On September 4th, the Wyoming State Chambers will be hosting their Fall Conference at the Cam-Plex. The event will bring the Wyoming Economic Development Association and Wyoming Main Street programs together for three days of networking and seminars.
Not only is this an opportunity for the Campbell County Chamber to show other Wyoming Chambers around Gillette, it will be a good community building experience. Keynote speaker Patrick McGaughey, and guest speakers like Sam Chapman from the National Association for Business Economists will be presenting to a combination of organizations that work to improve Wyoming every day.
"We're exited to host, as Gillette has not been the site of this conference for many years," says Executive Director, Gail Lofing. "This will be a chance for people from outside of Campbell County to see what we've done to improve our community."
Attendees will be touring the new Area 59 facility at Gillette College and businesses like L&H Industrial. Though the conference is Wednesday through Friday, you can choose to attend just one day, or even specifically just the Economic Development portion of the event.
Click here to register for the event or check out the conference schedule.
"We've never been so excited to see dirt moved in our entire lives," said Gillette Golf Club board member Steve Crow on Wednesday afternoon.
The 9-hole course is set to become a (hopefully, lucky) 13-hole course, with construction beginning on an expansion of the local golf club that will include a new driving range, short game practice area, and 4 additional holes. The long-term plan is to have a full back nine, but the remaining five fairways will have to be added later down the line, as it will require going under Garner Lake Road and over Donkey Creek.
As it is, the first phase of the new expansion has been decades in the making. The new driving range will border the neighboring Energy Capital Sports Complex , and the grounds will become accessible both from the Golf Club and the softball fields.
"We're on our way to a first-class facility," Crow said during today's groundbreaking.
The Chamber's mission is to "Advocate, Network, Learn, Engage, and Promote," and the key to fulfilling that mission is not just to bring marketing, networking, and educational opportunities to our members, but to make sure we're always up to date on the latest tools available to local Chamber of Commerce organizations.
The U.S. Chamber has a program called the "Institute for Organization Management," an educational opportunity hosted in different parts of the country every summer and winter. Executive Director Gail Lofing graduated from the four year program in 2010. Events & Programming manager Tracy Mathews just completed her second year in the certification, held each July at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
"IOM was an important opportunity for me because it meant training in our specific field of Chamber management," said Lofing. "It also provides us with a network of other Chamber organizations across the country."
The Campbell County Lodging Tax Joint Powers Board announces that Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CCCVB) Executive Director Mary Silvernell, whose responsibility is to market and promote Campbell County to leisure, group and sports travel, has submitted notice of her retirement this coming December 2019.
In conjunction with Silvernell’s retirement, the Campbell County Lodging Tax Joint Powers Board and the Gillette Main Street Board are announcing a partnership of the two entities under the direction of one Executive Director. Current Gillette Main Street Executive Director Jessica Seders has been named to serve as Executive Director of both organizations.
Silvernell has been the Executive Director of the CCCVB since February 1, 2010. She has served and continues to serve on several community boards, including the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition, the Campbell County CARE Board, the Public Land Board, and Devils Tower Natural History Association. Silvernell is a 2011 GALI graduate, a Leadership Wyoming 2013 graduate, and is a member of Campbell County’s Air Service Enhancement committee.
“Mary has proudly served as Executive Director for more than nine years in Campbell County. She is an accomplished executive who has partnered with lodging businesses, local sports and event organizers, and local venues and attractions to recruit more leisure travelers and groups to stay in Campbell County”, said Curtis R. Burdette, Chair of the Campbell County Lodging Tax Joint Powers Board. “Mary’s outstanding performance in budgeting, communication with stakeholders, and developing relationships with hospitality and tourism partners has benefited our communities of Gillette, Wright and all citizens of Campbell County.”
Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC has been named one of the top twenty best employers in the Senior Living industry by Lincoln, Nebraska–based healthcare-intelligence firm NRC Health. The award recognizes and ranks senior-care organizations across the country for engaging and inspiring their employees.
