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Natrona County School District has received nearly $3,500 in Rocky Mountain Power incentives for highefﬁciency lighting upgrades at Dean Morgan Junior High and North Casper Elementary. The students, teachers, and staff are beneﬁtting from the improved lighting, plus the school district is saving an estimated 25,000 kilowatt-hours in electricity and nearly $1,000 in energy costs each year. Pictured from left: Dennis Bay, executive director of facilities, Natrona County School District and Rocky Mountain Power’s Leslie Blythe
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Workstyle Generating New Opportunity
The state is powering up renewable-energy research and investment.
A supercomputer center puts Wyoming at the forefront of atmospheric research.
The state's business advantages draw a diverse base of manufacturers.
Small Footprint, Big Impact
Startups and entrepreneurs benefit from a wealth of resources.
State of Wonders
Wyoming corners the market on natural assets and recreation. Table of Contents Continued
28 ON THE COVER Wyoming is a wind-energy leader.
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A Conversation with Gov. Dave Freudenthal of supply from coal, oil and gas to uranium and wind. With respect to clean energy we are committing a large body of resources both financial and intellectual to carbon sequestration to ensure coal has a strong future in energy production. With respect to our unduplicated wind resource we have been working for many years on the main constraint, which is lack of electric transmission to move the wind power to market. Wyoming’s economic picture has been generally more positive than the national picture. How is the state encouraging continued momentum in segments of the economy that are performing well? The Wyoming economy has a tendency to enter a national recession later than other states and often comes out of the recession later than other states. A lot of this is tied to the three main drivers of the Wyoming economy – energy, tourism and agriculture. Each industry has its own rhythm, but the inertia of each carries forward for some months before the full impact is experienced locally. We have budgeted conservatively
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and have used the stimulus money to weather the recession. However, energy prices are a function of many factors and we are very much a part of a global market so we have no ability to influence prices. We do try to work at market access be it through pipelines, railroads or electric transmission lines. We try to encourage the development but ultimately those investment decisions are made by private-sector companies.
When you are recruiting new business, what are you hearing from them on what they’re seeking and what advantages can Wyoming offer? Generally, Wyoming has a solid business climate, which we try to maintain. Because much of the Gross State Product is tied to energy extraction, we ask companies to respect our values about doing things right and taking care of the environment as they develop. Beyond that, we try to make state employees available and responsive to the business constituency so that folks understand what permits and licenses are required and what the rules are about doing business in Wyoming. People seem to appreciate the openness and accessibility of state government. Wyoming has positioned itself a leader in clean energy and renewables. What do you see as the state’s role in those efforts and what are your goals for the state in that regard? Wyoming has the incredible benefit of having a number of energy resources, a strong, broad portfolio
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Almanac STATE OF FIRSTS Wyoming can claim bragging rights for a number of firsts. It was the first state to have a county public library system, the Laramie County Public Library System organized in August 1886. In 1872, Congress named Yellowstone National Park in Northwestern Wyoming as the first national park in the world, and President Benjamin Harrison signed an act in 1891 making Shoshone National Forest the first national forest. (Wyoming now has nine national forests.) The state also boasts the first national monument, Devils Tower in Northeastern Wyoming, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. In 1870, Wyoming was the first state to allow women the right to vote. And it also was the first state to elect a woman governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who served from 1925 to 1927.
KEEPING THE CULTURE ALIVE American Indian culture is a major part of Wyoming history. The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes are significant contributors to the culture and economy of the state to this day. The 2.2 million-acre Wind River Indian Reservation offers visitors a cultural peek into the history of two American Indian tribes. The Wind River Reservation Trail includes several points of interest, including Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center and Fort Washakie, a former U.S. military establishment and now headquarters of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe government. Sacajawea, the famed Shoshone guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition, is buried west of Fort Washakie. A number of powwows held throughout the year celebrate each tribe’s traditions and heritage. Go to www.wind-river.org for more.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BILL AND THEN SOME The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody is five museums under one roof. The museum examines both the personal and public life of W.F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and also includes the Whitney Gallery of Art, the Plains Indian Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History. The Cody Firearms Museum houses the most comprehensive assemblage of American firearms in the world. A local machine shop has developed a prototype of a historic gun from blueprints of the original. For more on the museum, go to www.bbhc.org.
ONE HONEY OF A COMPANY Bessie Zeller began creating candy in her Lovell home in Big Horn County more than 50 years ago after an optometrist advised her that her son’s vision would improve if sugar were eliminated from his diet. Looking for a sugar replacement, she turned to honey, which was in abundant supply because of her husband Clarence’s occupation as a beekeeper. Today, Queen Bee Gardens produces more than 200,000 pounds of candy and confections each year, including pralines and hand-dipped chocolate and carobs. Queen Bee’s products are sold at more than 800 stores in all 50 states, and are available online at www.queenbeegardens.com.
ROARING ENTERTAINMENT For more than 30 years, the 320-acre Sweetwater Events Complex has hosted events as diverse as rodeos, weddings, gun shows and estate auctions. Everything from equestrian events to business events to trade shows and weddings take place at the complex, which includes a 20,000-squarefoot exhibit hall and a 42,000-square-foot agricultural complex. The annual Shrimp Boil and Crawfish Feed features more than 1,000 pounds of fresh seafood flown in from Louisiana. The complex’s Sweetwater Speedway, which sits 6,250 feet above sea level, hosts the Wyoming State Motocross Championships, stock car and BMX races. For more, go to www.sweetwaterevents.com.
THEY TEACH FROM THE GOOD BOOK The small community of LaGrange nearly doubles in size when classes are in session at Frontier School of the Bible. The institute opened in 1967 in LaGrange, population 300. The institute’s calling is to train students for life and ministry. Specialized areas of study include missions, pastoral ministries, Christian education and youth ministries. The campus includes dormitories, a dining hall and kitchen, classroom buildings, a student center and an administration building that houses the library. In August 2008, the school, with an enrollment of about 200, dedicated a new chapel, the largest building project in its history. For more, go to www.frontierbible.org.
