Business briefs for January 2023

Wyoming Energy Authority executive director announces resignation

The Wyoming Energy Authority has announced that Glen Murrell intends to resign as executive director effective March 1.

The WEA was created in 2020 by the Wyoming State Legislature by merging the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and the Wyoming Pipeline Authority; Murrell was the agency’s inaugural director.

Under his tenure, the WEA unveiled its Energy Strategy, which champions legacy industries alongside renewables and next-generation technologies. The WEA also formed notable partnerships with the states of Colorado, Utah and New Mexico to form the Western Interstates Hydrogen Hub and with Idaho National Laboratory to develop a viable nuclear industry in Wyoming, according to a news release.

“We thank Dr. Murrell for his great leadership in getting the Authority up and running,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in the release. “The Authority is a powerhouse that will drive Wyoming’s all-of-the-above energy policy. Wyoming’s leadership on nuclear and important climate-related initiatives, from CCUS to renewables, positions Wyoming and the WEA to lead the nation into a bright future.”

“Glen has been an excellent inaugural executive director for the WEA and has helped position Wyoming to meet our energy challenges now and into the future,” said Paul Ulrich, chairman of the board of directors. “We are all in a stronger and more collaborative position today, thanks to his work and the work of the WEA staff. We now move to the task of finding a replacement for this critical role and ensuring a smooth transition for our team and Wyoming’s vital energy industry.”

The Wyoming Energy Authority Board of Directors is initiating a job search for executive director immediately.

AARP Wyoming welcomes Stella Montano as new state president.

Stella Montano, a longtime AARP volunteer and community leader, has been selected as the next state president of AARP Wyoming.

Montano has served in Sheridan as co-lead of the Community Action Team. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and connections that will grow and support AARP’s work in Sheridan and statewide, according to a news release.

As president, Montano will serve as the head of the AARP Wyoming volunteer Executive Council. She will lead the council in developing the strategic direction for AARP Wyoming. She will also serve as the primary volunteer spokeswoman sharing AARP’s vision, mission and strategic priorities.

Montano succeeds Casper resident Kate Sarosy, who has moved into the Regional Volunteer Director role and will support the efforts of 10 AARP offices.

NEA awards $40k to Wyoming organizations, individuals

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2023, with grants in the categories of Grants for Arts Projects, Challenge America, Research Awards, and Literature Fellowships in creative writing (poetry) and translation.

A total of $40,000 was awarded to four recipients in Wyoming:

  • Grand Teton Music Festival, $10,000, Jackson; Grants for Arts Projects—Music grant
  • Relative Theatrics, $10,000, Laramie; Challenge America grant
  • Wyoming Women’s Business Center, $10,000, Laramie; Challenge America grant
  • WYO Theatre Inc., $10,000, Sheridan; Challenge America grant

The NEA is committed to equity, access and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Applications for funding demonstrated a commitment by the arts and culture sector to provide more equitable and accessible pathways for arts engagement. The Wyoming Arts Council serves as the state partner for the National Endowment for the Arts and works closely with the NEA to support arts activities around Wyoming.

Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business in sixth year

In its sixth year, Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business, offering CLE and CPE continuing education credits, is hoping for record registration turnout due to cash prizes and program visibility expansion through grant funding by the Gula Tech Foundation.

The competition is built for those small businesses who do not have information technology help and want one-on-one, on-the-job, human-based training to manage their security risks. It begins on Feb. 1 and continues through Aug. 1.

The competition offers attorneys up to 35 hours of CLE credits on cybersecurity related topics like Skills Training, Law Practice Management, Ethics, and Business and Corporation Law. It also offers up to 35 CPE credits for accountants for the categories of Business Management & Organization, Management Services, Information Technology, Auditing, Business Law, and Behavioral Ethics. Additional for-credit topics may be applicable to an attorney’s or accountant’s specific field.

In 2023, the competition will include the topic of preparing for a participating company’s upcoming digital world.

“This means we want to ensure that Wyoming businesses are preparing for things like automatic online payments, smart contracts, deciding if they need digital wallets to accept cryptocurrency, and to start thinking about how quantum computing may affect their business,” said Patrick Wolfinbarger, co-founder of CyberWyoming.

