2021 Chamber Annual Award Nominees

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Kelly Swenson Business Person of the Year 

The Kelly Swenson Business Person of the Year Award is named in honor of the Chamber’s first manager/president – Kelly Swenson – who was a Champion of the Chamber. This award is given to an individual in Campbell County who, just as Mr. Swenson did, believes in the mission and services that the Chamber provides to the Community. 

 Brian Worthen – Visionary Communications 

It’s important to keep in touch with our industry, and to bring that understanding of Broadband back to our community.  I have established a personal network of fellow CEOs and business owners that I share best practices (and failures) with, and I attend trade shows and conferences throughout the year which are hyper-focused on Broadband. 

There is no manual for Broadband.  As such, I spend a lot of my time on the phone with industry peers, experts, communities, vendors, and customers, discussing Broadband and fulfilling the needs now and needs five years from now. 

I direct my team to provide the customer with what they would want as a customer.  As a result, Visionary pays for a lot of redundant and diverse fiber that makes our up-time an example for others, directly improving the service our business customers receive.  Secondly, I have encouraged my staff to remain accessible to our customers as we grow, including forwarding calls to our offices directly to our cell phones.  I can easily list 20 Campbell County customers I speak to multiple times a year, and my staff can do the same. 

The best way to support the Chamber is to participate.  As the strongest business entity in Gillette, the Chamber has the most potential to gather businesses and improve networking.  I loved participating with Gail for a discussion at a luncheon and attending the events I was in town for earlier this year and seeing the support of our local businesses.  

 Chrystal Knigge – HUB International 

I am committed to the business industry of Campbell County by promoting new businesses.  After returning to the office from ribbon cuttings, my colleagues inquire about the business.  I gladly explain to them what this new business does and I encourage them to visit this new business.  I also purchase locally, when able. 

As an active insurance professional in the community, I consult with our local clientele about the importance of insurance and its value to their overall business plan.  I help local businesses understand the value of managing risk and how that benefits the overall health of their business.   I am knowledgeable about events and happenings in the community and am always willing to share this knowledge with others. 

I have been a member of the Chamber Energizers since July 2012.  I have attended mixers, ground breakings, and ribbon cuttings on behalf of the Chamber.  The organization I work for has hosted multiple mixers in the past and I continually encourage my colleagues to attend mixers. 

 Nancy Nehl – Overhead Door of Gillette 

Tyler Miller – Earth Work Solutions 

 

Sherry McGrath Spirit of Gillette  

The Spirit of Gillette Award is given to an individual that makes a difference in the Campbell County community by volunteering their services or time. Nominees for the Spirit of Gillette Award must be an active Chamber member in good standing, give time and talent to community projects, and must not have held a public office in the last 12 months.   

Amber Eliason – Gillette Hacks 

I was raised in Afton, WY, and moved to Gillette in 2010 with my son Kaden. In 2012, I married the love of my life, Travis. In 2014, I started with Farmers as a customer services rep and after a couple years was asked to become the agency producer. Gillette is truly my home. 

I have given back to the community by helping wherever I can. Gillette has become my home and I see this community for all the greatness it is. Currently I am involved with The Boys and Girls Club, Campbell County Jr Football, Northeast Wyoming Realtor Alliance, Women in Business, and Gillette Hacks. Gillette Hacks was started three years ago with one goal in mind, to help promote our local businesses in what they do or what they offer, and to offer this for free. 

I was formerly involved with Kiwanis, BNI, where I held the VP and secretary seat along with BNI member of the year, and Next Gen as a sector business champion. 

I attend ribbon cuttings and Chamber Mixers, have participated in the Mega Mixer and am a supporter of Downtown Events by spotting them on Gillette Hacks. 

Home Depot, The – Community Supporter 

In 1978, The Home Depot was started in Atlanta, GA and has grown to the world largest home improvement retailer.  Opening in Gillette in June of 2005, The Home Depot has been serving our community for 16 years.  