“We’re incredibly honored to be recognized with this award,” said BJ Schaefbauer, President of Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC. “We’ve always known that the heart of Primrose is our employees, and this distinction is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our teams throughout the Primrose family.”
“I’m so proud of the work we do together every day,” said Chipper Hill, Executive Director of Primrose of Gillette. “Our entire team here in Gillette is wonderful! Each of us is committed to making this a great place to live and work.”
Only twenty Senior Living organizations earned this prestigious distinction, of which Primrose ranked sixteenth. Winners were selected according to the results from NRC Health’s 2018 Employee Experience Survey. To qualify, organizations must have a high percentage of respondents willing to recommend their locations as places to work, which strongly correlates to employee engagement, organizational loyalty, and job satisfaction.
“In senior living, employee culture makes all the difference,” said Stephanie Kolbo, NRC Health’s Vice President of Business Development. “These organizations have developed working environments that both create and sustain employee engagement, so workers can dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to care. NRC Health commends these organizations for their dedication to their staff.”
Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC, headquartered in Aberdeen, South Dakota, provides high-quality independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities across the country which specialize in personalized services and resident-focused care. The mission of Primrose Retirement Communities is to create happy and healthy living environments for seniors. Since the opening of the first Primrose community in Aberdeen in 1991, Primrose has grown to include 40 locations in 17 states.
“In my time on the Board of Directors, I hope to keep the Chamber moving in the right direction, promoting local businesses, as well as helping attract new ones. I like to explain to local businesses the benefits of being on the Chamber. The promotion a business receives from mixers, banquet, monthly newsletter and monthly luncheons is very beneficial.
“What I've learned about the Chamber that I didn't know before I started volunteering here, is I now know more about the Convention Center & Visitor's Bureau, as well as Economic Development, and what they both bring to Gillette. ”
“Who wants to work in construction?,” asked Jason Kaufman with S & S Builders, LLC.
None of the students raised their hands.
“Who would like to be a welder?”
Hands started going up. More hands raised when Kaufman talked about mechanics, and working in the mines.
“Those are all jobs in construction,” he said. “We work at the mines all the time.”
Volunteers from the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce’s NEWCA Board of Directors talked to students from Campbell County High School CTE classes on Wednesday, about working in the skilled trades. The day was interactive, with students leading the discussion, and learning from those working in different skilled trades in Campbell County.
One student asked Knecht Home Center of Gillette's Liz Mussell: “How much exactly do you make?”
Gillette Public Access Television will be televising and streaming Campbell County High School Prom Grand March and Thunder Basin High School Prom Grand March on Saturday, May 4th. Campbell County High School Grand March can be seen on cable channel 189 at 6:00 p.m. and Thunder Basin High School Grand March can be seen on cable channel 190 at 7:00 p.m. You can stream them both live at www.gillettewy.gov/gpa.
For more information, contact Gillette Public Access Television at (307) 686-5745.
The federal Economic Development Administration has approved Energy Capital Economic Development's application for a grant to provide part of the funding for the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC).
The money will be used to help purchase the land, install infrastructure and build a facility at the Fort Union Industrial Park. This facility will provide a space for organizations to take their existing lab research and commercialize it for new and profitable products made from coal.
ACPIC will provide a space where lab research can be taken from the lab and be proven to be commercially viable. Once the process and products are proven, the next step is a commercial industrial manufacturing plant to make the product. This will provide two important parts of Campbell County's future economic growth.
"I have enjoyed hearing how the Gillette Area Leadership Institute has evolved since I was a part of it. I have always encouraged everyone to be a part of GALI, to learn about our fabulous community and all that it offers, as well as participating in the many networking and marketing opportunities that are available at an exceptional value to its members."
"I think it’s really important to educate our members and the community on the ability and success of the Chamber when it comes to advocacy. The support we’ve seen over the years from the Chamber in terms of advocating for the coal industry is incredible. I want our members and the citizens of Campbell County to understand the role the Chamber can play, and has played, in advocating for issues that matter to our community and businesses.
