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Economic development

Car Manufacturer Announces Vehicle Final-Assembly Facility To Be Developed In Sheridan

in Economic development/News

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By Floyd Whiting, Sheridan Media

Falcon Car Corporation has announced it will develop a manufacturing plant to assemble Falcon 9X full size pickup trucks and Falcon 3B buses onsite at the future facility which will be located at the Sheridan County Airport Business Park.

The development of the primary site is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and will employ 260 workers. The primary sub-assembly buildings are designed to be connected by elevated skybridges and provide a safe work environment year-round. 

Falcon Car is a DynamiX Energy Corporation owned entity. Falcon Car Corp. focuses on producing vehicles that are in demand today rather than future concepts. 

According to Sheridan County Airport Manager John Stopka, DynamiX Energy and Falcon  are known for their electric car components. The company is now taking the steps to manufacture electric automobiles.

According to a release, the Sheridan County Airport provided Falcon Car Corp. with the ideal location for the manufacturing plant. Located minutes from I-90 with rail services and aviation access, the Sheridan Airport Business Park also provides Falcon with direct access to Denver International Airport, essential for business travel.

Stopka told Sheridan Media the airport was the deciding factor for DynamiX Energy Corp. Managing Director Stefan Amraly.

The Sheridan County Commission recently received the conceptual designs for the facility. County Commissioner Tom Ringley told Sheridan Media this has great potential for the local economy. 

According to Falcon, Wyoming is a great state for business as demonstrated by Sheridan’s recent industrial growth and its Made-in-the-USA initiative.

Once the company has finished with the development phase, construction will begin, Stopka said. 

Falcon has secured an initial capacity building and permits to produce electric vehicles in the state of Wyoming with additional production capacity increasing to 30,000 units by 2026.

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Neiman-Owned Sawmill To Shut Down Friday Due To Shortage of Timber

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A company that operates sawmills in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming is finding itself unable to take advantage of the increased demand for its product because of shortages in available timber.

The shortage has become so acute that Neiman Enterprises has been forced to close its Hill City, South Dakota, sawmill effective Friday.

“We have enough material to run the (company’s other sawmills) for now,” said Mike Stevens, sales manager for Neiman Enterprises. “But the volume of material that the Forest Service wants to put up for sale is still well below what we normally purchase, and they have been ratcheting down the amount of material that we can buy for years. This by far is the worst year that we’ve ever seen.”

In addition to the lumber mill in Hill City that is closing after 50 years in operation, Neiman runs sawmills in Spearfish, South Dakota, and Hulett, Wyoming.

Stevens says each year the Black Hills operations for Neiman produce around 190 million board-feet of Ponderosa Pine and pressed board.

The lumber the company produces comes from timber put up for sale in national forests by the the U.S. Forest Service — but Stevens said that supply is dwindling.

“We’ve been battling with the Forest Service for years to keep enough supply to keep all of our facilities running,” he said. “They’re just not putting enough timber up for sale to run the facilities that we still have.”

According to a recent Forest Service report, the current amount of standing live timber in the Black Hills National Forest does not support a sustainable timber program for the forest. In addition, scientists are calling for a 50% to 60% reduction in the forest’s timber production.

The outlook for further reductions in available timber does not spell good news for companies like Neiman.

That shortage of raw material has come at a poor time, coinciding with an increase in demand for finished timber lumber created by the pandemic.

“When COVID hit, everybody thought that this was the end of our markets for the foreseeable future,” Stevens said. “Mills started looking at curtailment, production was scaled back, and then you started losing people. We were very fortunate that it didn’t affect us as bad in this area of the country, but because buying stopped for a three- or four-week period, there were huge concerns about what we were going to do.”

“And then, that rebound was so extreme that it went from, you know, having talks about how we were going to take care of employees, how we were going to alternate shifts or or curtail or whatever we were going to have to do to survive, to, holy cow, we can’t keep up,” he added.

The pandemic actually contributed to the demand for construction materials, Stevens said, because when people were forced to be at home, many decided to embark on long-postponed renovation projects, which helped keep the construction supply chain running.

