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ARCHIVED  June 18, 1999

Wyoming offers lesson on growth

Wyoming is on the right track.

For years, Colorado’s neighbor to the north has lagged behind the rest of the West in economic development and growth, a fact that’s been abundantly reported not only in this newspaper but also in the national press.

But things are beginning to happen. Under the leadership of Gov. Jim Geringer, Wyoming has consolidated and reinvigorated its state economic-development efforts through the fledgling Wyoming Business Council, a quasi-public entity that operates like a private business. The council this year hired John Reardon, an experienced economic developer well-known in Colorado business circles. The council has been working hard to forge collaborative relationships with other business groups around the state to determine the best strategy to bring new business to the state.

Such a concept would sound a little odd in booming Colorado, where residents are less concerned about bringing in new business than about controlling growth. But Wyoming’s in a different situation, with anemic growth rates that have struggled to remain above 1 percent.

Wyoming wants business, however, and it thinks Colorado can help. Cheyenne LEADS, for example, the economic-development agency for Cheyenne and Laramie County, believes the city can fulfill a niche as the northern anchor of the Front Range.

Indeed, progress has been made on that front, as companies such as Quark Inc. of Denver expand into Cheyenne, attracted by its abundant, cheap land, low-cost labor and excellent transportation infrastructure. Cheyenne has scored repeatedly in recent months, with the addition of major employers such as VAE Nortrak, Rex Stores, Wal-Mart Distribution and others.

By struggling when the rest of the West has boomed, Wyoming could teach us all a valuable lesson: Take nothing for granted, and work constantly to improve the climate for business.

Wyoming is on the right track.

For years, Colorado’s neighbor to the north has lagged behind the rest of the West in economic development and growth, a fact that’s been abundantly reported not only in this newspaper but also in the national press.

But things are beginning to happen. Under the leadership of Gov. Jim Geringer, Wyoming has consolidated and reinvigorated its state economic-development efforts through the fledgling Wyoming Business Council, a quasi-public entity that operates like a private business. The council this year hired John Reardon, an experienced economic developer well-known in Colorado business circles. The council has been working hard…

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