UW College of Business, CWC launch statewide entrepreneur education course

The University of Wyoming’s College of Business and Central Wyoming College are partnering to support Wyoming’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with the launch of a new statewide education program called Entrepreneur Essentials.

The pilot program will provide educational tools to help Wyoming build a solid foundation for launching and growing successful businesses, according to a news release. Entrepreneur Essentials is a hybrid version of the successful CWC program Start-Up Intensive (SUI), with in-person sessions and online learning. The four-week program will start Oct. 18.

“Entrepreneur Essentials was developed from the 10-week Start-Up Intensive,” Sandy Hessler, SUI instructor, said in the release. “One hundred Wyomingites have graduated from SUI, one of the most successful entrepreneurial education programs in the state. We are excited to test this new modified course that still allows for a collaborative, interactive experience for entrepreneurs in cities across Wyoming.”

Entrepreneur Essentials will teach Wyoming residents to:

Identify and communicate a business vision.

Develop an idea into a business concept.

Identify customers.

Develop a sound business model.

“Why this partnership? Why now? Through the ENDOW initiative, we learned about the economic challenges and opportunities facing Wyoming today and in the future. To grow the Wyoming economy, Wyoming residents need access to entrepreneurial education,” said Peter Scott, a professor of entrepreneurship at UW. “Entrepreneur development is the heart of any ecosystem’s entrepreneurial culture and momentum.”

UW College of Business Dean David Sprott was presented with the opportunity to pilot a new teaching model. Sprott evaluated the successes of the CWC model and thought partnering could provide the data and feedback needed to set up a full program.

Of the 100 entrepreneurs who graduated from SUI in the past six years from Wyoming, about 100 jobs, at an average annual salary of $40,000, have been generated. SUI has added $4 million of income to Wyoming’s northwest regional economy.

For more information about the Entrepreneur Essentials pilot program, visit www.wyoentrepreneur.com or email Scott at pscott5@uwyo.edu.

SOS Well Services drives to raise awareness, funds for Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies

SOS Well Services has wrapped the cab of a swab rig in its fleet with themed graphics to draw attention to the cause of ending hunger in Wyoming, while on the job and on the road.

In addition to helping raise awareness, SOS Well Services has pledged a percentage of yearly revenue from operation of the rig to Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.

“We are on a mission to support our local communities. With the money donated through the use of this new rig, we are off to good start,” Jeff Schmid, COO at SOS Well Services said in a news release.

The “Wyoming Food Bank Swab Rig” is the second initiative SOS has put in motion in its commitment to give back to the community. The first effort, the “Wildlife Conservation Swab Rig,” is wrapped with a wildlife theme, and SOS donates a percentage of its yearly revenue to the Wildlife Conservation Fund in Wyoming.

Headquartered in La Barge, with a second office in Kimball, Nebraska, SOS Well Services provides multiple oilfield services in the western United States.

Outdoor recreation industry thriving in Wyoming and nation, according to study

A recent report from the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates Wyoming’s outdoor recreation industry is among the best in the nation in contributing to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

For the first time, the BEA has added outdoor recreation to its annual economic analysis, and what they found is that it is a major driver of the nation’s and Wyoming’s economy and employment. Outdoor recreation in Wyoming contributes $1.6 billion to Wyoming’s economy, or 4.4% of the state’s overall economy. States ranking ahead of Wyoming are Hawaii at 5.4%, Montana at 5.1% and Maine at 4.8%. Other states include Florida at 4.3%, and Colorado and Utah tied at 3.3%.

“To us in the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office and the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites, this data doesn’t come as a surprise, as we’re constantly meeting and working with those in the outdoor recreation industry,” Administrator Dave Glenn said in a news release. “What this data does tell us is that we have a vibrant and growing outdoor recreation economy, and this is the tip of the iceberg.”

The news is even better in regards to employment. Outdoor recreation accounts for 23,036 jobs, or 8% of total employment in Wyoming, which is the highest in the nation. Those jobs also account for 4.7% of total compensation in the state, which is second in the nation behind Hawaii at 5.1%.

“Outdoor recreation is pivotal to residents and visitors alike,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in the release. “Many people visit, move and bring their businesses here to take advantage of the outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities available in Wyoming.”

The Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office is working to expand those employment numbers even more through its support of the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management Program at the University of Wyoming and the Outdoor Education and Recreation Leadership degree at Northwest College in Powell.

The full Bureau of Economic Analysis report on outdoor recreation can be found online at https://www.bea.gov/data/special-topics/outdoor-recreation.

Casper’s CTran railyard under new ownership after summer buyout

Effective July 15, the Big Horn Divide & Wyoming Railroad (BDW) became sole owner of CTran railyard in Casper by purchasing Granite Peak’s interests. BDW is a Wyoming owned and operated short-line railroad headquartered in Shoshoni.