Registration continues through May 11, but statistically those that enter early have a better chance of winning and can work the project at a more leisurely pace. Judging reports are due Aug. 1, and participants are judged on the categories of problem solving/innovation, information security, culture/learning, planning, progress, thoroughness and presentation.

To participate in the competition, business owners or managers should contact to get a copy of the intent to participate form and make an appointment to discuss how to become cyber-secure.

More information can be found at

Saratoga hospital signs agreement to manage emergency, inpatient service

Recruiting qualified medical personnel has long been a challenge to rural communities. To meet the health care needs of the Saratoga community through the North Platte Valley Medical Center, the Platte Valley Healthcare Project has contracted with Aligned Providers Wyoming to staff and manage NPVMC’s emergency and inpatient departments.

Aligned Providers Wyoming is an emergency, urgent care and hospitalist medicine management group formed in 2016 to serve Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s emergency department. Today, they serve more than 13 hospital contracts across Wyoming and Nebraska, including Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie and Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins.

So far, APW has signed three providers for NPVMC, according to Board President Joann Bourlier-Childress. Reggie M. Gillens, nurse practitioner; Steven L. Martin, physician assistant; and Christopher Shores, advanced practice nurse practitioner, will work as part of the North Platte Valley Medical Center team. Bourlier-Childress said the emergency department would need four or five advanced practice providers, as well as a medical director and practice administrator, to fully staff NPVMC’s emergency medicine and inpatient programs.

“Our focus on Wyoming, Nebraska and surrounding states has allowed us to build a robust network of candidates with specialized skills and to be able to deploy them efficiently,” Bourlier-Childress said. “When the North Platte Valley Medical Center opens, we’ll be ready.”

Wells Fargo launches $20M initiative for Native American communities

Wells Fargo has announced a $20 million commitment to advance economic opportunities in Native American communities working with Native-led organizations.

The Invest Native initiative aims to address housing, small business, financial health and sustainability among Native American communities in Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The program is designed as a grantmaking initiative to support a more equitable and prosperous future for Native Americans, according to a news release.

The announcement represents a continuation of philanthropic support of Native American communities, building on the company’s five-year, $50 million commitment to address American Indian and Alaska Native communities’ unique economic, social and environmental needs, which launched in 2017 and was completed in 2022.

Holland & Hart law firm elects, appoints new leaders

Holland & Hart has elected and appointed several partners to new leadership roles effective Jan. 1, including Cheyenne-based Matt Micheli, who was appointed as office administrative partner.

Two partners were elected by the partnership to serve on the firm’s five-person Management Committee that oversees the firm’s management and strategic direction. One new practice group leader and three new office administrative partners, including Micheli, were appointed by MCOM to serve in leadership positions.

Serving clients in a range of practice areas and industries across the firm’s footprint, the new leadership team comprises attorneys in five of the firm’s offices: Boise, Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver and Salt Lake City.

First Interstate Bank collects, donates 12,232 clothing items from Coats and More Drive

Team members from First Interstate Bank, a $33 billion community bank with more than 300 branches across 14 states, recently collected and donated 12,232 clothing items from its annual Coats and More Drive to help keep community members warm this winter.

Items collected included coats, hats, mittens, scarves, socks and snow boots, and were given to local nonprofits, including schools, child and family services, senior centers and veteran outreach programs.

Since starting the drive in 2009, First Interstate has collected and distributed 63,532 total items to community partners and schools.

“A special thank you to our clients and employees who participated in the 14th annual Coats and More Drive,” said Amberly Pahut, executive director of First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, in a news release. “The winter months can be particularly difficult for some of our neighbors, and together, we have helped spread warmth around our communities.”

TW Foundation honors Neil McMurry with gift to UW’s IMPACT 307

A gift of $1 million to the University of Wyoming from the TW Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Casper, supports Wyoming businesses through the university’s IMPACT 307 business launchpad.

