Governor Mark Gordon, University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel, Wyoming Business Council Executive Director Josh Dorrell, and Central Wyoming College President Brad Tyndall met with local businesses and economic development leaders at the Central Wyoming College campus to discuss partnerships, projects, and the Wyoming Innovation Network (WIN) on June 9.
Governor Gordon and his team overviewed programs CWC provides to the service area, including work with local foods and markets, meat processing, and leadership in American Indian studies. These programs operate out of CWC departments such as the Start-Up Intensive, CWC Wind River, INBRE, and Alpine Science Institute.
The group met with CWC students and graduates who are now entrepreneurs and have launched their own business start-ups. CWC’s Director of Culinary and Hospitality Amy Madera was also able to highlight the culinary program’s new plan to expand learning to a mobile food truck which will allow students the experience of managing and operating a food truck in Wyoming. While not able to attend the event, Madera was able to join via Zoom to talk about culinary and hospitality.
Madera said the visit highlighted the college’s economic development work and contribution to the WIN.
“I think the governor and others were pleasantly surprised to learn that we helped start over 100 businesses,” Madera said.
Madera also said the event showcased the college’s future economic projects, including fundraising for the Rocky Mountain Complex (RMC) for ag and equine science, which will provide even more local benefits.
“The RMC is pushing to catalyze meat processing, equine businesses, and agrotourism in our region,” Madera said.
President Tyndall opened the group’s luncheon with insight into CWC’s economic development priorities.
Because Fremont County annually imports about $87 million of agricultural supplies, Tyndall said the college is focusing on creating and promoting products and performing import substitution that benefits local communities.
In his presentation, UW President Seidel said the WIN can help connect university and community college education with local business and industry-specific economic development.
Both presidents agreed focusing on local economic growth will benefit the community by keeping graduates in the area, capturing the added value from state-harvested stock, and generating space and funding for entrepreneurial projects.
The governor, his team, and CWC leadership finished the day with a visit to Fremont County’s new meat processing facility, Genuine Meats, and Hi Mountain Seasoning.
Board of Trustees member Paula Hunker said the day’s events brought many essential groups together and allowed the college to highlight their internal projects, as well as those created in partnership with UW and the tribes.
“What I loved most about the visit was the feeling of collaboration between the community colleges, the University of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Business Council,” Hunker said.
This unity is essential to achieving the main goal of all entities.
“The desire is not to see a zero-sum game, but rather to see all of the community colleges—along with the University of Wyoming—provide the education we need to create and sustain vigorous economies, vibrant communities, and healthy environments,” Hunker said. “We clearly can have it all in Wyoming when we work together.”
Photos of the event can be viewed on the CWC blog at https://www.cwc.edu/blog/2020/wyoming-governor-visits-cwc-2021/