“The country as a whole was locked down, everybody’s working from home or not working at all, but most people have a certain amount of disposable income,” Stevens said. “And all that was now not being spent, right? The restaurants were shut down, the movie theaters were shut down, nobody was allowed to travel. So there were people that had extra cash, and were spending all their time at home. 

“So they’re remodeling their house, doing the projects that they’ve thought about for years,” he continued. “They’re creating an office, they’re creating outdoor living spaces because they’re spending more time at home.”

But because of the dwindling supply, Neiman Enterprises is finding itself in the middle of the larger construction product shortage – without lumber, new construction, as well as the manufacture of components such as windows and doors, are impacted.

“We sell to retail markets, which would be your big box stores, your Menards or Home Depot or Lowe’s (and) your smaller retail chains,” Stevens said. “But our biggest customer base is probably distributors, who purchase material and distribute it locally to smaller users. And to the majority of the major window and door companies – Pella, Anderson, Marvin.”

And even though the mill in Hill City is shutting down, the mills in Spearfish and Hulett continue to churn out product, which is being snatched up by distributors from around the country, according to Stevens.

“It’s been an incredible market, something that I’ve never seen, and I’ve been in this chair for 20 years,” he said. “But just because the demand is high, it doesn’t change how much product their business can create.

“We don’t change our production,” Stevens continued. “You know, there’s slight changes that you can make, add a few hours here and there, but for the most part, we’re steady-Eddie in good markets or bad markets.”

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First Wyoming Coronavirus Small Business Relief Grants Approved

in Economic development/News/Coronavirus/Business
Man working at desk, going over analytics, ALT=Wyoming supplemental budget

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The first grants to be provided under one of the state’s coronavirus relief programs have been approved for a total of $149,000.

The eight grants made under the Business Interruption Stipend program, ranging from $2,560 to $32,891, were approved Wednesday, according to a page on the state’s transparency platform website

The program is one of three approved by the Legislature during its special session in May.

The program set aside $50 million to provide grants of up to $50,000 for Wyoming businesses that employ 50 or fewer employees and suffered a loss due to closures required by federal, state or local health orders.

The grants approved Wednesday included money for Cheyenne and Gillette restaurants, including a grant of $18,732 for a Gillette company that makes mead.

Other grants included $32,570 for a cupcake company in Gillette, $17,126 for a catering company in Cheyenne, $25,000 for a restaurant in Cheyenne and $15,000 for a Cheyenne preschool.

The state’s transparency website did not have the most recent numbers, but according to the Wyoming Business Council’s website, by Thursday morning, 2,145 applications for assistance had been received and more than $2.1 million in grants had been approved.

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Wyoming’s Lead In Blockchain Tech Could Help Diversify Economy

in Economic development/News
Caitlin Long

By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

Blockchain banking could open new avenues for employment in the Cowboy State, but people should start learning about it as soon as possible, according to self-taught blockchain guru Caitlin Long.

“Blockchain isn’t rocket science, though certain aspects of it are being worked on by rocket scientists,” said Long, who recently announced she was founding a blockchain bank in Cheyenne. “The vast majority of users can be self-taught. There’s so much on the Internet (about blockchain). If you take the time, you can learn it.” 

A Wyoming native, Wall Street veteran and Wyoming Blockchain Task Force gubernatorial appointee, Long said she taught herself the ins and outs of blockchain.

“It doesn’t require a degree to learn this technology,” she added. “Just get your feet wet and start learning.” 

Blockchain is a digital ledger system stored across a variety of online networks and the underlying technology enables the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. 

As the rest of the nation grapples with the rise of blockchain technologies in agriculture, banking and dozens of other industries, Wyoming was first to the front by passing legislation facilitating the creation of Special Purpose Depository Institutions (SPDI) (, or “speedy banks” specializing in cryptocurrency transactions, in 2019. 

Taking advantage of the SPDI regulations, Long said her newest business venture, a digital asset financial institution dubbed Avanti, could open as soon as 2021.

