exempt equipment also includes uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), backup power generation, specialized heating and air conditioning equipment, and air quality control equipment.

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Shots Heard Round the World Firearms manufacturing thrives in Wyoming Story by M.V. Greene


or hunters, gun collectors and sportsmen and sportswomen, there may be no friendlier place on the planet than Glenrock. If it’s an outdoor experience you want, Glenrock, surrounded by the Laramie Mountains, Medicine Bow National Forest and Platte River, is the place to be. The Converse County municipality, population 2,576, got its beginning in the Old West as a mail and stage station along the Oregon Trail. And it is proud to have its economic future tied to firearms and ammunition manufacturing and support industries. Kim Rightmer, East Central regional director for the Wyoming Business Council, says Glenrock has an unofficial designation as a hub for those involved with hunting and outdoor sports.

Proud of Hunting, Outdoor Sports “We take our hunting and our outdoor sports very seriously. We’re very proud of it. We respect it. We are a state that does support it, and the Glenrock community is very supportive of it,” Rightmer says. For instance, when firearms and ammunition manufacturer A-Square Co. located its new boltaction hunting rifle factory in the area a couple of years ago, Glenrock officials, armed with Wyoming economic development incentives, helped make the move possible by assisting with building, land and infrastructure needs. The move has been so successful that A-Square has relocated all its operations to



Glenrock, including an ammunition facility that was formerly in Chamberlain, S.D., says CEO Mike Blank. Blank says Glenrock and its open, rural spaces have been attractive to hunting and shooting companies for many years. “It’s got a great mindset among the general populace and the local government as well. They are happy to see you there, and they are happy to work with you,” Blank says. “The town of Glenrock has been absolutely outstanding for us.” Resources a Plus Blank says what is promising for A-Square is the access to machine shops and labor, supply depots and raw materials, all of which developed over time in the area from the oil, gas and mining industries. Additionally, Glenrock’s proximity to Casper is a plus, he says. “It’s a really unique situation where you have that great, supportive small-town atmosphere and feel, yet you don’t have the detriments to say it will be an impossible search to find a skilled machinist here. The chances are there is somebody local to come in; that if you bought the machine, you could hire somebody to run it,” Blank says. While firearms and ammunition manufacturing are at the top of the food chain, Glenrock also is buoyed by support businesses such as taxidermists, special engravers and other businesses that are vital to the area economy, Rightmer says. Those firms include

P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f F r ee d o m A r m s , I n c . P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f J i m B l a i r E n g r av i n g

Glenrock Blue, nationally known for its high-quality metal, wood refinishing and gun bluing; Jim Blair Engraving, a certified, professional engraver; and Glenrock Components, which sells gun components.

P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f J i m B l a i r E n g r av i n g

Freedom Arms Thrives While the Glenrock area has emerged as a focal point for firearms and ammunition economic activity, Freedom Arms Inc. also has enjoyed opportunity in the state. Located in western Wyoming near the Idaho border in the town of Freedom, the company is known worldwide for its Freedom Arms revolvers and accessories. With its expertise on accuracy, ballistics and craftsmanship for its line of single-shot handguns, single-action revolvers and other firearms, Freedom Arms president Bob Baker says the state has been a good place to run his 14-employee business. The company was founded in 1979, Baker says, crediting Wyoming for creating a business-friendly environment. “The laws are friendly. One of the big things is they don’t fight us. Some of the states do their best to get rid of firearms manufacturers, but Wyoming encourages the business. And not just firearms, but any kind of business. It doesn’t over regulate and overtax. It makes for a good environment,” Baker says. Top: Freedom Arms Inc. is known worldwide for its Freedom Arms revolvers and accessories. Bottom photos: Jim Blair Engraving is one of many businesses that supports the firearms and ammunition manufacturing industry in Glenrock.

