Wyoming’s top workforce efforts recognized at 2021 summit

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and its partners honored four Wyoming employers that have demonstrated excellence in workforce practices on Oct. 20.

The awards ceremony took place during the 2021 Wyoming Safety and Workforce Summit, a joint effort between DWS and the Wyoming Workforce Development Council. The summit is an event held annually by the partners and speaks to both improving safety practices and strengthening Wyoming’s workforce.

The 2021 summit awards and winners are as follows:

  • Youth-friendly Employer of the Year: Delta Wye, Gillette
  • Veteran-friendly Employer of the Year: Black Hills Energy, statewide
  • Small Employer of the Year: The HumbleBee Shop, Powell
  • Large Employer of the Year: TJ Maxx/Sierra Trading Post, Cheyenne and Cody

For more information about the 2021 Wyoming Safety and Workforce Summit, visit www.wyomingworkforce.org.

Three set to receive the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame Award

CHEYENNE – Ray Fleming Dinneen, former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and Mike Wandler were scheduled be inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame during a Nov. 17 banquet at the 2021 Governor’s Business Forum.

Created in 2013, the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame recognizes business and industry leaders who have demonstrated substantial business merit while making a virtuous impact on their community. The Business Hall of Fame Award is a joint venture among the Daniels Fund, the University of Wyoming College of Business, Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation.

Fleming Dinneen, of Cheyenne, and the late Enzi, of Gillette, have been selected for the Legacy category, which recognizes individuals for making historic and significant long-term contributions to the business community. Wandler, of Gillette, was selected for the Contemporary category, which recognizes an individual who is an up and coming emerging business person or entrepreneur who has a vision for Wyoming’s future.

Winners of Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses announced

LARAMIE – Top winners of the 2021 Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses were announced at the virtual Wyoming Cybersecurity Conference on Oct. 8.

The competition was developed to encourage Wyoming small businesses to meet best practices in cybersecurity through a home grown program called Made Safe in Wyoming. The competition was the brain child of CyberWyoming and, to date, has gained national and international attention being the only of its kind.

The participating companies were judged on six general categories: 1. Presentation, 2. Thoroughness, 3. Technical Expertise, 4. Planning, 5. Innovation, and 6. Look How Far They Have Come. The company reports submitted to the judges were anonymous and there was a strict separation of duties from CyberWyoming who ran the companies through the process and the judging committee. Shantel Anderson, of Star Awards & Promos in Laramie, was the Judging Committee Chair.

Bighorn Airways of Sheridan captured first place. At Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Conference, Cyber Leader Penny Rader spoke about her five-year journey with different organizations to reach NIST 800-171 compliance. She specifically acknowledged PDS (Ptolemy Data Systems), Wyoming Manufacturing Works, the SBDC’s PTAC Division, the Department of Workforce Services, her intern, Coen Rader, and CyberWyoming.

Second place went to another Sheridan company, Frontier Asset Management. Third place showed a tie between two Cheyenne organizations: the Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne and Wyo Support.

WYDOT reminds prospective CDL drivers of changes to federal training requirements

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Department of Transportation wants to remind those who are interested in obtaining a commercial driver license about upcoming changes to federal training requirements.

Starting Feb. 7, prospective drivers wishing to obtain a CDL will be required to complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). Additionally, those who currently have a CDL but want to upgrade to a new class, like Class A, or add specific endorsements – such as school bus, passenger and/or hazardous materials – will be required to take the training.

Training must be completed with a registered training provider. Prospective license holders will receive training in driving theory, like hours-of-service requirements, as well as behind the wheel. While there are no requirements for minimum length the training can take, drivers can expect it to take about six weeks.

These ELDT requirements are implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a federal act which was first signed into law in 2012 and was most recently updated in 2016.

This training is not retroactive; if you receive a Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) or received a CDL prior to Feb. 7, 2022, these federal training requirements will not apply.

For more information about the changes, or to see the Training Provider Registry, visit https://tpr.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Pinnacle Bank breaks ground on new building in south Cheyenne

With a family-owned banking heritage dating back more than eight decades, Pinnacle Bank has broken ground in Cheyenne for its new, state-of-the-art south branch, to be completed mid-2022.

“Pinnacle Bank has a long history of serving the financial needs of Cheyenne,” said Matt Behrends, regional president, in a news release. “This new building creates greater opportunities to fulfill our mission of providing the best service and products to our growing customer base and community.”