“My grandfather, Neil McMurry, was a smart businessman and dedicated philanthropist,” Tiffany Gamble, president of the TW Foundation, said in a news release. “I feel so grateful to be able to continue his legacy. I think he would be proud to see the impact of this philanthropy. IMPACT 307 is doing important work that will help carry the state forward into the future. He cared deeply about small Wyoming businesses. This bequest is a perfect fit to honor Neil McMurry.”

McMurry had profound success in his business ventures, and he felt that it was important to give back to his community. The TW Foundation wishes to continue honoring his legacy by supporting the next generation of Wyoming entrepreneurs, according to the release.

This is where IMPACT 307 comes in. Founded in 2005, IMPACT 307—formerly the Wyoming Technology Business Center, or WTBC—is a UW program designed to work as a statewide entrepreneurial support network. IMPACT 307’s goal is economic development across Wyoming.

Since its founding, IMPACT 307 has assisted in the launch of more than 200 Wyoming businesses that range in size from small businesses to companies that have raised millions in investment funds.

Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites hosts another year of record visitation

Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites’ annual visitation numbers for 2022 indicate high visitor use is here to stay, with nearly 5.2 million visitors across all parks and historic sites.

In recent years, Wyoming’s outdoors have seen unprecedented visitation throughout the state, and those high numbers have continued through 2022.

Individually, state parks hosted nearly 4.9 million visitors, 3% above the five-year average, and historic sites hosted nearly 334,000 visitors, 6% above the five-year average. 2020 saw over 5.8 million visitors, with 2021 over 5.7 million visitors.

Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites’ current numbers remain well above pre-pandemic visitation, which can be attributed to the retention of many first-time guests during this extreme visitation period.

“Many outdoor recreation destinations continue to see significant growth throughout the state and need new ways to continue to engage first-time and returning visitors,” deputy director of Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails Dave Glenn said in a news release. “Our agency continues to enhance the visitor experience by investing in the development and expansion of new and existing infrastructure, campgrounds, trail systems, and interpretive programming amongst other exciting outdoor recreation opportunities across our sites.”

State parks and historic sites also saw a continued increase in fall visitation during 2022. September visitation was 14% above the five-year average, and October’s was 21% above the five-year average.

These numbers provide continued encouragement to Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites’ officials, who attribute the growth to the hard work and dedication of park staff and their efforts to extend and enhance shoulder season visitation.

To learn more about Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites and/or to view Visitation Statistics, visit

Hydrogen hub concept paper receives positive recommendation

A regional hydrogen hub in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming is one step closer to reality after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program issued an “Encouraged” recommendation for the concept paper submitted by Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub.

According to the DOE, reviewers only issued “Encouraged” recommendations to 33 of the 79 concept papers that were submitted earlier this fall.

WISHH members were notified of the recommendation on Tuesday. This follows a process in which reviewers independently scored each concept paper based on evaluation criteria.

The term “regional clean hydrogen hub” is defined by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.”

Applicants encouraged to proceed by DOE plan to develop all elements critical to a regional clean hydrogen hub: comprising production, end-uses, and connective infrastructure; demonstrating capabilities to execute a project plan or to attract and hire such capabilities; planning to deploy proven technologies; and indicating commitments to clean hydrogen and meaningful community benefits

“The WISHH concept represents a collective effort of a multi-state coalition to secure and sustain our regional energy economy,” said Wyoming Energy Authority Executive Director Dr. Glen Murrell. “The positive response to our concept paper is not unexpected, as we know we have a winning proposal. We have a lot of work to do to capitalize on this good news, and we are looking forward to building on our concept and submitting a winning application.”

Although encourage/discourage notifications do not prevent any entity that submitted a Concept Paper from submitting a full application, the recommendation serves to caution applicants who received a “discourage” notification from expending the time and resources necessary to develop a successful full application. The final application deadline is April 7, and DOE anticipates selecting awardees during the summer of 2023.

For more information about the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub, visit


The Wyoming Office of Tourism recently announced Charisse Meadows Haws as a new Wyoming Tourism Board member. Gov. Mark Gordon appointed Meadows Haws to represent District 6.