Home Depot’s makes numerous donations to our community; during the pandemic we donated hazmat equipment and face mask to first responders and awarded Campbell County Fire Department $1000 cash grant.  Other organizations benefiting from our donations include the American Legion baseball team who received $500 in chairs and cases of water for games/tournaments.  Also donated materials and volunteer hours for the construction of their new field.  Home Depot also has helped with Spring Clean Up with donation of bags and volunteer hours. Home Depot is part of the Adopt-a-Planter program with City Parks.  In the past 5 years Home Depot has donated over $40,000 in funds and materials in Campbell County through our community service programs.  We also have associate volunteers helping Campbell County through our Team Depot program.  Organizations include CASA, Boys and Girls Club, and the YES House to name a few.  

We had Home Depot personnel serve on the Board of Directors, attend several functions, and in the past year, donated merchandise up to $2000 to support Chamber events.  We are also an active member in our community, supporting gold bucks and Shop Down to Christmas. Three community organizations the Home Depot is involved with are Habitat for Humanity, American Legion Post 42, and Gillette Energy Rotary Club. 

Powder River Construction, Inc. (PRC) – Commitment to Community 

What started as a small excavating and hauling company has, in the past 16 years, grown into a solid construction company focusing on safety, quality and efficiency. PRC has added several projects such as new artificial turf athletic fields, buildings, and commercial remodel projects to its portfolio of concrete paving, heavy civil construction, transport, excavating, foundations, snow removal, gravel pit management, and decorative rock sales. PRC also, started a free dumping site for asphalt and concrete that is recycled for future construction projects. 

Not only is PRC involved with the community such as Gillette Main Street, Gillette College Foundation and Penny Power, but we also encourage our employees to participate on local advisory boards and committees and help support many of them through financial and hourly contributions.  Some of these are Bricks for Veterans, Campbell County Festival of Lights, Campbell County Festival of Trees, Campbell County Cemetery District Art Works, Children’s Memorial Garden, Gillette Dog Park, Gillette Main Street Clean-up, Wyoming Sportsman’s Group, and the list goes on.    

In the past PRC has had several NEWCA board members.  Our company has assisted with the NEWCA Home Show and taken part in career day for Vo-Ag Young Contractors during the meet and greet days. 

Stefanie Crawford – Serving with Honor 

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.  I grew up in an Air Force family with five siblings and have lived all over the United States.  After my husband Jon and I married, I joined him in college and again traveled about the country as his career evolved and we eventually settled in Gillette.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mary in Management and Leadership.   We have two grown children. Our daughter and her family live in Fort Worth Texas and our son in Soda Springs, Idaho. In addition, we have two pets, Princess Pippa, our dog, and Tomi the cat.   Besides my family, my commitment to my faith and serving our community is second nature to me and important to my well-being. Gillette has provided all that is good for me and my family. 

It is important and valuable to me to have the pleasure and honor to serve on many committees and boards in our community. I have enjoyed getting to know so many community people and have met just as many new people who share the same passion and ideals to serve and make our community a better place to live. To name a few: I am on or have served with organizations such as the Gillette Energy Rotary Club, WY Perkins Grant and Tech Prep Joint Advisory Board, a Eucharistic Minister in church and for the homebound, a hospital volunteer, Meals on Wheels, the Northeast Wyoming Community Health Foundation, Rita’s Rebels/Relay for Life, PEO, Delta Kappa Gamma, Women in Business, CASA Advocate/Court Liaison for Children and the YES House Foundation. 

I am a member of the GALI class of 2022. Through my past and current employers, I have had the honor of attending and participating in various Chamber activities. 

Key Service Award  

This award is given to a non-profit agency in Campbell County that has demonstrated excellence in carrying out the mission of the organization. This award is selected by membership vote.  

 Gillette College Foundation – Working Together to Advance Student Success 

The mission of the Gillette College Foundation is “Working Together to Advance Student Success”.  Their 17-member volunteer board is comprised of community members from all walks of life.  They work very hard to provide funding for scholarships, grants, programs, equipment, and capital funds for Gillette College. 

 The Foundation was originally organized in 1987 as the Campbell County Higher Education Foundation.  There were five founding directors.  The Foundation’s mission was to provide higher education opportunities in Campbell County.  In 2006, the foundation was renamed Gillette College Foundation and its mission amended to support Gillette College.  As of the end of 2020, the Foundation has raised more than $19,000,000.00 since 2006. 