The Right Place Wyoming’s investments pay off in sustained business growth
Story by Joe Morris
yoming’s diverse business base has always done well in a strong economy; the fact that it kept prospering during a national slowdown is testament to the state’s many pluses. Incentive programs, absence of personal and corporate taxes, a well-trained workforce, superior technological capabilities and a highly desirable quality of life make Wyoming an appealing place to start, grow or relocate a company. “For a long time we waved the flag of our low cost of doing business in terms of our tax statutes, because we have a pretty friendly tax structure,”
says Bob Jensen, who is the chief executive officer of the Wyoming Business Council. “But the state has also taken revenues generated during the last oil and gas boom period and reinvested them into infrastructure that will provide a foundation for growth for years to come,” Jensen says. Included in that infrastructure is a beefing up of educational opportunities from kindergarten through college, additional scholarship possibilities and investment in new facilities. Firehole Technologies creates simulation software for composite
engineers in the aerospace, defense, automotive and energy industries. Firehole Technologies began in 2000 and graduated from the Wyoming Technology Business Center at the University of Wyoming in Laramie in 2008. In the past year, the company has grown into its own offices and tripled its business, says CEO Jerad Stack. “This is an incredibly businessfriendly state,” he says. “We’re not the stereotypical Wyoming business, but the state has always been very interested in us,” Stack says. “We are six blocks from a major research institution and, along with
other tech companies, are creating a kind of tech cluster here in southern Wyoming. Thereâ€™s definitely some synergy going on here,â€? he says. Wyoming Machinery Company, a Caterpillar dealership, celebrated its 40th birthday in 2009 with a 166,000-square-foot expansion at its Gillette location. Wyoming Machinery also is looking to build a facility in Rock Springs in the near future. The Gillette location will be a fullservice facility with a Specialization Shop for drive-train components servicing large off-highway trucks, says Darin Rodgers, marketing manager. The company is also a major Jerad Stack, CEO of Firehole Technologies, says a business-friendly environment has helped his Laramie-based company grow.
Top Five States for Low-Cost Industrial Power
chart is in cents per kilowatt-hour
Wyoming Gross Domestic Product chart is in billions of dollars
W yo m
Source: Missouri Economic Research and Information Center
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
MORE AT IMAGESWYOMING.COM
parts distributor, service operation and components rebuilder. “We will continue to invest in Wyoming and support our customers as we have for the past 40 years,” Rodgers says. Growth is the watchword at Cody Laboratories Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products to U.S. and global drug companies, which has
benefited from the state’s approach to helping businesses grow. “State agencies are helpful, not a hindrance,” says founder Ric Asherman, who has built the company to 74 employees and a 73,000-squarefoot facility. The state’s efforts, past and current, have built a foundation for strong growth in the years ahead,
regardless of global conditions, Jensen says. “We have communities that are conducive to a less hectic pace but are connected by fiber-optic and broadband highways to anywhere,” Jensen says. “This is a place where people want to live and work, and work globally. They can do that, and their business gets done.”
TAX COMPARISON Wyoming Corporate Income
Colorado Corporate Income
Sales Idaho Corporate Income
Utah Corporate Income
Sales Nebraska Corporate Income Personal Income Sales California Corporate Income Personal Income Sales Source: Federal Tax Administration
7.8% 6.84% 5.5%
8.84% 9.3% 7.25% Technology-oriented and research-based enterprises find Wyoming appealing.
Wyoming Economic Development Contacts Big Horn County Economic Development Inc. Basin, WY (307) 568-3055 www.developbighorncounty.com Big Horn Mountain Country Coalition Kaycee, WY (307) 738-2269 www.bighornmountains.org Campbell County Economic Development Corp. Gillette, WY (307) 686-2603 www.ccedc.net Carbon County Economic Development Commission Rawlins, WY www.ccwyed.net (307) 324-3836 Casper Area Economic Development Alliance Casper, WY (307) 577-7011 www.casperworks.biz Cheyenne LEADS Cheyenne, WY (307) 638-6000 www.cheyenneleads.org Cokeville Development Corp. Cokeville, WY (307) 279-3227 Converse Area New Development Organization Douglas, WY (307) 358-2000 www.candowyoming.com Dubois Volunteers Inc. Dubois, WY (307) 455-2041 www.duboiswyoming.org/dvi.html City of Evantson Evanston, WY (307) 783-6309 www.evanstonwy.org
Glenrock Economic Development Corp. Glenrock, WY (307) 436-9294 Goshen County Economic Development Torrington, WY (307) 532-5162 www.goshenwyo.com
Town of Pinedale Pinedale, WY (307) 367-4136 www.townofpinedale.com Platte County Economic Development Wheatland, WY (307) 322-4232 www.plattecountyedc.com
Green River Futures Green River, WY (307) 875-4509 www.greenriverfutures.com
Powell Valley Economic Development Powell, WY (307) 754-3494 www.powelled.org
IDEA Inc. Riverton, WY (307) 856-0952
City of Rawlins Rawlins, WY (307) 321-0348 www.rawlins-wyoming.com
Town of LaBarge LaBarge, WY (307) 386-2676 Town of LaGrange LaGrange, WY (307) 834-2466 www.lagrangewyo.com City of Lander Lander, WY (307) 332-2870 www.landerwyoming.org Laramie Economic Development Corp. Laramie, WY www.laramiewy.org (307) 742-2212 LEADER Corp. Lander, WY (307) 332-5181 www.leadercorporation.com Lovell Inc. Lovell, WY (307) 548-6707 www.townoflovell.com North East Wyoming Economic Development Coalition Gillette, WY (307) 686-3672 www.newedc.com
South Lincoln County Economic Development Corp. Diamondville, WY (307) 877-9781 www.kemmerer.org Star Valley Chamber Afton, WY (307) 885-2759 www.starvalleychamber.com Sweetwater Economic Development Association Rock Springs, WY (307) 352-6874 www.sweda.net Thermopolis-Hot Springs County Economic Development Co. Thermopolis, WY (307) 864-2348 www.thermopolis.com Uinta County Economic Development Commission Evanston, WY (307) 783-0378 www.uintacounty.com Washakie Development Association Worland, WY (307) 347-8900 www.washakiedevelopment.com
Forward Cody Cody, WY (307) 587-3136 www.forwardcody.com
Northern Arapaho Economic Development Committee Arapahoe, WY (307) 857-3868 www.northernarapaho.com
Wind River Development Fund Fort Washakie, WY (307) 335-7330 www.wrdf.org
Forward Sheridan Sheridan, WY (307) 673-8004 www.ForwardSheridan.com
Pine Haven Economic Development Board Pine Haven, WY (307) 756-3279
Town of Wright Wright, WY (307) 464-1666 www.wrightwyoming.com
Generating Innovation Wyoming powers up renewable-energy research, investment
Story by Pamela Coyle Photography by Jeff Adkins
yoming is blowing away the competition on wind-power generation and research. The new Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming studies this renewable resource and ways to improve technologies to tap into it. Power Company of Wyoming, an affiliate of Denver-based Anschutz Corp., wants to build 1,000 wind turbines near Rawlins and a power line that could export the electricity to the Southwest. A $4 billion wind farm has been proposed in Converse County in eastern Wyoming. Wind is big, but it isn’t the only new energy play. The Western Research Institute, a nonprofit based on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie, studies biomass and coal gasification, piloting a generator run by synthesis gas produced from straw. Institute researchers work with government and private industry to get innovative energy sources to the marketplace. The state’s use of renewable energy and hydroelectric power far outpaces national figures, but the growth in the wind business is hard to miss. Wyoming ranked fourth in wind generation growth between 2007 and 2008, according to a July 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Report. PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, already has six wind projects in the state, and two more, McFadden Ridge I and High Plains, both in Albany County, will be on line by the end of 2009. The company is in the permitting process for Dunlap I, a 74-turbine project in Carbon County, just north of Medicine Bow, says spokesman Jeff Hymas. It should be operational by the end of 2010. Rocky Mountain Power has been harnessing
Wyoming’s wind for more than a decade; Duke Energy joined the party in 2008 with the Happy Jack Windpower Project in Cheyenne. Two more Duke wind projects will be running by the end of 2009: the Campbell Hill Windpower Project near Casper and the Silver Sage Windpower Project near Cheyenne. The 66 turbines at Campbell Hill alone will be capable of producing power for 25,000 to 30,000 average homes each year. The University of Wyoming in 2009 took the first steps toward a separate building for a new center that will house a large, closed-loop wind tunnel. “We do everything with wind resources, from how to capture it to how it gets converted from wind to electric,” says Jonathan Naughton, center director and an associate professor of mechanical engineering. He compares current wind technology to airplane technology prior to widespread introduction of the jet. Wind turbines may be in their third generation, but the technology is not yet mature. Opportunities abound in the field, from materials to aerodynamics to aeroelastics to extracting more energy to protecting turbines from damage, Naughton says. A big push involves building better models of low-atmosphere winds that turbines reach. Wind speed is rated on a scale from one to seven. “We have some really high-end Class 7 winds, but they are up in the mountains and remote,” says Ed Werner, director of the Wyoming Wind Working Group. “But we have lots of Class 5 and Class 6 winds, where there is not just a lot of good power but a consistency we did not expect. There are some really interesting discoveries on the reliability of those winds.”