Pinnacle Bank’s new branch location will be easily accessible; conveniently located off a main thoroughfare, at 1700 Goodnight Trail, bordering College Drive and across from Laramie County Community College. It will feature three wide, drive-up teller lanes and a drive-up, deposit-capable ATM.

Pinnacle Bank’s current south branch in Cheyenne is located at 1501 S. Greeley Highway, and will continue to provide full banking services until the new building is completed in the future.

Wyoming Economic Development Association elects new members

The Wyoming Economic Development Association board elections were held in September, adding three new members to the board: Betsey Hale, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS; Kevin Kershisnik, executive director of IDEA Inc.; and Mike Howe, community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy.

The WEDA board also elected the following officers, who will serve for one year: Phil Christopherson, Energy Capital Economic Development, president; Sharon Fain, Rocky Mountain Power, vice president; Kayla McDonald, Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition, secretary; and Kevin Kershisnik, Executive Director of IDEA Inc., treasurer.

The following WEDA board members make up the remaining roster: John Marshall, president at Golden Shovel Agency; Andy Gramlich, Lander Economic Development Association; and Lisa Miller, CEO Goshen Economic Development. Josh Durrell, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council; Ron Gullberg, Strategic Partnerships Manager for the Wyoming Business Council; Robin Sessions Cooley, director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services; and Heidi Peterson, director of the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce, serve as non-voting ex-officio members of the board.

Established in 1985, WEDA is a nonprofit professional association representing over 165 economic development members and organizations, in addition to thousands of Wyoming businesses who support economic development through their local economic development groups. WEDA supports its members with the necessary tools used to create, retain and expand jobs, attract and grow businesses, and develop a skilled workforce. WEDA offers professional development scholarships, training conferences, newsletters and publications, a reference library, list-serves, networking opportunities, a website, and advocacy efforts. For more information, visit www.wyomingeda.org.

High West and partners donate $30,000 to Kimball Hospital

On Oct. 15, High West Energy presented the Kimball Hospital Foundation with a check for $30,000, moving the Foundation closer to its goal of building a new hospital in Kimball.

The $30,000 donation is part of a team effort between High West Energy, Basin Electric Cooperative and CoBank. Basin and CoBank increased their charitable matching programs this year to $10,000, and both immediately agreed to match a $10,000 donation from High West.

In August, the High West Energy Board of Directors voted unanimously to make the $10,000 donation from the cooperative’s unclaimed fund. This account holds money that High West attempted to return to members through its patronage dividend program. When members don’t claim the money, it goes into an account that can only be used to support local organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities served by High West.

Kimball Health Services has been developing plans to replace the 70-year-old hospital, and they hope to break ground next year. While the original hospital has served a vital purpose, it allows the hospital virtually no space to grow to meet current demand or to meet an ever-increasing standard of care. The hospital has received generous support from donors throughout the region.

UW’s IMPACT 307 to host Lunch and Learn series webinar

IMPACT 307, a University of Wyoming program, will host “Researching Your Customers and Competitors,” a new Lunch and Learn series webinar, Wednesday from noon-1 p.m.

Michael Lambert, program manager, and Nicholas Giraldo, a market researcher, both with the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network’s Market Research Center, will present the webinar. It will provide an introductory understanding of market research strategies for Wyoming businesses. The session will be an interactive discussion where the participants can ask questions.

Lambert specializes in providing Wyoming businesses with access to advanced marketing information that was previously available only to a few of the largest corporations. His expertise also includes marketing, product management, product development, international trade and exporting. Giraldo specializes in digital marketing and search engine optimization.

The IMPACT 307 Lunch and Learn series is designed to introduce new and existing entrepreneurs to a wide range of business topics. The hourlong educational sessions are held once a month and presented via Zoom. To register for the webinar, go to https://uwyo.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_T39nBg7ISuW0rYPh3nv6eA.

IMPACT 307, with locations in Casper, Laramie and Sheridan, is a statewide network of innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing and strengthening Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community by providing resources and support for founders to thrive. For additional information, call 307-766-6395 or go to www.IMPACT307.org.

BBB: Multiple complaints filed about online retailer BlackOxygen Organics

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming is warning consumers about online retailer BlackOxygen Organics.