“I will give (employment) preference to people in Wyoming,” she said. “The beauty of blockchain is we can hire people who live in Wyoming’s rural areas. As long as they have an internet connection, they can work as customer service representatives and compliance officers.”

Long said her company intends to file an SPDI application with the Wyoming Division of Banking soon.

Wyoming Banking Division General Counsel Chris Land confirmed the agency is currently reviewing two other SPDI applications.

In regards to digital asset education, the University of Wyoming is poised to take advantage of the state’s lead in the blockchain world, said Jim Caldwell, UW Computer Science Department head. 

“This is a huge opportunity for the state to diversify the economy,” Caldwell said. “Everyone knows about Wyoming and blockchain. There’s international attention on the state focusing on these efforts.” 

With the help of a state funding match, IOHK, a financial technology company, is in the process of backing a blockchain research and development lab at UW, Caldwell said.

“We’re going to be working on some cutting-edge blockchain research at UW,” he added.

While the Computer Sciences Department currently offers a class about the engineering side of building out blockchain, Caldwell said UW’s College of Business offers a class about blockchain in financial technology.

“The applications for blockchain are really broad and being used by nearly every discipline,” he said. “It has the potential to affect every discipline on campus in some way.” 

Avanti and other SPDI banks could help Wyoming jump into the global digital asset market, but Long said America has some catching up to do. 

“The U.S. is absolutely behind the curve on digital assets in general,” she explained. “In Switzerland, not only can banks offer custody services and trust services, but they can accept deposits in the form of digital assets. That goes quite a bit further than even the Wyoming SPDI bank charter does.” 

Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are hubs for the digital asset industry, which is valued at about $300 billion annually, Long said.

“The U.S. is only about 20 percent of that value,” she added. “We have this logjam in our financial services regulations.”

By Wyoming statute, SPDI banks differ from traditional financial institutions. 

“SPDI banks cannot take risks with customers’ assets,” Long said. “The law requires the banks be 100 percent reserved, so the banks cannot lend or take interest rate risk. They are akin to the money warehouses of the 1800s.”

Because all the transactions are digital, Avanti will not have a typical brick-and-mortar branch with tellers and other amenities people might associate with traditional banking. As required by law, however, it will have a physical location in Cheyenne, Long explained.

“One of the services Avanti will provide is the ability to change digital currency into dollars,” she said. “Primarily, we will provide custody services for private keys that control digital assets.”  

How a 42-Foot, 2,000-Pound Submarine Periscope Ended Up at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

in Economic development/News/Recreation/Tourism

By Seneca Flowers
Cowboy State Daily

On some busy summer days, more than 100 people may walk through the Grand Conservatory in the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. They wait in line to peer through the 42-foot submarine periscope that stands in the building’s second floor classroom that gives them a view stretching many miles around the city.

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens volunteers boast theirs is the only botanic gardens in the nation to have a periscope. But the journey that ended with the periscope finding its new home in Cheyenne took a lot of planning, fast thinking and even more luck. 

Retired Navy Chief Jim Marshall said the idea to put a periscope in Cheyenne first surfaced during Cheyenne Frontier Days of 2005. 

Navy submariners who were part of the crew of the USS Cheyenne and the USS Wyoming visited Cheyenne during the rodeo to participate in community service. But the weather prevented them from working outdoors. 

“It rained and rained the whole week,” Marshall said. 

During the down time, one of the submariners suggested the group obtain a submarine periscope for Cheyenne residents and tourists to look through.

Later, Marshall said he attended Kiwanis meeting in 2007 where Cheyenne Botanic Gardens officials gave a presentation revealing the group had its sights on getting a periscope for the Paul Smith Children’s village.

However, Marshall spoke with those involved and soon realized they may have not considered the logistics of moving a 42-foot periscope weighing more than 2,000 pounds.

So Marshall decided to contact the group he was holed up with during that rainy Cheyenne Frontier Days week in 2005 and have them help get a periscope. However, he couldn’t find the original group members.