By the Numbers No. 7 Rank in U.S. for existing wind-energy capacity
200 Number of existing turbines
171 Turbines in projects under construction
85,200 Potential capacity in megawatts of Wyoming wind-power generation Source: American Wind Energy Association
Jonathan Naughton is director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming.
Weather Forecasting Supercomputer center puts Wyoming at the forefront of atmospheric research
Story by Pamela Coyle
supercomputing center in Cheyenne will extend the I-25 tech corridor into southeast Wyoming, give researchers a powerful tool for studying climate and cement the University of Wyoming’s reputation in computational and geosciences. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is building a supercomputing center dedicated to key topics such as climate change, air
quality and severe weather – and possible ways to mitigate them. Once it opens, possibly in early 2012, university researchers will get 20 percent of the computational time on a world-class computer that academic and industry leaders predict will be a magnet for tech firms. “What will happen in and around Cheyenne is that NCAR will demonstrate it, and people will want to see it and be near it,” says Bill Gern,
University of Wyoming vice president of research and economic development. Landing the project was a big coup. Several universities along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains were in the running, but a partnership with Cheyenne LEADS, the state, the university, Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power put together a winning proposal. “Wyoming has abundant electricity and fiber optic capacity,” says Randy
MORE INSIGHT DATA BOOST As an incentive to attract new data centers, Wyoming offers three-year grants of up to $2.25 million to offset the costs of broadband and power. The program, which started in July 2009, is administered by the Wyoming Business Council. The Managed Data Center Cost Reduction Program requires companies to submit their business
plans to the council and meet minimum matching requirements of payroll expenses and capital investment. Three levels of grants are available: $2.25 million, $1.5 million and $700,000. For more information, contact the Wyoming Business Council at (307) 777-2864 or www.wyomingbusiness.org.
Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS. “We have a base to build around.” NCAR needs more power because its existing supercomputing center at the Mesa Lab in Boulder is maxed out. The computational scale is mindboggling: The existing lab can handle 15 “teraflops” per second. The new facility will boost that to 1,000 teraflops, or one quadrillion computations per second. That is a one with 15 zeroes. Big power will help answer big questions, and when it comes to
climate, plenty need solving. “The questions that science is asking have changed dramatically,” says Lawrence Buja, a software engineer in NCAR’s climate change research section. “Before it was ‘Is climate change really occurring?’ and all the tools were built for that. Now the questions are ‘What are the impacts, how quick are the impacts and what are our options and limitations?”’ NCAR plans to run simulations and create four-dimensional models, the fourth being time, to help answer
questions about forest ecosystems, biofuels, glacial melting and population sustainability, looking forward 100 years or so. The supercomputer’s vast power will look at such questions on a much finer scale, Buja says, down to specific communities living in the watershed of a specific glacier. Other areas of inquiry include improved hurricane forecasting, regional wind studies for optimal turbine siting and space weather that impacts largescale electrical installations.
Above: Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS, stands at the site where the National Center for Atmospheric Research is building a supercomputing center. The center will help scientists with research on a range of environmental and atmospheric topics, including climate change and severe weather. The center is expected to be a magnet for drawing even more technology enterprise to Cheyenne.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSIT Y
‘GREEN’ DATA CENTER SETS STANDARD FOR ENERGY USE
University of Wyoming scientists have some ideas of their own. Modeling how to sequester carbon dioxide is at the top. Not only is Wyoming replete with coal, but the state also has saline aquifers at a depth to safely store carbon dioxide while it becomes “mineralized,” Gern says. Wind research is another big target. The supercomputer will allow more precise modeling of how airflow moves on blades, information that will help boost turbine efficiency. Wyoming already has top talent in computational science, fluid flow and porous media and is continuing to recruit, Gern says. Building the center is expected to
cost about $60 million, with a 20-year price tag that tops $500 million, including the computers, staff and upgrades. But the economic impact may be far greater. “Never in LEADS history has there been a project that has the potential to bring about as profound a change to our regions and state as NCAR,” Bruns says. “It really is a certification to the rest of the world about our technological capability.”
What’s Onlinee See how Green House Data is changing an industry at imageswyoming.com.