"Before being on the Board of Directors, I didn’t realize how much the Chamber did. Beyond the ribbon cuttings and gold bucks, there is so much more to the services and support that the Chamber provides. I do my best to educate members and the community on the great things the Chamber does for Campbell County. Cloud Peak Energy supports a number of programs in the area and encourages our employees to get involved as well.
"Cloud Peak Energy greatly benefits from having a voice at the table. The network the Chamber has provided with regard to exposure of industry issues and supporters has made a significant impact on our business."
A new study from financial technology company SmartAsset ranks the most affordable places to live in Wyoming. This is SmartAsset’s fifth annual study on the Most Affordable Places in America. These communities are ranked on an Affordability Index weighing property taxes, homeowners’ insurance fees and mortgage payments relative to income.
Gillette was ranked the second most affordable.
"In my time volunteering for the Chamber, I hope to ensure we address current issues that impact our local businesses. I also hope to expand our networking capabilities, and bring affordable education and training to our members, so they may grow in their businesses.
"Being on the Board has given me a different view of our community concerns, which allows me to see where my business might be helpful in areas I had not considered before. For example, working with staff on the Innovate & Grow Conference, allows me to educate small business owners that I might never reach otherwise.
"In my discussions with family, friends, and business acquaintances, I see how they can benefit from the Chamber's advocacy, education and support. I encourage businesses to be a part of the Chamber to help grow their visibility in the community and expand their networks."
Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums (CWAM) is excited to announce that Emily Graslie, The Field Museum’s Chief Curiosity Correspondent and host of the science YouTube channel The Brain Scoop, will be the keynote speaker at CWAM’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Gillette, Wyoming. The annual meeting will be held May 23 to 25 at CAM-PLEX, 1635 Reata Dr., and Emily will speak at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 24. Tickets will be available March 1 at CWAM-US.org.
Born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota, Emily has been a museum advocate since 2011, when she began volunteering at the University of Montana’s Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum. In 2013, she joined The Field Museum where she uses a variety of new media to communicate the importance of natural history museums with the world. Emily has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including the American Alliance of Museum's Nancy Hanks Award for Professional Excellence. She’s a six-time Webby Award honoree and nominee in the ‘Online Science/Education Channel’ and ‘Web Personality/Host’ categories; a member of the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 list in Education; and was named as a ‘Person of the Year’ in 2017 by the Chicago Tribune.
The theme for the Annual Meeting is “Energy for Impact,” focusing on re-energizing museum workers and volunteers and, in turn, energizing the public. On this topic, Emily will speak about the value of curiosity and its impactful role in museums.
Learn more about the Annual Meeting at CWAM-US.org. Tickets will be available March 1. Session proposals will be accepted through Feb. 1.
The CWAM 2019 Annual Meeting is generously supported in part by grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources; the Papers of William F. Cody; and the Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"With my time on the board, I hope to listen to our local businesses and find ways that we can help them to succeed in our community, making them as a business - as well as our community - stronger. By serving on the board I have been able to get to grow in my personal understanding of the business environment of Campbell County. This has helped me better understand my customers, and allows me to find the right solutions that we offer that best benefit them.
"I personal choose to advocate for the Chamber by serving as an Energizer, representing publicly the Chamber to our business community. I also utilize the relationships I have built in our community, to help the businesses that I work with to understand what is available to them through our local Chamber."
The Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division is proposing changes that will affect the Division’s rules, regulations and fee schedule. These proposals include modifications to the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Rules, Regulations and Fee Schedules.The Department proposes to update Chapter 13 (Presumption of Disability for Certain Diseases), due to a new statute change.
This chapter addresses the authority and hearing requirements for firefighters applying for workers’ compensation benefits. In 2017, the Wyoming Legislature passed a new statute that provides specifics regarding firefighters seeking disability or compensation for job-related injuries or diseases.