Marshall kept searching for anyone who could assist. He ended up contacting the past commanding officer of the USS Wyoming, who added his talents to the search for a periscope until one was found at a U.S. Navy facility in New England. 

The periscope was previously used in three submarines: the USS Corpus Christi SSN-705, the USS Alexandria SSN-757, USS Minnesota-St. Paul SSN-708. Marshall learned it could be moved to Cheyenne if officials at the New Hampshire facility could be persuaded to give it up.

Marshall eventually convinced them to hand over the periscope, but they had a condition — he had to arrange the transportation. This led him on a new quest to find an organization capable of carrying it across the country. The C-130s transport airplanes at the Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne were too small. They were unable to carry the 50-foot long box. 

“A friend of mine in Virginia at the Fleet Reserve Association said, ‘Let me see what I can do to help,’” Marshall recalled. 

His friend contacted some higher-ups and reached the right people, finding a way to to transport the periscope via a larger C-130 housed at the Rhode Island Air National Guard’s headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Air National Guard brought the periscope to Cheyenne on Father’s Day in 2007. 

Dorothy Owens, who volunteers in the classroom with the periscope, said she remembered the day the periscope arrived. 

“It was a nice summer day,” she recalled. 

The plane arrived and a handful of volunteers, including Marshall and Owens, greeted it. The pilot looked at Owens and asked her what the group planned to do with the periscope in Cheyenne. 

“We’re going to build a building around it,” she replied.

The construction took time. In fact, people weren’t exactly sure what the building surrounding the periscope would look like. The boxed periscope waited in a stockyard surrounded by overgrown grass and weeds until the former Botanic Gardens Director Shane Smith could settle on a location. 

Smith originally wanted to house the periscope in the Children’s Garden.

However, plans for the building that would house the periscope grew with every new idea for features and education. The price tag also grew. The estimated cost for the periscope’s housing unit soared to $40,000, and funding was nowhere to be found.  

When the conservatory construction became closer to reality, Smith decided to move the periscope to the second floor to expand the view available through it, according to Marshall. 

Things began to fall into place from there, literally. It took two attempts to install the periscope in its housing unit on a windy Flag Day in 2017.

The periscope was officially opened to the public August, 2017. Operated by a unique hydraulic lift system to accommodate both children and adults, Owens said those who take a look through the 7.5-inch diameter periscope are usually impressed with the view.

“‘Amazing’ is the word I get most,” Owens said. “People are just enchanted. They cannot believe what they can see, how far they can see or how clear it is. People really are enchanted with it, both tourists and locals.”

Owens said she encountered several children and adults who did not know what a submarine was, so, as a former librarian, she has taken on a mission to educate the visitors.

“I feel like it’s my duty to let people appreciate this (the periscope). Owens said. “I just do this because it’s fun.” 

She added she and the community wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it weren’t for Marshall’s creative solutions. 

Marshall wanted Cheyenne visitors to experience a unique opportunity than many across the country wouldn’t otherwise. Through the periscope’s journey to Cheyenne, it found its place as an attraction far beyond its original intended use. 

“It’s one of a kind,” Marshall said. 

West’s influence on Cody grows

in Economic development/News

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

The influence of rapper Kanye West on the community of Cody continues to grow after his purchase of a ranch in Park County.

West in 2019 bought the Monster Lake Ranch and made his first public appearance in Cody during his “Sunday Service” in August.

Since then, he has purchased the building that used to house Cody Laboratories, a manufacturer of generic prescription pain medication that closed in July, to create prototypes for his “Yeezy” shoe brand.

James Klessens, the chief executive officer for Forward Cody, said the building turned out to be a perfect match for West’s needs.

“He asked if there was available space,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We showed him the space, magic was made, the deal was cut and they are right now working to set up a prototyping operation here in our community.”

Klessens pointed out that West is the latest celebrity to live in Cody, the first being western showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who the town is named for.

“I think it’s interesting that 100 years ago we had a global superstar lived in our community,” he said. “One hundred years later, we have another.”