“BDW has operated the CTran railyard from its inception, so to our existing customers, the transition has been seamless,” Corte McGuffey, CEO of Big Horn Divide & Wyoming Railroad, said in a news release. “This acquisition will allow greater flexibility in seeking new opportunities, and we are excited to continue doing business in Natrona County, the energy hub of our state.”

Located north of Casper’s airport, CTran has 25,000 feet of leasable track on 230 acres, and since 2010 has assisted customers in movement of various commodities, including more than 2 million tons of frac sand, crude oil and wind energy components. BNSF mainline access, unit train capability and acreage for development make CTran Wyoming’s premier location for rail to truck and truck to rail transloading services.

The Big Horn Divide & Wyoming Railroad has been in operation since 1985 and currently owns and operates railyards in Bonneville, Shoshoni and Casper.

Genesis Energy announces expansion of existing sodium services operations

Genesis Energy recently announced the company plans to invest approximately $300 million to expand its existing Granger production facility to increase soda ash production by approximately 750,000 tons per year.

“We have a long history of innovation and investment in natural soda ash production in Wyoming. This next phase of our growth will result in Granger joining our Westvaco operation as a world-class soda ash production facility,” Grant Sims, chairman and CEO of Genesis, said in a news release. “We look forward to the successful completion of the project, preserving high-quality manufacturing jobs in Wyoming, and serving our customers with superior quality and supply reliability.”

The expansion of the Granger facilities will utilize Genesis’ patented solution feed process technology that has been in utilized at its Westvaco facility since 1995. Following the expansion, we expect the Granger facilities will be one of the lowest cost soda ash production facilities in the world. The increased production will serve growing global soda ash demand and provide supply security to strategic customers.

The construction of the expansion is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. The increased production is anticipated to be available for sale in the second quarter of 2022. During the construction of the expansion, the Granger facility will continue to produce soda ash at current rates.

Jackson Hole Airport joins The Good Traveler carbon emmission program

Continuing their mission to be leaders in sustainability, the Jackson Hole Airport Board is bringing The Good Traveler program to the Jackson Hole Airport.

The Good Traveler provides an opportunity for travelers to offset their carbon emissions by contributing to certified offset projects such as restoring wetlands and growing forests.

An airport-led nonprofit collaboration, The Good Traveler offers an affordable, accessible and meaningful way for airline passengers to mitigate their environmental impact. A leader in the industry, this program has offset more than 23 million passenger miles since its beginning in 2016.

“By providing our travelers an affordable opportunity to offset the carbon emissions we are partnering with them in our efforts to be sustainable,” Jackson Hole Airport Director Jim Elwood said in a news release. “We hear from locals and visitors that they are interested in being part of the solution when it comes to offsetting carbon emissions, and we are proud to bring this program to Jackson Hole.”

To learn more, visit www.jacksonholeairport.com/airport-guide/environmental-initiatives/.

Wyoming Beef Council promotes Wyoming stories via 13 short videos

The Wyoming Beef Council has released 13 short videos featuring beef producers across the state.

“The producer stories section of wybeef.com is by far the most popular landing spot for visitors to our site,” Ann Wittmann, WBC executive director, said in a news release. “Adding videos was the natural next chapter to telling the story of beef production in our state.”

WBC produced the videos in house after visiting producers near Cody, Lovell, Shawnee, Iron Mountain, Albin and Cheyenne.

“Wyoming is full of big, beautiful landscapes, and we were thrilled to include some areal footage as we captured everything from cattle drives to corral work to high mountain grazing,” said Wittmann. The videos are housed on the council’s YouTube channel in the Wyoming Stories playlist, https://tinyurl.com/y53c72mz.

Additionally, the videos are being used in a Google Search and YouTube Advertising campaign that was launched Oct. 1. When searching for content having to do with beef or beef production stories, consumers will be served the videos as pre-roll ads. They have the option to skip the ad after it plays for 5 seconds, and WBC only pays when the consumer watches 30-plus seconds of the spot.

WBC participated in a similar campaign in 2018, resulting in more than 210,000 video views and almost 3,000 clicks to wybeef.com over the 10-week life of the campaign. The 2019 campaign will be in-market tentatively through the end of the year.

WSGS releases 2019 Oil and Gas Map of Wyoming

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has updated its Oil and Gas Map of Wyoming (series 104). The 2019 map of the state’s oil and natural gas infrastructure replaces the 2016 version, and is available for purchase or as a https://bit.ly/2lRiKH6" target="_blank">free download.

“This map continues to be one of our most widely used publications, helpful to many sectors of industry, government and the public,” Erin Campbell, Wyoming State Geologist and director of the WSGS, said in a news release. “Oil and gas development is constantly evolving, and the Oil and Gas Map highlights the current activity across Wyoming.”