Data centers are energy hogs. The most recent EPA estimates say the nation’s data centers use the same amount of power each year as nearly 6 million average homes. The technology infrastructure itself accounts for half; cooling data storage areas sucks up the other 50 percent. Shawn Mills has a better way. Green House Data in Cheyenne is run by electricity from local wind farms, supplemented by renewable energy credits the company buys. The company’s first 500-square-foot unit is filled. Clients include Handel Information Technologies, IDES, AristaTek Inc., the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the National Outdoor Leadership School and even a company based in Dubai. A 2,000-square-foot building went online in September 2009. Green House’s plans include 10,000 total square feet in Cheyenne and expansion to two other locations where there are renewable power resources, says Mills, the company’s president and founder. Green House also is adding its own wind-generation capacity, two 50-kilowatt turbines to power the data center’s cooling plant. Mills estimates Green House uses 60 percent less energy than a comparable center using traditional power. Energy efficiency is built into the design and includes air-side economizers, step-down servers and storage networks, hot isle heat containment and modular build components. The company offers co-location and managed hosting. “Most companies looking at data center opportunities don’t want to build their own,” Mills says. “A lot are moving from owning IT hardware to having us own and manage it.” – Pamela Coyle IMAGESWYOMING.COM
Precision Industry A diverse base of manufacturers is drawn by Wyoming’s many advantages
Story by Joe Morris
What’s O Online Learn more about manufacturers that have found success in the Cowboy State at imageswyoming.com.
pecial Operations has been designing and making emergency-operations equipment for 22 years in Wyoming. With clients around the world, the Codybased company could set up shop anywhere, but chooses to remain in Wyoming for multiple reasons, says Stu Alan, chief operations officer. “This is the greatest place to be; we have phenomenal employees, and working with the state is really nice because they’re very helpful,” Alan says. “The tax base makes it worthwhile, and they’re always finding ways to make things happen for us.” It is a relatively small slice of the state’s economy, but manufacturing in Wyoming includes a diverse group of innovative and growing companies.
Wyoming manufacturers get a boost from a number of state initiatives, notably Manufacturing-Works, a nonprofit that focuses on improving the four P’s – processes, products, performance and people – through a range of programs and services. The organization’s Lean program, for example, can help companies achieve up to 20 percent cost savings by implementing certain measures. Eureka! Ranch is designed to help small manufacturers get innovative products in the pipeline. Another program focuses on health and safety, including an OSHA-certified trainer on staff to help companies identify and eliminate problems, says Larry Stewart, center director. Manufacturing-Works (www.manufacturingworks.com) is a partnership with the National
Right: Larry Stewart is director of Manufacturing-Works, an initiative that assists Wyoming companies.
Wyoming is home to manufacturing as diverse as environmentally friendly pet products and aviation.
Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the Wyoming Business Council and University of Wyoming. The organization maintains six offices across the state. Aviat Aircraft Inc. develops, manufactures and services sport and utility aircraft in a 72,000-square-foot facility in Afton. The company says availability of labor with experience in light aircraft is a key advantage. Brunton, a manufacturer of camping equipment, built a new facility near the Wind River Mountains in Riverton. “There are many tax advantages to conducting business in Wyoming, but more than that the people that live here are a breed apart – strong, agile and not afraid to roll up their sleeves,” says Jason Kintzler, brand manager. “That work ethic is a tremendous asset to any company, including Brunton, and it’s the reason we’re confident that we will be able to continue to grow our business,” he says. One of the state’s newer players, Little Bits Inc., also showcases the state’s diverse manufacturing sector. The Buffalo company, launched in 2008 by Joseph and Shelly St. Pierre,
manufacturers environmentally friendly cat litter and has been so successful that it’s already moving into new product lines. “We wanted to have an economic impact in our local community, and we wanted something that would be stable regardless of what was happening with the energy industry around here,” says Shelly St. Pierre, a Wyoming native. The business got up and running in
a facility leased from the city of Buffalo and Johnson County’s joint powers board, which has worked closely with the new venture. “The Wyoming Business Council gave us a lot of guidance and support, and the Wyoming Small Business Development Center was instrumental,” she says. ‘‘We have had total support and have tried to utilize all the resources Wyoming has to offer – and there are a lot.”
When You Want Wyoming WEB DIRECTORY IS PORTAL TO PRODUCTS MADE IN THE COWBOY STATE From American Cowboy Coffee to Chugwater Chili to souvenir antler whistles and elk antler belt buckles to handmade leather products and home furnishings, if you want authentic Wyoming goods, Wyoming First has them. A program of the Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming First identifies and showcases a cross-section of food, craft, home décor, personal care and fashion products with a distinctly Cowboy State flavor. The program is designed to assist Wyoming companies with the identification and promotion of products made in or substantially enhanced in the state. Participating businesses are allowed to use the familiar “Bucking Horse and Rider” design stickers and hang tags on their products. Wyoming First is a portal to a cross- section of businesses that sell uniquely Wyoming items. Kolts Fine Spirits in Sheridan, for example, markets its Koltiska Original and KO 90 lines of liqueurs.
Martin’s Glass House sells the Don’t Throw Stones functional, wearable display art that includes glass jewelry, bowls, platters, buttons, pottery, stem gems, zipper flippers and other beaded items. Western Trends in LaGrange creates homemade items, including quilts, rope baskets, vases, clocks, lamps, bowls, coasters, etched glass and mirrors. NannyKid Farms in Kaycee raises Toggenburg dairy goats and sells a line of goat-milk soaps, lip balms, healing salve and other natural products. More than 300 businesses participate in the program, which costs $35 for a two-year membership. Members also receive advance notification of marketing initiatives, opportunities to exhibit at a reduced cost at trade shows and space on the Wyoming First Web site at www.wyomingfirst.org. For more information, contact Annie Wood at the Wyoming Business Council at (307) 777-2844 or email@example.com. IMAGESWYOMING.COM
Small Footprint, Big Impact State pours resources into assisting entrepreneurs Story by Joe Morris Photography by Jeff Adkins
mall businesses are big news in Wyoming, and plenty of resources are available across the state to help them survive and thrive. WyomingEntrepreneur.biz , a network that spreads out from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center and includes the Wyoming Business Council, University of Wyoming and U.S. Small Business Administration, offers counseling and other services online, through six regional offices and through consultants who can travel to meet clients at their locations. Its GRO-Biz Procurement Technical Assistance Center helps entrepreneurs navigate the tricky process of securing government contracts, while its Wyoming Market Research Center offers everything from basic research to competitive intelligence to project reports. “We’ve created the online place to go for entrepreneurs in Wyoming,” says Diane Wolverton, director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center. “We’re looking at what businesses are going to want from us not just today, but tomorrow.” The Wyoming Technology Business Center is a not-forprofit incubator based in Laramie that focuses on nurturing high-tech companies. While much of the incubator’s work is focused in Sheridan and Laramie, it also has rolled out a networking organization, Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur, to bring in people there and elsewhere to share ideas and information. An enthusiastic early response has led to more chapters being explored around the state, proving that all of Wyoming is a fertile entrepreneurial site, says Jon Benson,
“If you’re a startup, I can’t think of a better place to go than Wyoming.” the center’s chief executive officer. “This state is made up of small businesses, and everybody’s really focused on helping them grow and develop,” Benson says. “We’re really focusing on growing our own in Wyoming.” Medicine Bow Technologies, which provides software, hardware and network solutions to health-care providers, has grown to 12 employees since its founding in November 2006. Its major work now is to move electronic medical records systems into physician offices, says Bill Winn, director of operations. Having incubator space in Laramie was a game changer for Medicine Bow. “It was critical, because there was no other data-center space here that would have been suitable,” Winn says. “We would have had to go into Colorado, several hours away.” By having a reliable, secure physical plant, as well as startup assistance, the company was able to begin a rapid upward trajectory. “You have financial, advertising, marketing expertise that you’d be hard pressed as a startup to find at any price, and here it’s just part of the package,” Winn says. “If you’re a startup, I can’t think of a better place to go than Wyoming.”