Like Cody, West’s interests seem to expand beyond entertainment, Klessen said.

“Buffalo Bill was about newspapers and hotels and outfitting,” he said. “Mr. West is not only involved in the entertainment business … but he’s involved in this whole apparel and footwear making company and he has a great interest in sustainable housing and sustainable building practices.”

West’s efforts to develop his interests have not occurred without occasional bumps.

Earlier in the year, his representatives applied for a permit to build a 72,000 square-foot meditation center at his ranch. However, the permitting process was stopped when representatives told the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission that West wanted to add a residential aspect to the project.

“In adding residential, it changes the whole process it needs to be reviewed under and the permitting process,” said Park County Commissioner Dossie Overfield. “So that is when the Planning and Zoning commission denied the request just on the basis that it’s not now what he originally applied for.”

In addition, some questions surround how the development might proceed in the face of a new executive order from Gov. Mark Gordon regarding the protection of sage grouse habitat and mule deer migration corridors.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is working to determine whether the meditation center would disturb sage grouse habitat.

West also recently purchased the Bighorn Mountain Ranch near Greybull, although his representatives have not announced his plans for the property.

Brookings Institution eyes Laramie’s downtown success

in Economic development/News
Laramie downtown

By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

Laramie is one of three cities across the nation selected by the Brookings Institution for a year-long study to catalog all the factors involved in creating a vital downtown shopping area.

“It feels like winning an Oscar,” said Trey Sherwood, the Laramie Main Street Alliance executive director. “It’s a huge honor for us to even be considered by somebody like Brookings to analyze the breadth of our work.”

Wheeling, West Virginia, and Emporia, Kansas, were also selected by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings to participate in the study, which is being conducted by the Brookings Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and the National Main Street Center.

While many small and rural communities have successfully created an environment that is both fertile for entrepreneurs and engaging for residents, little has been done to comprehensively catalog and share those communities’ strategies for others to replicate, according to a Brookings news release. 

“The Transformative Placemaking Case Studies will help fill this gap by evaluating the impact of place-based entrepreneurship strategies on key outcomes, highlighting several successful examples and presenting replicable practices and lessonslearned for the field,” the release states.

The study is slated to involve:

  • Interviews, focus groups, and surveys with stakeholders and residents; 
  • Observations of relevant programming and public spaces; 
  • Quantitative analysis of indicators related to economic, physical, social and civic outcomes, and 
  • The development and dissemination of a brief that will outline lessons learned and promising practices for the field.

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan said the announcement came as a surprise, but confirms the city is on the right track with the development of its downtown.

“I think it’s really exciting to see Wyoming selected,” Jordan said. “And it’s affirming, not just for city government, but to see all our partners and our collaborative work recognized.”

In the past decade, she said the city and its economic development partners such as Laramie Main Street Alliance and Laramie Chamber Business Alliance have worked on a series of projects to encourage entrepreneurs to locate in Laramie. Those included work to secure funding for projects involving companies such as University of Wyoming startup Bright Agrotech LLC, munitions manufacturer Tungsten Parts Wyoming and engineering firm Trihydro Corporation.

“We have been successful in pulling down about $30 million in grants for about 10 economic development projects,” Jordan added.

In January, the city could adopt a new economic development plan, which would emphasize continued investments in place-making throughout the community, she said.

Sherwood’s team is slated to work with the Brookings researchers throughout the study, which could kick off with an on-site visit in March, Sherwood said.

“They were really hoping to come out in January,” she explained. “But getting to and around Laramie in January can be challenging to say the least.”

For the Laramie Main Street Alliance, Sherwood said the study presents an opportunity to review past strategies.

“It’s very rare that an organization like ours is asked to pause and reflect,” she explained. “In the last 10 years alone, we’ve documented 296 renovation projects downtown valued at about $11.6 million, five new construction projects valued at $3 million, 38 public improvements valued at $4.5 million, 104 net new businesses and 509 net new jobs.”

The successes only tell half the story, and Sherwood said she hopes the study will help her organization see the big picture.