 The Foundation has provided matching funds of $250,000.00 for an EDA grant, over $1 million in matching funds for Area 59 and many other projects.  Each year we welcome our new students, host root beer floats at the welcome back events, and recognize our alumni at commencement.  The board is committed to doing whatever it can to ensure the success of students and programs at Gillette College. 

Boys and Girls Club of Campbell County – Providing Opportunities and Supporting the Dreams of Today’s Youth 

The Boys and Girls Club of Campbell County C.A.R.E.S.  The Club has built its foundational model upon these five (5) pillars:  Collaborations, Accountability, Respect, Empowerment, and Safety.  The Club’s focus is on being the youth organization of choice for children, parents, and community members by providing the greatest opportunities and by supporting the dreams of today’s youth. 

 The Club first began offering summer programming in June 2001 and daily after-school programming in January 2002.  From that time, the Club has served well over 10,000 youth from Campbell County.  In the summer of 2014, the Club relocated to its current facility in the old Lakeway Elementary School.  The Club has continued to provide before and after-school programming and has since expanded into four elementary schools with the Campbell County School District. 

 Campbell County and the community have been vital to the success of the Boys and Girls Club.  The Club has gone through many renovations since its 2014 relocation.  They have worked diligently to turn our space into a community center for Campbell County.  We house the local Girl Scouts and provide space for local non-profits and church groups.  The Club also partners with Edible Prairie Project to provide summer weekend meals for kids. 

 Campbell County Senior Center – Support Services for Senior Citizens 

 The Campbell County Senior Center was organized in 1982 by some key individuals who wanted to set up senior meals in Gillette. What began as senior meals in a church basement has evolved into a 37,000+ square foot building that offers senior meals, home delivered meals, senior activities for education, fun and fitness, in home services program that includes caregivers, and accessible transportation with a fleet of seven vehicles. 

The Campbell County Senior Center provides on-site senior meals weekdays from 11:30a.m. to 12:30p.m. Community events and items of interest to seniors are announced at noon. The Center provides home delivered meals to eligible senior citizens who wish to remain independent in their own homes. The Center provides accessible transportation to the community. Reduced fares are available to senior citizens age 60 or older, and to individuals coping with a disability. In-home services are available to eligible individuals in Campbell County as program funding allows. This array of services provide many community members with an option to live independently.   

 Fur Kids Foundation – Helping for Furry Friends 

Fur Kids Foundation is a 100% volunteer run organization that helps families with pets in Campbell County who are faced with unexpected veterinary care costs.  The Foundation was created after a special dog, Morgan, a three-year-old Bullmastiff who was adopted by her parents in August 2010. 

 On May 25, 2011, Morgan turned four years old and on May 26 she had knee surgery to replace her cranial cruciate ligament that was injured earlier in the year.  During a follow-up appointment on June 8, the vet noticed that Morgan’s lymph nodes were enlarged.  That week, she was diagnosed with B-Cell Lymphoma and she began chemotherapy immediately.  She was given a life expectancy of five to seven months. 

 In July 2011, a group of friends, Mary, Sheryl, and Felicia, talked about how devastating it must be to be told your fur baby has cancer and not have means to pay for the treatment.  That night the trio decided it was time to start an organization to assist families in Campbell County with assistance for their pets’ unexpected veterinary needs.  Since September 2012, Fur Kids Foundation has helped over 900 families in Campbell County and granted more than $183,000. 

 Fur Kids hosts events including pooch plunge, bazaars, fun walks and more. This is a way to offer affordable events for people and their pets, as well as help raise awareness of proper veterinary care. They work closely with Animal Medical Center and Red Hills Veterinary Hospital to help provide assistance to those who want to do what’s right for their pets, but may be in a tight spot.  

Their volunteers also encourage the community, as well as participate, in helping clean up the parks of pet waste, do group walks, and more.  

Multiple Sclerosis Society – Empowering Individuals with MS to Live Their Best Lives 

75 years ago, Sylvia Lawry, MS Society founder, placed an ad in the New York Times saying: “Multiple Sclerosis. Will anyone recovered from it please communicate with patient.” She did this because she was frustrated by her inability to find solutions to her brother’s visual and balance problems.  She got 50 replies sharing similar frustrations; and this was the beginning of the MS movement.  As they celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the MS Society, it is worth noting that they have achieved more advances in MS than for any other neurological disease. They have supported, engaged, and improved the lives of over 600,000 of the 1 million people currently living with MS.  