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Grand Targhee Resort in Alta



Downhill All the Way Wyoming’s ski slopes bring jobs to the state

Story by Kevin Litwin

P h o t o C o u r t e s y o f G a be R o g e l a n d G r a n d Ta r g h ee Re s o r t


ourism in Wyoming generates about $2.5 billion annually and supports 29,000 jobs, and much of that amount is spent by out-of-state visitors during the winter months. Wyoming is an outdoor recreation destination, thanks to its open spaces and natural attractions that draw hikers, bikers, anglers and river rafters. Outdoor recreation doesn’t take winters off in the Cowboy State, where renowned ski resorts, skiing and snowboarding are accessible in every corner. Perhaps the most well-known winter destination is Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which welcomes

500,000 visitors a year – only 15 percent of whom are locals. Jackson Hole is unique because its location in Grand Teton National Park means its commercial airport is the only one in the world inside a national park, says Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. “About 85 percent of our skiers and snowboarders get to our resort after landing at the airport,” he says. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a perennial award winner for its well-groomed terrain, which has seen $4.5 million in investments in recent years to make skiing and snowboarding more enjoyable.

“We have groomed runs and open bowls for beginners, intermediates and experts,” Blann says. “We are now in our 47th season of showcasing winter recreation.” Catch Their Drift On the back of the Tetons in Alta, Grand Targhee Resort offers a slower pace for new and family skiers, and boasts 500 inches of the lightest snow each year. And in Cody, near the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Sleeping Giant Resort is one of the oldest ski areas in the United States, having opened in 1936. “Sleeping Giant actually closed

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in 2004 largely due to the reduction in snowmobile traffic utilizing Yellowstone Park, then reopened in 2009 thanks to a $3.5 million investment by our community,” says James Klessens, CEO and president of Forward Cody Wyoming. The first reopened season of 2009-10 saw 7,000 skiers visit the resort, and that number increased to 12,000 for 2010-11. “Recent ski magazine articles have rated the terrain on our little hill among the best in the country, and that acknowledgment should bring us a lot more snowboarders in 2012,” Klessens says. “Cody has good restaurants and nice hotels, and visitors are almost guaranteed to see spectacular wildlife when driving from the hotels to the ski area.”

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This Run’s for You Other popular winter wonderlands include Hogadon Ski Area on Casper Mountain in central Wyoming, which offers a 600-foot vertical drop and 18 major trails. Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area is just a short drive from Laramie in southeast Wyoming, in the Medicine BowRoutt National Forest. Meanwhile, Pine Creek Ski Resort in Cokeville has 30 runs and is easily accessible off Interstate 30. “My kids like Pine Creek because the snowboarding slopes are fun, but not too difficult,” says Elaina Zempel, Wyoming Business Council regional director. “Pine Creek isn’t too crowded, so you can get onto the lift and to the hilltop quickly, which gives skiers and snowboarders many more opportunities to enjoy our great outdoors.”



Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

In the Swing of Things With approximately 60 golf courses across Wyoming, it’s easy to see why the state is known as a great place to hit the links. “There’s not a lot of overcrowding, and you can play a number of golf courses in Wyoming for an affordable price,” says Kyle Nuss, executive director of the Wyoming State Golf Association. “There also aren’t a lot of fully private courses, so you can play the majority of them without knowing a member.” The state features a variety of nationally known courses, such as The Powder Horn Golf Course, Three Crowns Golf Club, Riverton Country Club and Bell Nob Golf Course, all of which are open for public play. Residents and visitors can also take advantage of golf resorts in the state, including the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club that includes the Shooting Star course – named one of Golfweek’s Best Residential Courses and Best Modern Courses in 2011, as well as the Teton Pines Country Club and Resort. Private courses, including Old Baldy Golf Course at Old Baldy Club in Saratoga, also contribute to the variety of options available. One of Wyoming’s most popular courses, Old Baldy opened in 1964 as a place where members could enjoy a round of golf without making a tee time. Today, the tradition still holds, and golfers are free to play whenever they like. Thanks to the quality of its courses, the state hosts a number of golf tournaments each year tthat attract some of the region’s strongest competitors. “Every year, we have our Wyoming Amateur Championship, which will be played for the 90th consecutive year in 2012,” Nuss says. “The Wyoming Open is another tournament that’s been played a long time, and it takes place in Cheyenne. The Saltwater Classic Pro-Am also draws a pretty good field of professionals.” – Jessica Walker

Powder Horn Golf Course

Riverton Regional Airport Industrial Park is …

Brian McCord

Quality courses keep Wyoming golf up to par


4800 Airport Rd. Riverton, WY 82501 (307) 856-1307 b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t



Luke Schneider is CEO of Medicine Bow Technologies in Laramie.