The Workers Comp rule states that hearings for firefighters applying for workers' compensation benefits will proceed under the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act. The statute that passed last year was very specific and detailed in the sorts of diseases that firefighters in Wyoming are covered for, and the procedures with which they can seek compensation, therefore the Workforce rules are very brief.
Nonetheless, the Department is seeking the public's input on these changes. The public comment period will end at close of business on August 15, 2018.
Via traditional mail, send comments to:
Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division
1510 East Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Or via email to: email@example.com.
The proposed rules may be downloaded, free of charge, by clicking here.
Mike Wandler, president of L&H Industrial, has a lot he can say about his family business. The company has grown from a six-man welding shop in Gillette, Wyoming to a global manufacturer of heavy industrial equipment with over 500 employees worldwide. Changing the direction of L&H from servicing just oil fields to manufacturing machinery is what catapulted the company in to international notoriety.
When NASA realized it needed to bring its shuttle transport system out of the 1960s, it was Wandler, L&H, and a subcontractor called Vencore that they turned to.
"The task that NASA tasked Vencore and us with is to increase the carrying capacity of that machine by six million pounds," Wandler told Forward Sheridan about the project last year.
The NASA Crawler Transporter is the biggest land vehicle on Earth, capable of hauling 20 million pounds of rocket to the launchpad. L&H's design increases carrying capacity by 30 percent, relying on the strength of the undercarriages they can build almost entirely in-house.
In his upcoming presentation brought to you by the Rockpile Museum and the Campbell County Public Library, Wandler will discuss L&H’s current work in the fields of mining, oil and gas, and railroads, and what the future might hold for these industries in Wyoming. This program is held in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, The Way We Worked, which is currently open at the Rockpile Museum.
"Past, Present, and Future" will take place July 12th at 7 p.m. at the Campbell County Public Library. You can see the full series event list here.
During yesterday's EPA Listening Session at the Gillette College Tech Center, many local and state officials spoke about the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Representative Scott Clem, Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Governor Matt Mead were all in attendance, along with Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King.
Below is the full transcript of her statement.
"Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today on such an important topic.
Clean, affordable energy is important to everyone. Coal helps to provide that to millions of people throughout the world. Those that say that coal cannot be burned cleanly continue to ignore the history of coal-fired electricity. Whenever an issue with emissions from coal-fired power plants has been identified, science and engineering have solved the problem. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide were identified as sources of pollution. Today they are no longer an issue.
Now carbon has been identified as an issue. But this time instead of looking at it as a problem, it is being looked at as an opportunity. Research will be done right here in Campbell County to find economically viable uses for the carbon that can be removed from the slipstream of coal-fired power plants. In a few short months, some of the top minds in the world will begin developing real-world solutions to the carbon issue at the Integrated Test Center. Scientific innovations, time and time again, have solved the issue of the day. The issue of carbon emissions is no different.
The Clean Power Plan in its current form would stifle that innovation. Instead of allowing research and innovation, it would create an unnecessary barrier by imposing overreaching and harmful governmental regulations. A major part of the success of the Integrated Test Center will be the potential economic gain from the technologies that they develop. As more regulations are heaped on the coal industry, the return on investments in clean coal technology decreases."
Tyler Miller with Earth Work Solutions was notified last week that the U.S. Small Business Administration has selected him as the Wyoming Small Business Person of the Year for 2018. In a letter to Tyler, Linda McMahon, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, states:
“Your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your state's economy. The SBA is pleased to celebrate your achievements and recognize your personal role in driving our nation's economic growth.”
He's been invited to attend the annual Small Business Week ceremony in Washington D.C. in April.
MSN's lifestyle section went around the country and found the most "outrageous" pizza in each state. Not surprising to anyone from Campbell County, Pizza Carrello earned the top spot for Wyoming. According to MSN, they're best loved for their "fruity pizzas," but we all know the love extends beyond that. (Because they've got wings now!)