They have had a presence and a focus in Wyoming for many years and since 2014, have raised nearly $2.8M and engaged thousands of people in their events, services, and programs across the entire state.   

In Campbell County, the MS Society has an incredibly strong champion and leader and dedicated member of the WY Community Leadership Council Member, Brenda Kron.  She lives in the community and is connected to MS and has been actively involved in leadership and community involvement in Campbell County and the Chamber for many years.  She has volunteers right there in the community who also work together with her on the annual events that are supported by the MS Society there.   

In 2019, with her leadership and commitment, they hosted the First Annual Scott Shade Golf Tournament in Gillette which was a huge success and this year on August 28, 2021, we will host the MS is BS, Rope for a Cure event right in Gillette.  They hope to make both annual events in the coming years!   

With Brenda’s leadership and commitment to this cause and to her local community and with the active MS volunteers in the community, they plan to grow their presence at events and activities. 

Thank you for this opportunity and we look forward to Brenda Kron being a big part of this nomination and exciting opportunity!  

Award of Excellence – Large Business  

Award of Excellence – Large Business. This award is given to a business with more than 25 employees that provides an outstanding product or service in Campbell County.  

Basin Electric Power Cooperative – Investor-Owned and Community-Minded 

Basin Electric Power Cooperative was formed in 1961 on the premise it would provide power for intermediate generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives. This power would be low-cost because of economies of scale. Basin Electric would be managed by a board of directors elected from the membership and run in a matter consistent with cooperative principles. 

Today, Basin Electric is a consumer-owned, regional G&T cooperative providing wholesale power to member rural electric systems in nine states. Basin Electric is owned by 131-member cooperative systems across nine states serving 2.9 million consumers.  They have employed 1,800 employees during the past 5 years. 

Basin Electric pursues a smart and affordable energy strategy and takes advantage of the benefits of renewables while maintaining baseload that ensures the reliability its members expect. The cooperative is committed to an all-of-the-above energy solution. A balanced generation portfolio mix provides reliable, affordable energy for members at the end of the line. That diverse resource portfolio includes coal, gas, wind, hydro, nuclear, and solar. 

Basin Electric is a not-for-profit cooperative that was homegrown in the Midwest. The cooperative is owned by member-owners, not outside investors like some competitors. Basin Electric owns power generation – generators, substations, high voltage power transmission – and has a network of skilled professionals to troubleshoot issues that arise in its communities. 

Charitable giving is also a core value of Basin Electric’s. The cooperative gives $1.8 million annually for donations and sponsorships. 

Basin Electric has partnered with Powder River Energy Corporation for several years as a Presidents Circle member of the Chamber. Being a Presidents Circle Member, we support the monthly luncheon series by attending and participating. 

For many years, we’ve teamed up with the Chamber to provide tours of the plant for Gillette Area Leadership Institute (GALI) along with other tours. This last year, we had an employee participate in GALI of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce. 

 Black Hills Energy – Engaged in the Community 

 Black Hills Corporation, began in 1883, purchased the Wyodak Mine in 1954 and SourceGas in 2016, becoming the gas utility for Campbell County. 

Black Hills Energy is a publicly traded utility and is the natural gas utility provider in Campbell County.  Black Hills Energy also operates the Wyodak Coal Mine and the Neil Simpson Complex just outside of Gillette. 

During the peak of COVID, Black Hills Energy recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic created a number of new challenges for their customers.  BHE pivoted with how they supported the community by donating more to energy assistance programs like Energy Share of Wyoming, food banks, and by supporting virtual events.  Black Hills Energy continues to keep safety front of mind with efforts to inform contractors and the public of the importance of “call before you dig” and other measures. 

Additionally, during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, when much of the country experienced a deep freeze and a struggle to remain warm, Black Hills Energy was successful in providing sufficient gas supply to local customers and keeping the lights on from the mine and power plant operations. 