State of Innovation Wyoming resources help technology companies get off the ground Story by Dan Hieb • Photography by Brian McCord


hen Luke Schneider first got involved with Medicine Bow Technologies in 2007, he was working as a graduate assistant at the University of Wyoming. Two years later, he became CEO. “I never thought at my ripe age of 30 that I’d be in a situation like this,” he says. Such are the opportunities here, where Wyoming works to help tech startups get off the ground, and where fresh graduates can climb the rungs much faster than in places like California’s Silicon Valley; Austin, Texas; or Boulder, Colo. Incubation Center Nurtures Startups Medicine Bow Technologies grew with the help of the Wyoming Technology Business Center, which provides guidance to early-stage companies, about



10 of which occupy a 30,000-square-foot business incubation facility on the University of Wyoming campus. Medicine Bow, the incubator’s first client in 2006, recently “graduated.” The company, which provides digital imaging and electronic medical records solutions to doctors and hospitals, had 17 employees at the end of 2011 and was preparing to move into its own space in Laramie. Schneider says being able to bounce ideas off the WTBC staff was invaluable. “It’s like having a board of directors for companies that are too small to have one,” he says. Jon Benson, who runs the center, says its goal is to encourage entrepreneurs, advise them and help them grow into $3 million to $5 million companies. “What we try to do is create energy. If you have in your mind

that you want to start a business, but have no idea how to do it, you can come here and see that it’s real people that start these businesses, and not superfolks,” Benson says. Another graduate of the incubator is Laramie-based Happy Jack Software, which helps long-term care facilities manage medications. It also writes customer software for companies such as Morningstar. Happy Jack had 24 employees at the end of 2011, up from 13 a year earlier. CEO Mona Gamboa had experience working on the technical side of startups in Austin, where she lived for 18 years. She remembers the days before Austin became a tech hub, and says that efforts like the incubation center fostered the industry there. The WTBC also has chapters in Sheridan and Gillette.

Marketing, Robotics and Materials Research Of course, other tech businesses in Wyoming have grown and flourished without the help of a business incubator. Jason Kintzler founded PitchEngine in 2008. The Landerbased company gives users an easy way to send feature-rich news releases to social media audiences and journalists. The company already has 45,000 businesses using its platform, and was handling about 300 pitches a day at the end of 2011. It has eight employees, with plans to hire four more by mid-2012. Another company, Jacksonbased Square One, builds state-of-the-art robotics systems. Some are so precise that they are used to harvest crystallized virus strands, which are then studied by medical researchers. Other robots are designed to help the U.S. Army disarm improvised explosives. Bob Viola, the director of engineering, started the company after moving to Jackson in 2000. Part of the attraction was the ski slopes. “As it turned out, this was a great place to start,” he says. “Like most resort towns, there’s this huge reservoir of very educated people just waiting to put their skills to work.” The granddaddy of tech firms in Wyoming is Western Research Institute, which has existed in Laramie under various names since 1924. The 76-person research facility studies highway construction materials, guiding departments of transportation nationwide. It also studies ways to make Wyoming’s coal “a more beneficial energy source,” says Chavawn Kelley, corporate communications manager. That includes gasification processes that can yield hydrogen, as well as gasoline alternatives, and efforts to take trees killed by insect infestation and turn them into biofuel.