Kent Henry, president and CEO of Pronghorn Technologies, works in the company’s lab at the Wyoming Technology Business Center.
State of Wonders Wyoming corners the market on natural assets, recreation
Story by Claire Ratliff
J. KYLE KEENER
yoming is replete with arts, parks and rich history in every corner. Cultural attractions, recreational opportunities and abundant natural assets offer a variety of experiences throughout the state. Wyoming boasts more than 18 million acres of public land, historic sites and 35 state parks. Lakes across the state offer bountiful watersports and recreation. “Every corner of the state has historic, even prehistoric sites,” says Gary Shoene of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources. Old military installations, the Carissa gold mine and dinosaur excavations beckon visitors, as do museums, art galleries, Old West experiences and festivals of all stripes. Yellowstone was named the first national park in 1872, and 19 years later, Shoshone became the first national forest. Wyoming now has nine national forests. Devil’s Tower in Northeast Wyoming became the first national
monument in 1906. Yellowstone, in the Northwest portion of the state, is one of the Earth’s most extraordinary natural wonders. Best known for geothermal marvels including Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone boasts thickly forested mountains and crystalline lakes. Jackson Hole is the quintessential Wyoming town, steeped in Old West tradition. The gateway to Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole hosts more than 3 million visitors annually. Skiing is a popular winter activity at one of several resorts in Teton County. The headwaters of the Snake River are located in Teton County. The river offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing and relaxed, scenic floating. Also located in Northwest Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park has world-renowned scenery, with its spectacular jagged peaks, pristine lakes and bountiful wildlife. Bordered by the Big Horn Mountains, South Dakota, Montana and the Thunder Basin National
A rafting trip on the Green River in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is one of the many ways to experience nature up close in Wyoming.
“Every corner of the state has
Grassland, the Powder River and Devils Tower National Monument, where the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind was filmed, entice visitors to Northwest Wyoming. With a long American Indian heritage, the region is home to historic sites and points of interest, including Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Bridger’s Ferry and Fort Phil Kearny, which hosts the annual Bozeman Trail Days. Walk in the steps of the Sundance Kid in the town where he got his name. Visit Gillette for hunting, camping and bird watchers. Cheyenne, state capital and home to the annual Frontier Days Rodeo, is a gateway for visitors entering on
Interstate 80. Prairies of Southeast Wyoming give way to several mountain ranges. The towns of Laramie, Saratoga, Encampment, Sinclair and Rawlins have a frontier flavor. A stark landscape and vast natural treasures, including mineral riches and ancient fossils, fill Southwest Wyoming. Fossil Butte National Monument and Fort Bridger, the last stop in Wyoming for early pioneers traversing the country, give a sense of history. Visitors can see some 2,000 wild horses that live in the region’s management areas. “We’re blessed with all the seasons, offering recreational opportunities year round,” says Shoene.
A bison grazes along the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.
historic, even prehistoric sites.”
Class Outdoors LEADERSHIP SCHOOL PUTS IMMERSION IN NATURE IN ITS LESSON PLAN Once he discovered the National Outdoor Leadership School, Matthew Copeland knew he’d found his calling. “I was introduced to NOLS Rocky Mountain by a friend at a time when I wasn’t sure what to do,” Copeland says. “After graduating two programs, I decided to make myself useful around here. I just fell in love with it.” Now the marketing director and an instructor, Copeland is part of a team of adventurers that facilitates outdoor skills development, leadership training and an environmental ethos based on “leave no trace.” NOLS (www.nols.edu) takes people of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, from mountaineering, rock climbing and kayaking, to rafting, sailing, skiing and horsepacking in spectacular outdoor locales across the world, including several in Wyoming. Legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded his outdoor school in Lander in 1965. On the banks of the Pop Agie River in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, Lander is remote but easily accessible.
The nonprofit educational institution has 14 operational bases worldwide, with courses ranging from 10 days to a full academic year, with the standard model a 30-day expedition. Wyoming is ideal for whitewater travel, mountaineering, canyoneering, backpacking, rock climbing and backcountry skiing. “Real, impactful learning happens through doing,” Copeland says. “Students develop mastery through doing. We teach them to approach the wilderness safely, comfortably and ethically.” NOLS Rocky Mountain also operates the Three Peaks Ranch, a working ranch that is home to horsepacking courses. The ranch in Boulder, Wyo., also has a logistical capacity, supporting other expeditions with supplies on horseback. “The world has opened up to me because of the skills I learned here,” Copeland says. – Claire Ratliff
Work Where You Want To Live Advanced technology keeps entrepreneurs close to home and customers
Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Jeff Adkins
achary Pullen is an illustrator who paints front covers for bigname print clients in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Those clients include Esquire magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and publishing company Simon & Schuster. And Pullen does all of his artistic work from home in Casper. Wyoming is blessed with spectacular natural beauty and wide-open spaces, free of the noise, congestion and crime of major metro areas. But underpinning its stellar quality of life is a sophisticated and technologically advanced business infrastructure that allows entrepreneurs such as Pullen the freedom to work where they
want to live. A $29 million state investment, for example, produced a statewide high-speed telecommunications network. “I can live anywhere given the career I’m in, but I grew up in Wyoming and love the Casper area,” Pullen says. “So I oil-paint my magazine and book covers and then overnight-mail my finished works to clients.” Pullen attended art school in Ohio. He moved back to Wyoming briefly and married his wife, Renate. The couple moved to New York, where they lived for seven years while Pullen established himself. “I needed to be close to potential clients and the publishing world,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to get a
Right: Cyclists walk their bikes down a pedestrian bridge in Laramie. Far top right: A Ferris wheel against the night sky at the annual Jubilee Days celebration in downtown Laramie Bottom right: Getting ready for a hike in Medicine Bow National Forest
What’s Onlinee See video of Laramie’s Jubilee Days Festival at imageswyoming.com.
Jackson Hole Airport 1250 E. Airport Rd. Jackson, WY 83001 (307) 733-7682 www.jacksonholeairport.com
Established in the 1930s, the Jackson Hole Airport offered its first commercial flight in 1943. Since that time it has served as a transportation hub for Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and the greater Jackson area. The Jackson Hole Airport is located nine miles north of the town of Jackson at the foot of the majestic Teton range in Grand Teton National Park. As a gateway for Northwest Wyoming, the Jackson Hole Airport is served by multiple commercial carriers including American, Delta, Frontier, Mesa, Skywest and United Airlines. In addition, private aircraft are served by Jackson Hole Aviation, a full-service FBO. The Jackson Hole Airport offers passengers wireless Internet, on-site rental cars, a restaurant and two gift shops.