Black Hills Energy remains engaged in the local communities it serves through sponsorships, donations, and most importantly employee volunteerism. 

Black Hills Energy is an engaged member of the Chamber and attends all luncheons, sponsors many events, serves on committees, and participates in Gillette Area Leadership. 

 Knecht Home Center of Gillette – Employee-Owned Company Built on Integrity 

Mead Lumber has been assisting professional contractors, builders & remodelers with their building and project requirements, as well as helping homeowners with their home improvement needs, since 1910. As a 100% employee-owned company, we are proud to offer products and services from the foundation to the peak of the roof, and every area in between, for both residential and commercial applications.  

They have always been committed to providing outstanding customer service. In fact, making sure they are able to meet the needs of their customers is our number one focus. The customers’ success equals our success. Employee ownership is another core value, and they are committed to providing their employees a great culture and work environment. Integrity is paramount in everything they do, and theywill never waiver in doing what’s best for their customers, community, and staff. The company was built on the strength and integrity of the founders, and they will always carry on that tradition. Providing their community with high-quality products, sustainable building materials and great customer service is what their company does and will continue to do for generations to come. 

Community involvement is extremely important to Knecht, and they continually strive to do all they can to build up those they call friends and neighbors. They are an active member with the Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Wyoming Contractor’s Association (NEWCA). Through NEWCA, they participate in high school career days, promoting trade education as a worthwhile and fulfilling career path for local youth. They also donate materials regularly to local nonprofits, fundraising projects and children’s programs. 

 Northland Industrial Specialties – Locally-Owned with Humble Beginnings 

Northland Industrial Specialties started in a garage like many other successful companies (such as Cadillac and Harley Davidson). 26 years later they are still here. Their history spans many services that contribute to their knowledge and capabilities including roustabout/ pipelining services, automation/electrical, skidded equipment manufacturing, and industrial controls fabrication. They pride themselves on “Quality and Innovation” and build that into all services and products. 

They have a reputation built on quality service and products that standout above the rest. Because of this, they have excelled with their customer base that wants reliable and reputable products. 

A member since 2001, they have utilized the Chamber to spotlight some of their products and find value in the additional services offered to support local businesses and economy with state and local economic policies and rulings. 

 SYFR Health Information Management – Improving the Economics of the Healthcare Industry 

SYFR Health Information Management started in 2015.  In 2017, they employed 9 individuals, and are forecasting to employ over 40 employees by the end of 2021. 

SYFR was born from two separate premises.  The first was the frustration with the current available billing services and outcomes that as a healthcare business owner, left a void of great experience.  The second was that Sarah Reynolds, who was the office manager at their clinic, had the experience, knowledge, and motivation to build a company that would offer medical coding services.  These two premises built the vision and mission of SYFR.  SYFR has three service lines that it currently offers – medical billing, medical coding, and consulting.  Their clients range from single physician practices to multi-million-dollar enterprises.  Their clients are in all time zones, and they even have a client internationally.  There are very few parts of the economics of healthcare that SYFR isn’t involved in at some level.  Their mission is to improve the sustainability of their clients by improving the economics of the healthcare industry.  Essentially, they want to make sure that the client’s vision and mission are sustainable by making sure there is capital to support it. 

They service their clients by providing an exceptional experience to the provider and the patient.  Healthcare is frustrating no matter what seat you are sitting at.  Their goal is to make it the best experience it can possibly be.  Medical billing, coding, and consulting is what they do, but it is not who they are.  They are a company based on relationships and communication.  They are a success partner with their clients to take the stress of the revenue cycle away. 

Dustin Martinson was a recent board member for the Chamber of Commerce.  The growth of SYFR prompted him to step down from the board.  Strategy and board operations is his passion, and he will return to the opportunity in the future. 

Small Business Award  

The Chamber’s Award of Excellence is given to one large & one small business that provides an outstanding product or service in Campbell County. 

 307 Mysteries – Escape the Ordinary! 

In January 2018, 307 Mysteries opened for business and has employed one to two individuals for the past few years.   

 Lezlie started with escape rooms in an old camper and trailer, and now has a building with five different escape rooms, a party room, and a large trailer to do escape rooms on location at a business or residence.  She also designs and sells backpack escapes which are an escape room in a backpack that people can use at home.  She has also started designing mystery dinner theater events.   