From top: The Wyoming Technology Business Center on the University of Wyoming campus provides guidance to early-stage companies; Happy Jack Software in Laramie is a graduate of the Wyoming Technology Business Center. b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t



Strong Links Wyoming’s location gives state distribution edge Story by John Fuller • Photography by Jeff Adkins


ocated near the geographical center of North America, Wyoming is rich in transportation assets. Three major interstates and two major railroads cross the state and a host of modern, convenient airports make easy connections to major airline hubs. Interstate 25 takes travelers north and south along the Rocky Mountain Front Range, connecting easily to Denver and Albuquerque. I-80 crosses the state west to Salt Lake City and east to major Midwest metropolitan areas. I-90, located in the northern part of Wyoming, provides an important link to Northwest and Upper Midwest markets. Two major railroads, the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe (BNSF) and the Union Pacific, serve the state’s businesses, providing important links for mining and minerals, agriculture and other shippers.



AMPLE Parking FOR Business Those excellent highway and rail assets have spawned a number of new industrial and business parks across the state to handle the distribution needs of a variety of businesses. “Transportation is a major part of who we are from an economic standpoint,” says Randy Bruns, executive director of Cheyenne LEADS, a private economic development organization serving Cheyenne and Laramie County. Cheyenne LEADS owns the 917-acre Cheyenne Business Parkway, located near I-80, east of Cheyenne. The developer also owns the 620-acre North Range Business Park, located west of the city along I-80. Wal-Mart’s stateof-the-art food distribution facility is a North Range tenant, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) supercomputing center is near completion there.

Cheyenne LEADS also works closely with Granite Peak Development LLC, developers of Swan Ranch, a massive industrial and distribution complex. Swan Ranch Rail Park, a 550-acre industrial facility, is part of Granite Peak’s 7,200 acres located near the I-80/I-25 interchange, south of Cheyenne. The rail park has access to both interstates, as well as to both the BNSF and Union Pacific rail lines. In 2010, Midwestern Wyoming Inc. became the first company to announce its location at Swan Ranch and is completing a 60,000-square-foot pipe coating plant and a 17,000-square-foot fabrication shop and office building at the site. Midwestern is an oil and gas pipeline service company. “Logistically, this location makes a great deal of sense for manufacturing and distribution companies,” Bruns says. In addition to Wal-Mart’s

distribution center, Cheyenne also has a huge distribution facility for home improvement chain Lowe’s and is home to catalog and online retailer Sierra Trading Post, both located in the Cheyenne Business Parkway, LEADS’ first business park. Casper: Reclaimed Property A short distance north on I-25, Casper has also seen some aggressive development of business parks and distribution centers. Casper Logistics Hub (CLH), developed by Granite Peak Development, is one of the newest logistic centers in the western United States. It includes 700 acres of industrial land strategically positioned next to BNSF’s Class I rail lines, Casper/Natrona County International Airport, a Foreign Trade Zone and I-25. Another promising business park development utilizing Wyoming’s excellent transportation access is Salt

Creek Heights, developed by Refined Properties LLC. American Tire Distributors has built an 80,000-square-foot warehouse in the development, which was formerly a tank farm site. “This is an excellent location for a distribution center,” says Dick Bratton, manager of Refined Properties. Refined Properties has more than 125 acres of commercial property in Casper on the Platte River commons and Salt Creek Heights Business Center. With their centralized location, these properties provide solid opportunities for new and established businesses, says Bratton, who explained that these parks are ideal for light industrial manufacturers and distribution companies. Bratton says interest in the properties has increased as the economy has started to pick up. In the northeast corner of Wyoming, both Sheridan and Gillette have excellent locations for

distribution and oil service supplies companies. Major beverage bottlers serving the entire state are located in Gillette and Sheridan. Rail Keeps growth On Track Both the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads played important roles in the growth and development of Wyoming. Both railroad companies have lines serving the coal-rich Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming, providing coal to electric generating plants across the Midwest and South. The railroads also haul soda ash, fertilizer, nonmetallic minerals, stone, sand and a host of other goods across the state to markets nationwide. Cheyenne, Casper, Cody and Jackson Hole have modern convenient airports, and the ultramodern Denver International Airport is only 90 minutes to two hours from the state’s major population centers. The state’s businesses are also served by a host of general aviation airports.