(307) 742-4164 www.laramieairport.com
“Shovel ready” building sites available in our Airport Business Park
contract to illustrate my first children’s book, then my workload kept mushrooming from there.” Around the time his son, Hudson, turned 2, Pullen says his career had become successful enough for the family to return to Wyoming. “We specifically decided upon Casper,” he says. “I love the four seasons, and you can’t beat summer nights with the crisp, clean air. So I’m actually leading a New York business lifestyle but living in Wyoming. It’s a really nice gig.” Wyoming finished third among the 50 states in CQ Press’ 2007 and 2008 Most Livable State rankings, based on 44 economic, educational, health-related, public safety, and environmental statistics ranging from median household income to crime rate to sunny days. Those factors are enough to keep long-time Laramie resident and entrepreneur Mike Kmetz in place. Kmetz is the owner of Integrated Design Engineering Systems, or IDES, which developed an Internet search engine for the plastics and chemical industries. “If you are an engineer at John Deere looking for plastic to make a farm implement widget, you would go to our IDES.com Web site and search for the best plastic based on your engineering requirements,” Kmetz says. He founded his company in Laramie in 1986 and says he has never thought about moving anywhere else because the quality of life is so excellent. Kmetz says that besides a protechnology way of thinking that exists in Laramie, he likes the idea that residents can virtually leave their doors unlocked, hit the ski trails on their lunch hour or go fishing or hiking after work. “It’s really like that around here. Ask any of the 20 people at my company, and you’ll pretty much get the same answer,” he says. “Wyoming is just a great place to live, work and play. It really is.”
State of Ease 532,668 Population in 2008, up 8 percent since 2000
$52,433 Median household income in 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau
117,398 Acreage of state parks and historic sites
17.6 Average commute time in Wyoming, fifth lowest among all states Access to technology lets Casper-based illustrator Zachary Pullen reach clients anywhere in the world.
Getting To Know WYOMING COLORS THE ARTS IN EVERY CORNER OF THE STATE Wyoming offers a number of renowned cultural and arts attractions. Here’s a small sample.
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING ART CENTER www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum The University of Wyoming Art Museum is housed in the striking Centennial Complex on the university campus in Laramie. The 7,000-item collection includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photography, crafts, and folk and decorative art across a range of cultures and periods. Works by American, European and Japanese artists, as well as 18th and 19th century Persian and Indian miniature paintings, 20th century photography, and African and American Indian artifacts are part of the collection. The museum also hosts special programs, lectures, workshops and classes.
NICOLAYSEN ART MUSEUM & DISCOVERY CENTER www.thenic.org Housed in a 25,000-square-foot, circa-1920s building in Casper, the museum consists of eight galleries with special exhibitions that change approximately every 90 days. Its permanent collection emphasizes works created by local and regional artists or artists with strong ties to the region. The Discovery Center is designed to promote arts to children and includes classes and programs as well as hands-on activities such as watercolor painting, crayon rubbing, a sandbox, magnetic wall with Fractiles, handpuppet crafting and a puppet theater.
NELSON MUSEUM OF THE WEST www.nelsonmuseum.com Wyoming native Robert L. Nelson, a lawyer, hunter and avid collector of Western art and artifacts, founded the museum in an 18,000-squarefoot building in Cheyenne.
The museum’s 6,000-piece collection includes cowboy and American Indian objects, Western art, weaponry, firearms and military displays. The museum’s Dream Catcher Fund solicits cash and in-kind donations to finance the preservation and promotion of Western heritage and support humanitarian activities.
THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS www.jhcenterforthearts.org The downtown Jackson facility includes a 41,000-square-foot Arts & Education Pavilion with six visual arts studios, four dance studios, five classrooms and administrative space. The Performing Arts Pavilion includes a 525-seat theater, a music center and theater rehearsal space. The center is a multi-tenant facility housing, hosting and partnering with 17 local, state and regional not-forprofit arts-related organizations that provide a broad spectrum of programming in a collaborative environment. IMAGESWYOMING.COM
Remote Concerns Online options add to community colleges’ classroom mix Story by Joe Morris
yoming’s strong network of seven community colleges and satellite campuses gives employers and workers a leg up on success in the classroom and through distance-learning initiatives. By tapping workforce development programs and other services, businesses can ensure that their employees will have the skills they need to be competitive. And as the colleges follow economic trends in the state, they’re also preparing new material to meet emerging
areas of demand. “I think the community colleges are the foundation of workforce training in the state. We do everything from very basic adult education to issuing career-readiness certificates,” says Maryellen Tast, dean of the Center for Workforce and Professional Development at Laramie County Community College. Tast notes the college is developing programs in emerging industries such as wind-energy technology and in high-demand fields such as health care.
“We work with business and industry to identify skills needed, integrate those skills into our curriculum and then work with secondary schools to align their curriculum with the skills that employers require,” Tast says. “That way, we’ve got those pathways being developed earlier all the time. We want to make sure that we have career pathways ready for people – both hard and soft skills – so that everyone can become successful.” Small businesses and entrepreneurs
WYOMING’S PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING Laramie www.uwyo.edu
EASTERN WYOMING COLLEGE Torrington www.ewc.wy.edu
CASPER COLLEGE Casper www.caspercollege.edu
LARAMIE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE Cheyenne www.lccc.cc.wy.us
CENTRAL WYOMING COLLEGE Riverton www.cwc.edu
NORTHWEST COLLEGE Powell www.northwestcollege.edu
NORTHERN WYOMING COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT Sheridan www.sheridan.edu WESTERN WYOMING COMMUNITY COLLEGE Rock Springs www.wwcc.cc.wy.us
Laramie County Community College is helping to meet the need for skilled workers in wind-energy technology. P H O T O B Y B R I A N M c C O R D
benefit from traditional classroom and virtual programs, says Dr. Kevin Drumm, president of the Northern Wyoming Community College District in Sheridan. Introduction to Entrepreneurism, a class that was launched in early 2009, generated high interest, Drumm says. â€œWe have ongoing support for businesses that were just started prior to that class being offered, or started in conjunction with the class,â€? he says. In its first months, the class saw three startups launch from among its students, and three that were already up and running grow to the next level of success. The coursework now consists of several online modules, which students can take as stand-alone
Training Wheels classes or fold into other coursework related to obtaining a business degree that concentrates on entrepreneurship. “It provides a new direction, another dimension of workforce training,” Drumm says. “These people are out there in the workforce; they just happen to be working for themselves. It’s a different aspect of economic development, but it helps keep more businesses here in the community and makes Sheridan a magnet for entrepreneurs.” While all the colleges have similar goals, they offer very diverse classes and programs that reflect the needs of
CENTER’S OFFERINGS INCLUDE COMMERCIAL DRIVER CLASSES
the communities they serve, says Dr. Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. “We have major employers who need certain types of training,” Rose says. “But we are also continuing to develop the whole idea of longdistance education, so that someone in one part of the state can take a class elsewhere without having to go to that campus,” he says. “That also is helping us tie into more businesses, so we can take care of the needs of the state as a whole.”