Cruises, Inc. was recently certified by Special Needs at Sea to provide specialized travel planning for vacationers that need a little extra to get them on board.
“Through Special Needs’ courses, I not only learned how to assist individuals with special needs to enjoy travel, but I found some very valuable new ways to serve the needs of all of my clients,” said owner John Urquidez.
And Campbell County Memorial Hospital was recently given an award for overall performance excellence, along with Great Plains Health in North Platte. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, named after former Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige, was founded in 1987. The Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence program administers the award for our region.
“We are the first organization of any industry in Wyoming to obtain any level of the Baldrige award,” said CEO Andy Fitzgerald. “I am extremely pleased and proud of the work done by many people to achieve this award, and to have CCMH claim this first milestone in the Baldrige journey.”
Thousands of organizations worldwide use the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria to continually improve themselves, and better serve their communities. Only nine groups in the Rocky Mountain area have ever received the national level award for peak excellence. Campbell County Health aspires to be the tenth.
“There are four levels before the national award and we have obtained the second level of award,” Fitzgerald says. “Undoubtedly there are numerous opportunities for us to improve on before we start the application process for the next level of our journey.”
According to the City's end of year report released January 19, requests for commercial construction permits were up 40% from 2016, though the valuation of those projects was down nearly $20 million from the year before. Construction was completed on Thunder Basin High School's Track and Field stadium, as well as new office buildings, gas stations and convenience stores, and an apartment complex that are all to be completed soon or were completed before the end of the fourth quarter in 2017.
The Thunder Basin High School Track & Field stadium was one of many projects completed in 2017 funded by the 1% Optional Sales Tax. Water and Sewer systems, sidewalks and street pavement, and additions like the Boxelder Extension and Gurley Overpass rehab were all major improvements to the City, funded by Penny Power. (You can view all the 1% projects here.)
Also in the City's development summary, unemployment in Wyoming -- and also Campbell County -- is down significantly from the year before, at 4.3%, though still above the national average of 3.9%. Apartment vacancies also continue to decrease, though the population for Campbell County is down to 47,190 from 48,803 in the previous year.
For a list of apartment complexes that are Chamber members, click here.
Photo: A "bee hotel" at the Campbell County Extension Office. This year, the Master Gardeners will begin an "urban orchard" at Camplex Park, in conjunction with the Campbell County Parks & Recreation department. The trees planted in the orchards will have these "bee hotels," which are designed to encourage bees to hibernate in Campbell County for the winter. The hope is that maintaining the pollinator population will encourage the fruit to grow.
"Our goal for  is to hold workshops out there for pruning fruit trees, harvesting fruit trees, and doing anything to educate the community," said horticulturalist Hannah Johnson with the Extension Office.
Press release from the City of Gillette:
Gillette, WY, January 26, 2018 – Bee City USA® has renewed Gillette’s certification for 2017 following a rigorous renewal application process. This completed the efforts of the Campbell County Master Gardeners’ Pollinator Committee to accomplish this re-certification, the facilitating committee for Gillette’s efforts to engage the community in promoting pollinator-friendliness.
In 2016, the United Nations reported that forty percent of the world’s 350,000 pollinator species were at risk of extinction. Bee City USA is a national nonprofit organization that galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free to nearly free of pesticides. Imperiled pollinators like honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, moths, bats, hummingbirds, and others are responsible for the reproduction of ninety percent of the world's wild plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.
Mayor Louise Carter King said, “Our City Council understood the importance of sustaining pollinators when we voted to become a Bee City USA affiliate in 2016. We commend the Campbell County Master Gardeners’ Pollinator Committee for the impressive gains we made last year.”
According to Megan McManamen, chair of the Pollinator Committee for the Campbell County Master Gardeners, “With the invaluable support of the Mayor, City Council, and the City Parks Division, we were able to create pollinator habitat and increase awareness of pollinator-friendly gardening practices in our community. From planting a Pollinator Rain Garden to hosting our first Annual Gillette Pollinator Day Celebration, we had an extremely successful first year as Wyoming’s first Bee City USA affiliate. We would also like to thank our community for being so supportive of our efforts.”