Jackson Hole Airport (307) 733-5454 •

Nonstop service to: Atlanta Chicago Dallas Denver Los Angeles Minneapolis Salt Lake City


A Dose of Strong Medicine Wyoming’s thriving health care industry means more options for residents, employees Story by Melanie Hill • Photography by Brian McCord


ealth-care services in Wyoming are as vast as the state itself. Spread over 98,000 scenic square miles, Wyoming’s 27 hospitals house 2,600-plus acute-care beds, contribute more than $445 million annually to the state’s economy and employ nearly 9,000 people. Cheyenne Regional Medical Center ranks among Wyoming’s largest acute-care facilities. Comprehensive services include a state-of-the-art cancer center, the Wyoming Heart & Vascular Institute, a medical and surgical weight loss center, and surgical services. The 217-bed hospital



also was recognized for its urology program by US News & World Report in its Best Hospitals ranking. Miles from Wyoming’s capital city, the state’s rural hospitals play an equally critical role in caring for the sprawling population. With roughly 6,000 residents, Douglas is home to Memorial Hospital of Converse County. The facility receives more than 31,000 patient visits a year and some 6,000 emergency room visits. Services also include a birthing center, intensive care unit, wellness center and a growing list of tech-savvy treatments. MHCC now houses state-of-the-art digital surgery

suites and entrepreneurial specialists in the fields of radiology and orthopaedic surgery. “Our difference lies in the advanced, diverse medical services that are not always found in the rural health-care delivery system,” says Larry E. Schrage, interim MHCC CEO. “This diversity is the baseline for advancing our medical practices to do even more for the convenience and accessibility of the patients we serve.” Wyoming’s Critical Access Hospitals Accessibility is key in Wyoming. In 2011, the National Rural Health

Association named MHCC and five other Wyoming hospitals among the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in America. Critical Access Hospitals provide essential services to a community and are reimbursed by Medicare on a “reasonable cost basis” for services provided to Medicare patients. MHCC also is among the 16 hospitals belonging to the Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network, an affiliate of the Wyoming Hospital Association. Funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the WCAHN helps member hospitals coordinate resources, promote operational

efficiencies and improve health services through advocacy, education and communication. Dan Perdue, president of the Wyoming Hospital Association, says the absence of managed care, advances in telemedicine and strong legislative advocacy also help leverage the state’s promising health industry. “Wyoming might have some smaller hospitals than those in larger states, but they’re just as good as those found elsewhere in the country,” Perdue says. “They rank very high in terms of quality measurements and low-cost health care, and provide a full array of services.”

Wyoming’s Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals Johnson County Healthcare Center Buffalo Memorial Hospital of Converse County Douglas Platte County Memorial Hospital Wheatland Star Valley Medical Center Afton Washakie Medical Center Worland West Park Hospital District Cody

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J eff A d k i n s

Antony Boshier

J eff r e y S . OTTO


Force to be Reckoned With Wyoming colleges prepare students for emerging careers

Story by Kevin Litwin


very student at the University of Wyoming is required to take a general education track early in their college career so they can pick up vital skills in public speaking, writing, cultural familiarity and the arts. “Our intent is to give students helpful tools early in college before they focus entirely on taking courses specifically related to their career field,” says Jo Chytka, director of the University of Wyoming’s Center for Advising and Career Services. “Our mission is to get students as ready as possible for the workforce, so that several employers will be interested in them.” Chytka says even though the difficult national economy is impacting the post-graduation job placement rate, more UW graduates were hired in 2011 than in 2010. “We expect 2012 to be even

better than 2011,” she says. “A lot of our grads want to stay in Wyoming, and the university has enjoyed a history of success placing them in challenging and good-paying jobs.” Hot Career Paths Chytka says students on in-demand career paths, such as engineering, business applications and health sciences, are always eagerly sought by Wyoming employers. “In addition, energy jobs in geology and geophysics have always been an area for high placement rates for students, and there is a growing demand in Wyoming for teachers because more people are moving to the state,” she says. “The university is always helping students look for summer jobs and internships, and we host an annual career fair. We do whatever we can to prepare students for today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.”