The colorful Rock Springs campus of Western Wyoming Community College, one of the state’s seven community colleges and major provider of workforce training
Dependable, well-trained workers are key to the success of Wyoming’s varied industrial base, and the McMurry Training Center continues to meet – and anticipate – those needs. The center, operated by the Wyoming Contractors Association, provides short-term training programs that prepare students for careers in the construction, energy and transportation fields. Customized programs allow for short but comprehensive training periods that provide hands-on experience. The center works with industries throughout the state to place graduates and customize and create training modules to meet specific needs, says Chris Corlis, general manager. “Right now we’re doing commercial driver’s license training and heavy equipment operator training,” Brown says. “Because of lower energy prices, a lot of our oil and gas programs have dropped off, so we’re partnering with other companies for safety and basic programs.” The center provides recruitment, screening, training and placement for a business or industry, trainers and facilities for clients that have their own programs in place. The center also leases its facilities to clients that have their own training staff and curriculum. Having that flexibility makes the center nimble, something its industry partners appreciate in any economy. Strong working relationships with clients continues to be key. “We have really good partnerships with our industries,” Corlis says. “And by taking things on a caseby-case basis,” he says, “we’ve been able to be very successful with a lot of companies.” – Joe Morris IMAGESWYOMING.COM
Every Corner Covered Health network offers quality care across the state Story by Joe Morris
yoming may not have a lot of people compared to other states, but its hospital population puts more densely populated areas to shame. High-quality facilities can be found throughout the state, which has 27 acute-care hospitals, many publicly owned. The state’s hospitals are a major economic force. A 2006 Wyoming Hospital Association study found the health-care sector accounted for more than 10 percent of all employment in the state, contributed $445 million to the economy through payroll and benefits, and generated an overall impact of $1.45 billion. In addition, organizations such as the hospital association, Wyoming Health Resources Network and Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network work to tie various facilities together and promote initiatives that strengthen the entire system. “We work to make sure the hospitals are able to operate and provide good quality care for our citizens and are always exploring new initiatives to help make that happen,” says Dan Perdue, president of the Wyoming Hospital Association. One initiative under way is creation of a patient safety organization for the state that would work with the Rocky Mountain Patient Safety Organization in Colorado to prevent hospital errors and minimize the damage if and when they do occur. “Patient safety and quality is an issue we want to be involved in,” Perdue says. Wyoming hospitals admissions numbered more than 52,000 in 2007, up 20 percent
from a decade earlier. Access to quality care is not confined to the major population centers. The 14 mainly rural hospitals that are part of the Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network provide treatment close to home for local residents. The network, an affiliate of the hospital association, is run in partnership with the Wyoming Office of Rural Health and practitioners affiliated with the Wyoming Health Resources Network, which has worked since 1995 to connect health-care professionals with hospitals, clinics and facilities in the state, says Pennie Hunt, executive director. The network was created when state officials, educators, the hospital association and groups representing doctors and nurses banded together to help rural communities with the sometimes difficult task of recruiting physicians and other health providers. The network participated in the placement of more than 160 health-care providers, including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 22 of the 23 Wyoming counties. Support such as that at every level for facilities and practitioners makes Wyoming a very attractive place to start or relocate a practice, Perdue says. “I’ve been here 18 years and have always been impressed with the collegiality that exists among the facilities in this state,” he says. “Because of our limited resources, we really do rely on each other to get the job done. People here are always willing to exchange information and provide the best quality care for our citizens, and that really shows.”
Picture of Health WYOMING HOSPITALS BY THE NUMBERS
27 Number of acute-care hospitals in the state
$1.45B Economic impact of Wyoming hospitals on the state’s economy
52,000 Hospital admissions in the state in 2007
228,000 Patients treated in Wyoming ERs in 2007
Major freight rail service is one of Wyomingâ€™s many transportation advantages.
Making the Earth Move State sprouts a bumper crop of prime industrial parks
Story by Pamela Coyle • Photography by Jeff Adkins
ith major rail freight service, a statewide high-speed communications network and 10 commercial air facilities, Wyoming is not only wide open, it is wide open for business. In Cody, Yellowstone Regional Airport broke ground in August on a $5.6 million terminal that will open in 2011, says James Klessens, president and CEO of Forward Cody. The 28,000-square-foot facility will more than double existing terminal space, and the older building can be reconfigured for offices as part of the Airport Industrial Park. The site has 36 acres broken into lots from 4 to 7 acres, Klessens says. With 66 ready acres, North Cody Industrial Park is getting $3 million in water improvements and already has a Burlington Northern rail spur. “Because of our Old West history, firearms manufacturing is one target, also companies that build outdoor products, and climbing gear,” Klessen says. “It would be an ideal location.” Casper is home to one of the biggest new developments, the 700-acre Casper Logistics Hub, which includes the CTRAN rail yard and transloading facility. Already, shipments of huge wind turbines and other big equipment have been off-loaded in Casper. “A few years ago, someone needed to deliver 150 miles of pipe in here, and they had to offload it in Sidney, Neb., and truck it in. This is a much-needed facility,” says Neil McMurry, a principal with Granite Peak Development LLC,
which put together the project. The Casper area has multiple industrial parks: By Pass Industrial Park, with five sites left on 66 acres; Cole Creek Industrial Park in Evansville, with 65 acres; Burd Road Industrial Park in Casper, with 44 acres; and East Lathrop Addition, which has another 42 acres in Evansville. All corners of Wyoming are tapping into similar assets for commercial development. The 900-acre Cheyenne Business Parkway has 300 acres available in parcels ranging up to 50 acres. The park has access to I-80 and I-25. The nearby North Range Business Park consists of 21 sites on 620 acres; about 374 acres are available in sizes from 11 to 100 acres. The park is next to the I-80/I-25 crossroads and has its own I-80 interchange. To the north, Gillette has at least eight business or industrial parks with 50 acres or more, including Gillette Energy Park, a 330acre development with rail service. In Upton County, Weston received a grant from the Wyoming Business Council to buy 550 acres for an industrial park that now is home of a company producing biomass from wood. It has rail access, says Linda Harris, director of Northeast Wyoming Economic Development Coalition. The coalition represents five counties, including Converse County, where a new business park adjacent to I-25 houses a small airstrip and an airplane kit manufacturer. “Companies always want to know about access to transportation,” Harris says.