“It’s great to see what’s working,” she explained. “But, I think understanding what hasn’t worked as well is key to working toward an even better future.”

Online retail’s impact could be opportunity for ‘mom-and-pop shops’

in Economic development/News

By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

Online shopping is giving the Cowboy State’s brick-and-mortar retailers a run for their money, but it’s also creating new opportunities for local businesses, a Wyoming Business Council spokesperson said.  

“We’ve added 74 net new businesses and 168 net new jobs to the Wyoming economy in 2018,” said Tom Dixon, the Business Council’s content marketing manager. “When you’re looking at online shopping, an iPhone is an iPhone no matter where you buy it, but we’re seeing increased interest — especially in the younger generation — in unique and locally sourced products you can only find at a brick and mortar.”

Online retailers such as Amazon now offer one-day delivery options, providing a level of convenience close to that of a store with a physical location. But Trey Sherwood, executive director of the Laramie Main Street Alliance, said more and more Wyoming retailers are branching into new services to keep their customers coming back.

“We’re seeing businesses trying to close that leakage gap by offering services such as custom mail order purchases, where the business owner takes an order online or over the phone and puts the product in the mail that day,” Sherwood said. “There’s also a new trend called experience-based retail.”

Brick-and-mortar retailers are using face-to-face customer service, community building events and product workshops to create an experience beyond the simple exchange of money for goods, she explained.

Laramie’s historic downtown district experienced a serious slump during the 1970s, with businesses closing and storefronts sitting empty for years, but four decades later, Sherwood said the area is coming back strong — due in large part to reinvigoration efforts by the city and economic development organizations like Main Street.

“We don’t yet know to what extent our brick-and-mortar stores are being affected by online retail, but we know it is happening,” she said. “The pendulum will continue to swing, and we need to be prepared for what the next 50 years could bring.”

Creating a sense of place with art installments like the Laramie Mural Project is one way to keep consumers engaged with the local business community, but engagement can’t stop at the curb.

“There is an external conversation we need to have with our community — we simply can’t rely on buzz words like ‘shop small,’” Sherwood said. “We need to educate people in our communities about how spending money locally affects small economies.”

Large corporations aren’t immune to the pinch created by online shopping either, and several, including Shopko, Boot Barn and Kmart, recently pulled out of some Wyoming cities.

While the initial shock of losing a major retailer lingers for years, Dixon said the gaps left by big box stores can be beneficial.

“When something like that happens, the convenience is gone,” he said. “That provides a lot of opportunity for these mom-and-pop shops to expand their inventory and attract new customers.”

At the University of Wyoming College of Business, Elizabeth Minton, an associate professor of Marketing, has an eye on the future interactions of consumers and their retail preferences.

“I think in the coming years, we’re going to see a split,” Minton said. “People who are more money conscious are going to go online more, because it’s cheaper and likely will remain that way. People who are concerned about (economic) sustainability will likely shop more locally.”

Competitive pay, flexibility keys to hiring seasonal workers, say officials

in Economic development/News

By Mary Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment rate is a good indicator of a healthy economy: people  are working and therefore able to buy homes, cars  — and Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. 

But according to state officials, the current unemployment rate of 3.8 percent means that employers looking to hire extra help during the holiday season may have a tough time of it. The low unemployment rate is a curse to employers, Denise Rodriguez, business representative in the Department of Workforce Services, told Cowboy State Daily.

“It’s a job-seeker’s market instead of an employer’s market right now,” she said,“(It) makes hiring overall very difficult for employers to find individuals seeking employment.”

According to Chris Brown, the executive director of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association and the Wyoming Retail Association, finding seasonal help is incredibly difficult for businesses. 

“If you were to go round on the horn and ask (members of the WLRA and WRA) what the biggest challenge is for them, nine out of ten — without a doubt — would say finding an adequate work force,” he said. 

And it’s not just a seasonal problem, he said. 

“The problem is that in Wyoming there are not enough employees available,” he said.  “It’s the least populated state in the country, so it has the least populated workforce in the country.”