Public Community Colleges in Wyoming Casper College, Casper Central Wyoming College, Riverton Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne Northwest College, Powell Northern Wyoming Community College District (Gillette and Sheridan campuses) Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs

Clockwise from top left: Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, one of seven community colleges in the state; University of Wyoming’s College of Business; a student studies in the library at Sheridan College in Sheridan.

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The Information Technology building at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Seven Community Colleges Also helping to buttress the state’s workforce needs are Wyoming’s seven community colleges spread across the state. “Many credits earned by students attending our community colleges can be transferred to the University of Wyoming and other colleges and universities,” says Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. “There are 800 different programs of study offered to students throughout our community college system.” Robotics, Ag and Extraction Rose says the community colleges are always looking to increase their curriculum offerings. For example, Casper College has added a one-year



certificate program in robotics automation, and an associate of applied science diploma in computer security. Meanwhile, Eastern Wyoming College has added several programs associated with the agriculture industry, as well as a certificate in child development. “In addition, Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs is located in the middle of mining territory, so it has programs related to the extraction industry that include compression technology and wellhead technology,” Rose says. “And at Laramie County Community College, a wind energy program is in place. A lot is going on these days at Wyoming’s community colleges, and a lot more is being planned.”

University of Wyoming • Web: • Location: Laramie • Founded: 1886, four years before Wyoming was admitted as the 44th state • Enrollment: 13,476 students, including enrollment from all 50 states and 75 foreign countries • Academics: 190 areas of study in the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Business, Education, Engineering & Applied Science, Health Sciences, Law and the School of Energy Resources

Brian McCord

Deep Underground Wyoming at leading edge of carbon storage research The Carbon Management Institute (CMI) at the University of Wyoming is front and center in research efforts to better manage carbon dioxide emissions. CMI leads the $16.9 million Wyoming Carbon Underground Storage Project, a research and development initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy to find ways to capture and store carbon. The CMI effort could lead to breakthroughs in clean-coal technology, which is becoming increasingly important because the federal government may stiffen coal-fired power plant emission regulations in the near future. “Carbon storage involves drilling

deep into the earth, and securing carbon dioxide safely in geologic reservoirs beneath confining layers, or seals,” says Ron Surdam, Carbon Management Institute director. “CMI is currently analyzing and evaluating a site 25 square miles in area on the Rock Springs Uplift in Sweetwater County. We have drilled a stratigraphic test well to approximately 13,000 feet, and are now analyzing data and observations from the well and from a 3-D seismic survey to determine whether this will be an ideal site for carbon storage.” The project began in December 2009 and is scheduled for completion in December of 2013. Surdam says preliminary data indicate that the Rock

Springs Uplift could store 26 billion tons of carbon dioxide over 50 years. “Not only will this project allow Wyoming to store carbon dioxide, but this carbon dioxide can then be used in enhanced oil recovery efforts designed to extract stranded oil from Wyoming’s depleted oil fields,” Surdam says. “We at CMI are scientists who realize that mankind only gets one atmosphere, and we want to keep it as healthy as possible. We also know that clean-coal technology is hugely beneficial to the Wyoming economy – it will safeguard the state’s coal industry from any future federal regulation of CO2 emissions, and support the state’s oil industry by facilitating tertiary oil recovery.” – Kevin Litwin

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Clockwise from top left: West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park; fishing for trout at Red Rock Ranch in Kelly; whitewater rafting the Snake River near Jackson; Devil’s Tower National Monument near Gillette.



State of Wonder Art, culture, natural beauty abundant in Wyoming Story by Kevin Litwin


o state embraces the “Work Where You Want to Live” credo more robustly than Wyoming. It is a state of wide open spaces, natural beauty and a bounty of outdoor recreation options. Those options include fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, mountain biking, skiing, golfing and river rafting on some of the country’s most challenging rapids. Wyoming is home to some of the most iconic national parks and forests in the nation, including popular tourist and adventure destinations such as Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower, Grand Teton and the Shoshone National Forest. The state also boasts more than 30 state parks and designated historical areas.