A new year brings new opportunities for raising awareness of the vital role pollinators play in supporting our food systems and the planet generally. The Master Gardeners’ Pollinator Committee meetings are held throughout the year with dates and times advertised on the Campbell County Master Gardener webpage at www.ccgov.net/282/Master-Gardener and invites all residents of Gillette to offer their ideas for pollinator-friendly initiatives. The more people and organizations involved, the sooner pollinator declines will be reversed.
To see Gillette’s annual report as well as other Bee City USA affiliates’ annual reports visit http://reports.beecityusa.org/.
For more information about the Bee City USA organization visit www.beecityusa.org or email Director Phyllis Stiles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Gillette Bee City USA program, contact Hannah Johnson at email@example.com or Megan McManamen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year ended on a bad note for Wright residents when it was announced in mid-December that Don’s Supermarket, the town’s only grocery store, would close.
But 2018 is off to a great start with an announcement that the store re-opened Thursday under new ownership.
Troy and Cathy McKeown, who have owned Don’s market in Gillette since 2008, bought the Wright Don’s on Dec. 23.
Troy said the decision to buy the store wasn’t an easy one to make, but it was something he felt compelled to do.
“(Wright) needed a grocery store, and it was available,” he said.
Now Wright residents won’t have to make the 80-mile round trip to Gillette to do their grocery shopping.
McKeown said that although the store is under new ownership, everything else should stay the same, adding that he’s most excited to help out the community and the employees who had faced unemployment.
Wright Mayor Ralph Kingan said he was surprised that the McKeowns were able to reopen the store so quickly. He stopped by the Wright Don’s on Thursday to thank them, especially for rehiring the 14 workers who had lost their jobs when the store closed.
“He hired all the employees back. That made me really happy,” he said. “That’s a big help in the town.”
-- Written by Jonathan Gallardo, originally published 1/5/18 in the Gillette News Record
Desert Run Apartments is putting together "goodie bags" for new residents, and are looking for Chamber businesses interested in participating. Whether you have promotional merchandise, a sales flyer, coupons or any other business information (like a take-out menu!), Desert Run is open to any kind of information to include to give to new residents.
There is no cost or minimum requirement to provide items for these welcome bags.
Bring your promotional items to Desert Run's main office at 1001 Desert Hills Circle, or call them at (307) 682-0177 for more information.
Gillette Main Street vendors reached a compromise with the City on July 18th, to change a parking fine increase ordinance from a fee of $15, to $7. Previously the City wanted to increase the $2 fine for overstaying a 2 hour parking limit to $15, something most business owners on Gillette Avenue objected to.
John Daly, owner of Daly & Sorenson, a law office on Gillette Avenue, spoke to the Council on August 1 about how construction around the courthouse has already affected both where he and his clients can park, and their access to the courthouse.
"I own five lots either on Main Street or near Main Street," he told City Council last Tuesday. "The impact of increased parking in this parking deal is that those people move in to our off-street lots. So there's a parking problem for us. While this may satisfy some merchants on Main Street, it doesn't satisfy those of us who have businesses where people take more than two hours."
Daly cited the other law offices, the multiple banks on Main Street, and even Dunlap Photography as businesses where clients will spend more than the two hour limit. He then contrasted with how anyone can park for free for weeks at a time at Wal-Mart and other stores in the Powder Basin Shopping Center. He preferred the City either throw out the ordinance amendment, or make all parking in the City free.
"We cannot afford to go around with our two officers for $2 a ticket. It does not pay. Seven doesn't either, really, but that is the compromise," Mayor Louise Carter-King told Daly.
The City Council voted unanimously to change the parking fee to $7. A charge of $5.00 for "extended overtime" parking for each successive 30 minute period thereafter stays the same, as well as a $10 fine for not paying a parking ticket within 24 hours.