Brown and DWS representatives have some advice for employers hoping to score some good workers to help with the holiday rush.

Offer competitive pay

“The more competitive pay the better,” suggested Jeff Schulz, a manager for the DWS Workforce Service Centers. “If a company is paying $12 an hour, for example, if you can pay $13 an hour, you can get them (to leave their current employer).”

According to Rodriguez, employers regularly resort to poaching staff from other employers.

“I had a 21-year-old tell me yesterday, ‘I’m thinking about looking for another job that pays more,’” Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘Don’t you think about burning bridges?’  He said, ‘I think I’ll look at getting more money.’

“(Job-seekers) can go back and forth,” she continued. “If they leave an employer and things don’t work out at the other job, they can go back and they’ll take them back.  Chances are the position still needs to be filled.”

Provide flexible hours

A lot of people looking for seasonal work already have full-time jobs, and they’re looking for a job where they can work evenings and weekends, said Ty Stockton, DWS communications manager.

Others are students who want to make some extra money over the holidays, Brown said. 

“In both the retail and hospitality industries, flexible schedules, being able to work with students and their school schedules, give them part-time hours — employers tout those things to supplement their work force,” he said.  “They need to offer (applicants) a great place to work, have fun and make money.”

Be innovative 

DWS Business Representative Terri Wells suggested that in addition to competitive salaries and flexible hours, employers be creative in their approach to attracting workers. 

“Think outside of the box,” she said. “What can you offer as an add-on?” 

“A lot of companies offer retention bonuses, so if you stay six months or so they give you a bonus,” Shulz said. “There are a variety of ways you can approach it, but the key is to make the employee as happy as they can be.”

Try a “surgical approach”

Shulz likened participating in a job fair to select the right candidate for the job to conducting precise surgery. 

“We do a mini-job fair every month,” he said.

The DWS job fairs are geared specifically for particular industries.  Employers who take part have an opportunity to grab the job-seekers most attracted and best suited for that industry. 

Check out the DWS website 

Workforce Services’ website,, is designed to help not only job-seekers, but employers as well. They can search the system for resumes that match the kind of applicant they’re looking for and send a message to the job seeker. 

Consult a local Workforce Services Center

Employers who need more help finding seasonal workers can call or visit their local DWS center.  There are 22 centers throughout the state.

“If any employers are having difficulty filling or retaining positions and are looking for ideas, they can contact one of the local DWS centers,” Rodriguez said. 

Change in the air? Business Forum explores how to move Wyoming forward

in Economic development/News

By Cowboy State Daily

An annual meeting of the state’s business leaders this week provided plenty of opportunities for discussions about the changes Wyoming is facing.

Attendees at the Governor’s Business Forum in Cheyenne shared thoughts and ideas on how the state should prepare to meet the challenges of the future.

Such changes do not have to occur at the expense of the state’s quality of life, said Cindy DeLancey, president of the Wyoming Business Alliance, the group that hosted the gathering.

“We’re cowboys and cowgirls,” she said. “We love so many things about Wyoming, but we also realize the world is changing around us. We can still be cowboys and be ready for 21st century  jobs and make sure our children have the skills and the foundation to be able to be good, productive citizens for the next generation.”

For such change to happen, gatherings such as the Business Forum are necessary, said Laurie Farkas, community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy.

“I think when we get together and start really thinking about the issues critically, that’s when change, especially good change, can happen,” she said.

Among those taking part in the conversation were students from the University Wyoming.

Rudy Nesvik, a UW freshman studying mechanical engineering, said the state should work to bring in businesses that would help lure new residents with advanced degrees.

“I think that Wyoming can look at attracting some of those manufacturing businesses to bring in more engineers,” he said. “We can have this focus on career and technical education, but I think we should also keep in mind other industries and other ways we can grow into the future.”

Kaci Schmick agreed the state needs to work harder to find businesses that would keep Wyoming youth in the state.

“We’re really just trying to get people to stay in Wyoming,” said the UW freshman. “A lot of jobs students want, they have to leave the state to find those jobs.”

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