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Look at the Mammoth And while it is a state that embraces its Western roots, Wyoming has also carved an impressive collection of arts and culture attractions, from galleries to museums to performing arts. One such place that has two separate museums on its grounds is Casper College, home to both the Tate Geological Museum and the Werner Wildlife Museum. “Our most popular attraction at the Tate is a huge Columbia mammoth we excavated north of Glenrock. The beast is 13 feet, 8 inches tall at the shoulders,” says Deanna Schaff, director of both museums. “Meanwhile, the Werner Museum has amazing trophy mounts that include a bald eagle, prairie falcon, kit fox and albino deer.”

Triceratops and Buffalo Bill Another cultural attraction in the state is the Glenrock Paleontological Museum, which opened in 1995 after a triceratops skull was found near the site. Wyoming is also home to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a complex of five individual museums all under one roof in Cody. “We are the world’s foremost authority and interpreter of the American West. That is a big b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t


visit our


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Casper Area Economic Development Alliance Inc. Cheyenne Leads Cheyenne Regional Airport City of Riverton Groathouse Construction Inc. Jackson Hole Airport Laramie Economic Development Laramie Regional Airport



3/22/10 11:40:09 AM

Rocky Mountain Power Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Town of Wright University of Wyoming Weston County Development Wyoming Business Council Wyoming Industrial Development Corporation

Culturally Committed Entertainment lovers find fun opportunities in Wyoming From music and festivals to theatrical performances and art galleries, Wyoming features plenty of cultural attractions sure to keep residents and visitors both occupied and enthralled. Here are a few highlights:

Wyoming Symphony Located in Casper, the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra has been entertaining audiences for more than 60 years. The group, led by Matthew Savery, performs throughout the year. While most concerts are held at John F. Welsh Auditorium at Natrona County High School, the orchestra also performs at outdoor venues during the summer months.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Pleasing to the Eye At the University of Wyoming Art Museum, hundreds of paintings, sculptures and photographs are on display in rotating exhibitions throughout the year. Executive director Susan Moldenhauer says the museum prides itself on being a contributor to the state’s overall quality of life. “One of our largest annual events is a Student Juried Exhibition that begins in January and showcases the artistic talents of University of Wyoming students,” she says. “The art museum also works closely with the local Laramie K-12 school district and pre-schools, hosting students and teaching them how to make art, how to look at art, how to talk about art, and how to write about it.” Moldenhauer says people from throughout the state and beyond are frequent visitors to the museum. “Not only do we have Western art and pieces related specifically to Wyoming, but we attract artwork from around the world,” she says. “The quality of life in Wyoming is excellent with art, culture and recreation contributing a large degree.” A gallery at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie.

Local Color Art and Gift Gallery Co-op The Local Color Art and Gift Gallery Co-op, located in the historic Slovenski Dom in Rock Springs, is the largest artist-owned gallery in the state. Visitors can select one-of-a-kind items, including pottery, paintings, jewelry, note cards, gift baskets and handmade candles, created by local artists and craftspeople.

WYO Theater Open since 1923, the WYO Theater began as a vaudeville venue called the Lotus. The theater, which received its current moniker in the early 1940s, closed in 1982. With community support, it reopened in 1989, and continues to entertain the community with live performances and films. More than a performing arts facility, the WYO Theater is a cultural landmark in downtown Sheridan.  – Jessica Walker Cheyenne Frontier Days

Brian McCord

statement, but we back it up,” says Tim White, the center’s director of content and programming. “Our individual museums are the Cody Firearms Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Draper Museum of Natural History, Buffalo Bill Museum and the Plains Indian Museum. This center attracts 200,000 visitors a year, and people are often surprised to find a worldclass cultural facility of this size here in the Rockies.”

The largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration in the United States, Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place each year for 10 days at the end of July. The festival draws professional riders who compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes, and includes additional activities such as a chuck wagon cook-off, a carnival midway, concerts, parades and more.

b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t


Ad Index

C1 Casper Area Economic Development Alliance Inc.