 To survive 2020, Lezlie designed the backpack escapes and sold them to people all over the country.  Since she designs all her escape rooms, it allows her to make unique escape rooms or events for individuals or businesses.   

 307 Mysteries participates in the Chamber’s Mega Mixer.  She also participated in the Shop Down to Christmas promotion and one of her customers was a lucky winner during one of the weeks’ drawings. 

 Axe House – Entertainment for All 

 On February 14, 2020, the Axe House opened its doors; for the year and half it has employed seven employees.  The Axe House is owned and managed by Faith and her husband, David Harvey, along with the other four owners, Toni and Rusty Bell, and Toni and Bubba Hladky. 

 The Axe House is great for ages 12-100, the owners love that it gives the community another entertainment option; Axe throwing is the exciting and exhilarating anomaly sweeping the nation. It is an upgrade from the classic game of darts and more adrenaline-rushing than some other sports.   Under the controlled environment and alongside our trained employees, we provide a safe and fun environment to experience this newfound recreational activity.  This activity is also great for team building, parties, date night and so many more.  It also has a mobile unit.   

 Faith Harvey, Toni Bell, and Toni Hladky are all Energizers, ambassadors of the Chamber.  The Axe House owners do their best to attend as many events promoted by the Chamber of Commerce.  They also make donations and give of their time to the community. 

 EK Jewelers – Jewelry and More! 

 In April 2018, Erica Kissack, owner of EK Jewelers started her business from out of her home, then known as Elegant Kreations; later in 2019, changed the name to EK Jewelers after moving into their current location, at 217 S. Gillette Ave.  For the last 5 years they have employed 10 awesome individuals providing great customer service.   

 Services provided include repairs, custom design, appraisals, and finished jewelry…making the jewelry dream come true.   Other items you can find in her store are custom knives, hides, gun cases, watches and so much more.   

 EK Jewelers is a very active part of the community, they take part in downtown events being held and donate both product and time to other events held in our community.  Erica would love to hold a Chamber Mixer at her location someday – jewelry, wine, and a good time! 

 Main Bagel LLC, The – Great Food, Great Atmosphere 

Current owners, Lynn and Chris Jackson acquired the business in April 2018, they operate with an average of 15 employees. The business originated in 1997, opened by a woman who operated a similar shop in Sheridan and was interested in opening one here in Gillette, she later sold it to Ric and Carolyn Schuyler. It was in 2007 when the McStay’s acquired ownership. 

 The wide variety of Bagels are baked fresh daily, traditional New York Style – first boiled and then baked to perfection in the oven. The Spreads are just as numerous as the selection of Bagels; Plain, Frosting, Bacon-Scallion, and Chive are just a few. Plus, they serve hot and fresh breakfast daily until 1:00 p.m., as well as lunch sandwiches and wraps, along with soups and salads and let’s not forget the sweets they offer, cookies, cakes, and sweet breads.  They also have coffee, chai, espresso, teas, and Big Train Rages!  They offer, dine-in or carry out and for your convenience you can call in your order as well. Plus, they enjoy accommodating large orders for your groups. 

 They are known for the freshly baked bagels and the variety provided.  But their success is only possible through the employees and the great attitude and a wonderful team environment they create. And, they never want to forget, YOU, their loyal and exceptional customers, you truly are their #1 priority.  Not only do they strive to prepare high quality food for every customer, but they also work towards providing a clean and welcoming experience for everyone.   

 They appreciate the work the Chamber provides to the community and participates when the opportunity allows. They believe helpful tools, one they have benefited from is the area map distributed to anyone in the community and those visiting Gillette, has brought foot traffic to their business.  

 Sole Mates – Quality Products and Excellent Customer Service 

In September 2019, current owners, Heather Herr and Andrea Hladky acquired the business.  They have seven wonderful employees.   

Sole Mates provides high quality products and pride themselves on excellent customer service. We build relationships with our customers and strive to make Sole Mates their favorite place to shop.  

Sole Mates has been a proud member of the Chamber since purchasing our store. We value our relationship with the Chamber and everything they do for us.  

Tracy Mathews

Tracy Mathews

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