Meadows Haws is the co-president of four hotel properties in Jackson (49er Inn & Suites, Antler Inn, Cowboy Village Resort and Elk Country Inn), which was originally founded by her mother, Clarene Law. Law set down roots in Jackson and began the family business in the 1960s. Unfortunately, Law passed away in September. She is remembered as the matriarch of the travel industry and a recognized champion statewide.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Meadows Haws is a passionate Wyoming native who brings years of hospitality experience and understands the importance of the visitor economy.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has announced the expansion of its State Government Relations Group with the addition of Shane Schulz. Schulz, an experienced government affairs professional, will serve as a strategic consulting advisor in the firm’s Cheyenne office.

“Shane is a great addition to our State Government Relations team and bolsters our presence in Wyoming,” said Doug Friednash, chair of the firm’s State Government Relations Group. “Our clients will benefit from his extensive policy expertise, strong relationships and experience working with the oil and gas and agriculture industries throughout the Mountain West.”

The Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole has announced the appointment of Matthew Viereck as the new executive chef of Whistling Grizzly, the onsite, award-winning restaurant. With 20 years of experience in the culinary industry, Viereck brings a unique perspective to fine dining, showcasing traditional methods of cuisine preparation and execution presented with familiar ingredients and a modern twist.

“We are so excited to have Matthew on board as the executive chef at Whistling Grizzly,” said General Manager Christie Reinhardt. “We’re confident his dedication to sustaining the Wyoming Inn’s elevated hospitality within the dining room will ensure the continued success of our distinct culinary experience for hotel guests and locals alike.”

Viereck most recently served as the head chef at Jackson’s Persephone Bakery, a French café dedicated to creating artisanal bread, pastries and other fare using locally sourced ingredients, much like Whistling Grizzly. He also gained experience as chef de cuisine at Gather, another top-rated restaurant in Jackson Hole offering an innovative American food menu.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., congratulated Riverton resident Ruby Calvert on being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) board. This will be Ruby’s second term on the board.

“Ruby has served in the public television system in Wyoming and nationally for nearly 40 years. She’s a fierce advocate for public media that enriches, informs and educates the public,” said Barrasso. “Throughout her career, Ruby has shown she can tackle challenges unique to rural states while being a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars. She will continue to represent Wyoming and rural America well on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting oversees the government’s investment in public broadcasting, which supports the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. The president of the United States appoints each member, who, after confirmation by the Senate, serves a six-year term.

Calvert worked for the Wyoming Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in Riverton for more than 30 years, including 10 years as general manager of the station and president of the Wyoming PBS Foundation. Calvert also served two terms on the national PBS Board.

Lunavi, a leading provider of digital solutions and managed services leveraging Microsoft platforms, announced Stephen Pasztor as the company’s new chief strategy and innovation officer, strengthening executive acumen and expertise around Microsoft cloud services and digital consulting. He brings over 20 years of leadership experience in the IT consulting space to Lunavi.

“Stephen has proven success growing digital consulting practices at his previous positions and we are delighted to have his talents on board,” said Lunavi CEO Sam Galeotos. “As we continue our rapid growth and work with large-scale organizations as their trusted technology adviser, Stephen will play an instrumental role in defining our overall corporate strategy, while also helping our sales executives and delivery teams to ensure client satisfaction.”

Buck McVeigh, the former chief of staff for Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, has joined e-Roll Corporation as its vice president. e-Roll is a Wyoming corporation that has launched an entire array of advanced technologies for electric transportation and solar energy power plants for rural America.

“Wyoming is well known for its consecutive days of sunlight. That, along with its wide-open landscape, provides a perfect setting for solar energy generation. I am thrilled at the opportunity provided me by eRoll, and I especially thank its CEO, Gary Brant, for his confidence in me,” McVeigh commented.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest announces Adam Calkins as the District Ranger for the Kemmerer Ranger District. Calkins joins the forest from his former position as an archeologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Lander.

No stranger to the West, Calkins graduated from high school in Coeur d/Alene, Idaho, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Archeology from Eastern Washington University, and then a master’s degree, also in Archeology, from the University of Nevada, Reno. Additionally, Calkins has worked for the Boise National Forest in Idaho as an archeologist technician.

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