2 Cheyenne Leads

4 Cheyenne Regional Airport

33 City of Riverton

16 Groathouse Construction Inc.

37 Jackson Hole Airport

6 Laramie Economic Development 12 Laramie Regional Airport 1 Rocky Mountain Power

14 Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

12 Town of Wright

C4 University of Wyoming

16 Weston County Development

24 Wyoming Business Council

16 Wyoming Industrial Development Corporation

economic profile Business snapshot

Population 2010: 563,626 2000: 493,782 Change: 14.1 percent

Largest Cities Cheyenne: 59,466

Union Pacific Railroad, 686

Casper: 55,316

Walmart Distribution, 680

Laramie: 30,816

National Outdoor Leadership School, 650


TIC The Industrial Co., 600

Gross Domestic Product (2010), $38.53 billion

General Chemical, 531 Sugarland Enterprises, 480

Exports (2011), $1.22 billion

Ivinson Memorial Hospital, 473

Government University of Wyoming, 5,225 F.E. Warren Air Force Base, 4,410 State of Wyoming, 3,840 Campbell County School District, 2,646 Federal government, 1,747 Natrona County School District No. 1, 1,427 Laramie County School District No. 1, 1,999 Albany County Schools, 896 Uinta County School District, 885 Sweetwater Co. School No. 1, 720

Nongovernment Rio Tinto Energy America, 1,795 Powder River Coal Co., 1,459 Thunder Basin Coal Co., 1,100 Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, 1,324 Wyoming Medical Center, 946 FMC Wyoming Corp., 844 Campbell County Memorial Hospital, 850 Halliburton, 755 Lowe’s Cos. Distribution, 705 Sierra Trading Post, 691


per Capita Personal Income (2010)


Key Energy, 620

Retail sales (2007), $9 billion

Major Employers


With its absence of personal and corporate income taxes, low energy costs, low operating costs and educated workforce, Wyoming offers significant advantages for business investment and expansion. Easy commutes, open spaces, spectacular natural resources, low crime rates and a technologically advanced infrastructure give Wyoming a superior quality of life. Wyoming offers many incentives for businesses, including excellent taxes and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

West Park Hospital, 450

Major Industry Sectors (2010) Government, 23.2% Leisure & Hospitality, 11.6% Financial Activities, 11% Retail Trade, 11% Natural Resources & Mining, 9.5% Construction, 9% Education & Health Services, 8% Professional & Business Services, 6.4% Manufacturing, 4% All Other, 6.3%

Labor Force Civilian labor force, 292,643 Average annual pay, $38,454

Median Household Income (2010)


Transportation Highways Three interstate highways cross the state: I-25, I-80 and I-90, and there are five major interstate junctions

Airports Wyoming has 36 public airports, including 10 commercial service airports, all of which connect to Denver International Airport and/ or Salt Lake International Airport. Casper provides daily flights to Minneapolis. In addition, Casper offers a Foreign Trade Zone at the Natrona County International Airport.

Rail Two Class I rail carriers: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Union Pacific Sources:

What’s Online  For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on Wyoming, go to

Through the Lens

Get the Story Behind the Photo Now that you’ve experienced Wyoming through our photos, see it through the eyes of our photographers. Visit to view our exclusive photographers’ blog documenting what all went in to capturing those perfect moments. From Our Photo Blog: wyoming Located on Main Street in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming, is the Don King Museum and King’s Saddlery. The Saddlery is a true Western tack store with thousands of ropes on-hand, as well as a huge inventory of saddles, bits, bridles and more. The Don King Museum has to be one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited. Hundreds of hand-carved saddles surround an amazing collection of Western and cowboy memorabilia that has been in the family for more than three decades. James Jackson works inside the museum carving designs into leather to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Posted by Brian McCord

More Online 

See more favorite photos and read the stories behind the shots at

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

Stuff to do in Sweetwater County b u s i n e ssc l i m a t e . co m / w y o m i n g - e cono m i c - d e v e l o p m e n t


Business Images Wyoming 2012  

Wyoming offers a bounty of advantages for business relocation and expansion, unparalleled natural assets and a quality of life that lets the...

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