913.6 Interstate miles that cross Wyoming
3 Major interstate routes providing access to markets – I-25, I-80 and I-90
2 Class I railroads that serve the state – the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe
10 Number of commercial airports among the state’s 36 total airport facilities
It’s a Coal New Story GE Energy, University of Wyoming team up on research effort
Story by Pamela Coyle
E Energy and the University of Wyoming are partners in a $100 million project that aims to advance gasification technology, particularly for coals from the Powder River Basin. The High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center will be built on land provided by economic development organization Cheyenne LEADS in the 900-acre Cheyenne Business Parkway industrial park. The research facility, which would be a small-scale gasification plant, is expected to be fully operational in 2012. Coal gasification is getting attention as the world searches to reduce carbon emissions. Gasification offers a solution because the waste stream, which includes carbon dioxide, is easier to process and sequester, or capture, than the byproducts of traditional coal-fired power generation. The ability to capture carbon and store it, possibly deep in underground saltwater aquifers, is what gives gasification technology its appeal as a cleaner energy source. Wyoming is a good home for research into clean coal technologies. Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s coal comes from Wyoming and more than a third of the coal used to produce electricity in the United States comes from the Powder River Basin. The coal is abundant and accessible.
It also has a high moisture content, which makes the coal challenging for some gasification systems. The High Plains Center, about 1/100th the size of a fullscale plant, will test a different method of feeding the coal into the gasification chamber along with oxygen and steam. “Our partnership is extremely important for Wyoming,” says Bill Gern, vice president of research and economic development at the University of Wyoming. “And GE Energy is very interested in advancing the next generation of gasification technology.” The gasification project will be part of the School of Energy Resources, which in August 2009 received a competitive $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study carbon sequestration. Powder River Basin coal is not only moisture-rich, it also has a lower energy content than some other coals, and the higher altitude affects the gasification process. “We are thrilled,” says Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS. Competition for the project was fierce, and when GE and the University of Wyoming put out a request for proposals, LEADS already had 35 properly zoned, shovel-ready acres that fit the bill. The project will create an immediate economic boost by
The University of Wyoming has teamed with GE Energy on a $100 million coal technology research project. P H O T O B Y J E F F A D K I N S
Come to Douglas, Wyoming â€“ the center of wind, uranium, oil, gas and coal development.
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(307) 358-2000 WWW.CANDOWYOMING.COM
S TA F F P H O T O
adding about 300 construction jobs, but the long-term potential is far greater. LEADS says the known coal reserves in Wyoming could power the entire United States for 200 years or more. Other companies have that resource in their sights, too. In September 2009, Casper-based GasTech Inc. and Linc Energy of Australia announced separate plans for an underground coal gasification test project in the Powder River Basin. The GE Energy project is different because it involves public partners and taxpayer money. LEADS donated the land to the University of Wyoming, and the state, through the university, will pitch in $50 million for the demonstration plant. Bruns says it is a wise investment. “We’ve chosen to be at the front end of research to solve problems rather than just defend our resource. That is forethought,” he says. “Wyoming is investing in the research into how to cleanly use carbon and what may be next.”
Wyoming Coal Production 500
chart is in millions of short tons
0 Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s coal comes from Wyoming.
Source: U.S. Energy Administration
MORE INSIGHT A POWER IN ENERGY RESEARCH UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING www.uwyo.edu Main campus: Laramie Enrollment: 13,000 undergraduates
Faculty: 666 Academics: 180 programs of study; offers graduate and doctoral programs in several energy-related fields including atmospheric science, geophysics
and petroleum, civil, mechanical, chemical, electrical and environmental engineering Research: More than $72 million in external contracts and grants in fiscal year 2007
ECONOMIC PROFILE BUSINESS SNAPSHOT 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.
POPULATION 2008: 532,668 2000: 493,782 Change: 7.9 percent
LARGEST CITIES Cheyenne, 55,314 Casper, 52,089 Laramie, 25,688
ECONOMY Gross Domestic Product (2008), $35.3 billion Retail sales (2007), $9 billion Rate of new firms as percentage of existing firms, 12.4% Annual inflation rate (2007), 6.1% Exports (2007), $802 million
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYERS 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 EMPLOYERS 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
Union Pacific Railroad, 686 Walmart Distribution, 680 National Outdoor Leadership School, 650 TIC The Industrial Co., 600 Key Energy, 620 General Chemical, 531 Sugarland Enterprises, 480 Ivinson Memorial Hospital, 473 West Park Hospital, 450
MAJOR INDUSTRY SECTORS 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 (2007) Civilian labor force, 288,976 Average annual pay, $36,110
What’s Onlinee For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on Wyoming, go to imageswyoming.com and click on Economic Profile.
advertisers Casper Area Economic Development Alliance www.casperworks.biz
Mountain West Farm Bureau www.mwfbi.com
Cheyenne Leads www.cheyenneleads.org/other-ed/ online-links.php
PacifiCorp – Rocky Mountain Power www.rockymtnpower.net
Converse Area New Development Organization www.candowyoming.com
The Plains Hotel www.theplainshotel.com
First Interstate Bank www.fib.com
University of Wyoming – Public Relations Division www.uwyo.edu
Gillette Campbell County Airport www.iflygillette.com
Wyoming Business Council www.whywyoming.org
Jackson Hole Airport www.jacksonholeairport.com
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services www.wyomingworkforce.org
Laramie Regional Airport www.laramieairport.com
Wyoming Health Resources Network www.whrn.org
Ad Index C 2 C A S P E R A R E A ECO N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T A L LI A N C E
3 0 C H E Y E N N E L E A DS
4 6 CO N V E R S E A R E A N E W D E V E LO P M E N T O RGA N IZ ATI O N
4 FI R S T I N T E R S TAT E B A N K
4 GILLETTE CAMPBELL CO U N T Y A I R P O RT
4 8 M O U N TA I N W E S T FA R M B U R E AU 1 PAC I FI CO R P – RO C K Y M O U N TA I N P OW E R C 3 T H E P L A I N S H OT E L C 4 U N I V E R S IT Y O F W YO M I N G – P U B LI C R E L ATI O N S D I V I S I O N 24 W YO M I N G B U S I N E S S CO U N C I L
3 4 JAC K S O N H O L E A I R P O RT
3 8 W YO M I N G D E PA RT M E N T O F WO R K FO RC E S E RV I C E S
34 LARAMIE R EG I O N A L A I R P O RT
3 8 W YO M I N G H E A LT H R E S O U RC E S N E T WO R K
Published on Dec 9, 2009
With its absence of personal and corporate income taxes, low energy costs, low operating costs and educated workforce, Wyoming offers signif...