Celebration of Business Community and Initiatives
Laramie Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) held its Annual Dinner on Thursday, May 12th at the Hilton Garden Inn. This annual event celebrates LEDC's achievements as well as those of the Laramie area business community. It also recognizes new and retiring Officers and Directors of the corporation.
Richard Walje, President of Rocky Mountain Power, was the evening's keynote speaker. His presentation, titled "The 'Green Shoots' of Data Centers" provided insight into criteria that data centers, as large consumers of electrical power, use to choose sites for their business. He noted that power reliability and cost are of major importance. For years, electricity prices in Wyoming have been among the lowest in the nation and the world.
Each year, the Laramie area business community nominates and then votes for businesses and individuals who have contributed to the economic health and vitality of the City of Laramie and Albany County. LEDC presents awards to those who have demonstrated exemplary performance, involvement and commitment to the overall economic well being of the community. The 2011 award winners were announced by LEDC President and CEO, Gaye Stockman.
The winner of the 2011 Business Person of the Year was Phil Nicholas, of Nicholas & Tangeman, LLC. As a Laramie businessman and attorney, Nicholas epitomizes all the criteria established for this award. He has readily demonstrated a high level of involvement and commitment to civic and community welfare, has contributed to the economic health of our community through support and participation in economic development programs, and has assumed prominent leadership roles for the benefit of our community.
As State Senator, Nicholas was recently instrumental in drafting legislation and garnering congressional support for initiatives that enhance Wyoming's competitive attractiveness for site selection by mega data centers. "We've had a wonderful experience raising our children in this community and enjoying the University of Wyoming," Nicholas said. "And it's a great community. Everything we do is a labor of love."
Hilton Garden Inn & University of Wyoming Conference Center was awarded 2011 Business of the Year. To be considered for this award, the organization must have been operating for at least two years; have contributed time and resources to the community; experienced favorable business health in terms of employment, sales and general financial condition, and demonstrated entrepreneurial skills through innovation.
In accepting this award, Tom Kiel, General Manager, stated, "This is a great honor. I have a wonderful management team, great employees, and we have just a great partner with the University of Wyoming. We all really appreciate this."
Survival of the Fittest is a special category of award that recognizes a developing or existing company that has maintained excellence in service and market acceptance even through adverse operational or economic times. Laramie Plains Civic Center was announced as the winner for 2011. Executive Director for the Center, Alec Shea, expressed gratitude for the award, "For the first time in my life, I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what to say, except thank you to my staff. They have worked very, very hard."
Butch Keadle, retiring LEDC Chair, announced that David Challacomb, President of Mountain Cement Company; Mona Gamboa, President of Happy Jack Software; and Raj Patel, COO of Comfort Inn Laramie, were elected to the LEDC Board of Directors. Directors renewing their term were Shane Cox, Owner of Source Office Products; Jeff Dodds, President of Dodds Shoe Company; and Roy Schmett, President of Mountain West Farm Bureau. Casey Campbell, Owner of Brown and Gold; and Paul Greaser, Owner of The ACRE Company, were recognized as outgoing Directors.
In addition, Paul Greaser was recognized for the honor of being named Director Emeritus. This status is bestowed upon Directors who have distinguished themselves through unique leadership and contributions to economic development. Similarly, Director Emeritus recognition was posthumously awarded to Jim Cavalli of Aspen-Banner Engineering. Both Greaser and Cavalli join a revered group of Laramie leaders who have been named Director Emeritus in past years, including Dr. David Walrath, Dick Van Pelt, Mark Marquardt, Lou Schilt, John Shuster and Mark Mader.
New LEDC Executive Board Officers for 2011/2012 were recognized. These community-minded citizens are charged with responsibility for providing the leadership and support needed to sustain LEDC as a forward-looking advocate of economic development for the City of Laramie and for Albany County. They are:
Chair - Gary Crum, Wyoming State Bank
Vice Chair – Megan Goetz, Pence and MacMillan,LLC
Treasurer – Dave Coffey, Coffey Engineering & Surveying
Secretary – Roy Schmett, Mountain West Farm Bureau
Immediate Past Chair – Butch Keadle, Insurance Unlimited
These new Executive Board Officer terms begin July 1, 2011.