The updated 1:500,000-scale map includes the latest oil and gas field polygons and field attributes, including their producing reservoirs, hydrocarbon products, and whether fields are used for storage or disposal. Also shown on the map are both active and inactive oil refineries and natural gas processing plants, with daily refining and processing capacity noted for active facilities. Data about pipelines and their transport products were provided by the Wyoming Pipeline Authority.

The free online version of the map can be found at https://bit.ly/2lRiKH6. The WSGS website is https://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/energy/energy.

Encore Green, DrillComm join forces to advance public lands stewardship

Agricultural company Encore Green Environmental and remote communications company DrillComm last week jointly announced their alliance to advance stewardship of the lands in Wyoming as part of the Just Add Water Initiative.

DrillComm is a leader in remote cellular and satellite communication solutions for multiple industries, and brings this understanding to the challenge of produced/by-product water management.

“We are excited to apply our area of expertise to this endeavor so that we can better take care of our lands and accomplish the goals of the Just Add Water Initiative,” DrillComm President John Huff said in a news release. “We appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of this and look forward to working together.”

The Just Add Water Initiative is designed to transform produced/by-product water from oil wells into safe, clean water to apply to the land for agriculture and conservation. Historically, this produced/byproduct water is disposed of into an injection well. In Wyoming alone, more than 71 billion gallons of such water is tossed away each year, according to the release.

“As we launched our Conservation By-Design method to put this water to beneficial use, it became clear we needed a technology solution to take advantage of the additional opportunities that the Just Add Water Initiative provides,” said Seth Frentheway, director of environmental technologies at Encore Green Environmental. “Given their track record of achievement, we could have no one better than DrillComm to come alongside to explore these opportunities.”

Conservation By-Design is agronomy-centric and begins by testing the soil on the land near the oil well. The water is then tested to determine its makeup to match the soil’s “DNA” for optimal vegetation growth. The water is processed there, close to the well, so no trucking is needed. Once the water matches the soil’s needs, it is applied to the land, creating a total ecological solution.

To learn more about Conservation By-Design, visit www.encore greenenvironmental.com/cbd. To learn more about DrillComm, visit www.soundandcellular.com/ #about.

Platte Valley Bank donates vehicle to Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom

In partnership with Laramie Peak Motors and WyoTech, Platte Valley Bank is donating a 2019 Ford EcoSport to Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom.

The three-year leased vehicle is to assist WAIC with traveling to schools across the state.

“We understand the importance of agriculture educational programs throughout Wyoming, and we are proud to be able to help make projects like this possible,” Platte Valley Bank Wheatland President Keith Geis said in a news release. “Partnering with WAIC, as well as other businesses, really demonstrates our commitment to ag education in our schools, not only at the local level but also statewide.”

WAIC is a nonprofit organization that provides agriculture and natural resource curricula for Wyoming educators and students through the Wyoming Stewardship Project, which will send staff across the state to support elementary schools for program implementation and educator professional development opportunities.


Primrose Retirement Community of Cheyenne has hired Laura Toppenberg to be its new executive director. In this role, she will oversee the day-to-day operations of the community. Toppenberg came to Primrose of Cheyenne in 2016 as the director of nursing, was promoted to a home office regional nurse manager, then returned to the Cheyenne Primrose Community in August as the executive director. Primrose Retirement Community of Cheyenne, located at 1530 Dorothy Lane, consists of 40 independent living apartments, 40 assisted living apartments and four townhome villas.

Paul Yang has been chosen to become WyHy Federal Credit Union’s new vice president/chief financial officer. Yang brings nearly 20 years of leadership experience in the financial industry. Prior to coming to WyHy, Yang served in a variety of roles, including EVP, CEO and CFO at different credit unions.

He replaces outgoing CFO Cyndi Patras, who announced earlier this year her plans to retire at the end of August after 15 years at WyHy. Yang is a Certified Management Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of California – Los Angeles as well as a Master of Business Administration from Regis University.

Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Dixie Johnson was named Chamber Director of the Year by the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce during the Wyoming Working Together Conference on Sept. 5 in Gillette. Johnson was selected based on her leadership and her dedication to the community. “Dixie Johnson works tirelessly to meet the needs of her members,” stated Laura Lehan of Peak Consulting, Johnson’s nominator. “She is one of those leaders that continually looks for ways to improve the organization, and have an even greater impact on our business community and the community at large. Even when she has a full workload, she is always willing to drop what she is doing to be available to a community member and help in making their experience of Sheridan even better. We are so fortunate to have Dixie leading the efforts of our chamber and the organization would not be where it is today without her leadership.”

Johnson has served as the Chamber’s CEO since 2011 and has been a member of the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce board since 2012. She also serves on the Tongue River Valley Community Center board as well as the Sheridan-Johnson Counties Critical Air Service Team.

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