The business sells supplements containing fulvic and humic acids – natural compounds created by decaying organic matter in soils.

Though the business advertises an address in Sheridan, Wyoming, this appears to be a Commercial Registered Agent's location and is not typically a physical place of business.

Since July 2021, BBB has received a total of 16 consumer complaints against this business. Thirteen complaints have been closed without the business’s response, while three are still pending.

Customers report a variety of concerns, including delayed shipments, product concerns, and general customer service issues.

The majority of complainants allege difficulties reaching business representatives when seeking refunds or information regarding the status of their orders. Consumers also report being denied refunds despite the business’s advertised 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

In addition, some complainants allege concerns about the quality and safety of products received.

Laramie County meat processors provide game to anti-hunger organizations

CHEYENNE – First lady Jennie Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative has partnered with K-J Meats in Burns and Home on the Range Meat Processing in Cheyenne to provide an opportunity for hunters to participate in the second year of the Food from the Field program, which enables them to donate all or part of their meat to the local food pantry system.

The ultimate goal of Food from the Field is to utilize Wyoming resources to combat food insecurity. The program complements existing donation efforts around the state, and the increased collaboration between agencies offers a framework for more processors to participate.

Through these two local businesses, 1,455 pounds of game meat was distributed to Laramie County anti-hunger organizations in the last month, including Needs Inc., Element Church Food Pantry, Family Promise, Unaccompanied Students Initiative, The Salvation Army, True Vine Community Church Food Pantry, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry and the COMEA House homeless shelter.

K-J Meats is a new processor in Laramie County and has already processed more than 1,000 pounds of meat for Food from the Field. Home on the Range Meat Processing has operated in Laramie County for quite some time, but partnered with Wyoming Hunger Initiative’s Food from the Field program for the first time this year to offer hunters an opportunity to donate to southeastern Wyoming.

As a part of the program, all donated deer, elk and moose will undergo appropriate chronic wasting disease testing to ensure safety prior to entering the food bank system. If you are a hunter wishing to donate game meat this year, visit either one of these processors to accept your donation. Both processors offer a reduced donation price, and Wyoming Hunger Initiative covers the remaining processing fees.

Wyoming Hunger Initiative seeks to find and support Wyoming solutions to the challenge of food insecurity, which affects approximately 86,000 residents statewide. Launched in October 2019, Wyoming Hunger Initiative is the official initiative of Wyoming first lady Jennie Gordon and is governed by the Board of Directors of the Wyoming Governor’s Residence Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.nohungerwyo.org.

Milestones

Cheyenne OBGYN is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Austin Barnes, OBGYN to their team. Located at 2301 House Ave., Suite 400, Cheyenne OBGYN provides personalized and compassionate health care in all aspects of obstetrical and gynecological care to women of all ages. Barnes is originally from Greeley, Colorado, but spent most of his life in the Sandhills of Nebraska. He attended University of Nebraska Medical Center and conducted his residency at Texas Tech-Permian Basin. His specialties are laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and family planning.

Jeffrey Mincy has been named CEO of the Platte Valley Clinic and Saratoga Care Center and will head administrative operations of the North Platte Valley Medical Center when construction is complete in the summer of 2022, the Platte Valley Healthcare Project has announced. Prior to accepting this post, Mincy had been clinic administrator and director of patient experience as well as the safety/emergency management coordinator for the Coryell County Hospital Authority in Gatesville, Texas, since 2009. He also managed expansion from a single hospital-based clinic and one rural health clinic to six satellite clinics. He additionally supervised the county’s 911 EMS services.

Laramie County Library System has selected Mike Kamber as its new manager for the Information Technology Services division. A long-time employee of the library, Kamber will now oversee the management of the organization’s software, telecommunications and hardware throughout all three library facilities. He will also ensure the library provides patrons and employees with access to cutting-edge technology while protecting the organization by adhering to the latest cybersecurity recommendations and innovations.

Laramie County Library System’s Lori Lewis recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary with the organization, where she serves as the readers’ advisory librarian and assistant manager for Circulation and Branch Services. Lewis began working at the library in October 2001 as a part-time reference desk assistant and was promoted to assistant manager of Circulation and Branch Services in 2002. Lori received her Master of Library Science Degree in 2007 from Texas Women’s University, at which time she was appointed as the readers’ advisory librarian.

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