Economic Development Assets and Opportunities : Campbell County, Wyoming

Part
01
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Part
01

Campbell County Wyoming - Economic Development Assets

Campbell County in Wyoming has several economic development assets. Among these assets are its abundant coal, gas, oil, and uranium reserves, its interstate highways and rail system, its Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC), its Integrated Testing Center (ITC), its emerging wind electric power generation industry, the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, and the CAM-PLEX event facility. Even though the coal-rich county saw widespread layoffs and shutdowns because of the shift to clean energy, it has these assets to facilitate economic diversification, development, and recovery.

Natural Resources and Infrastructure

  • Gillette, a city and the county seat of Campbell County that is situated in the coal-rich Powder River Basin, is not only rich in coal deposits but is rich in gas, oil, and uranium reserves as well.
  • Though the shift to clean energy has prompted numerous businesses in the area to lay off people and even shut down operations, Gillette and the rest of the county still have their natural resources, which, according to researchers, can be utilized in inventive and cleaner ways.
  • Dana Miller-Eiland, president of Capital Economic Development, a public-private organization tasked to diversify the economy in the region, says the area could be developed and promoted as the Carbon Valley. According to Miller-Eiland, Gillette can easily attract manufacturers because of its interstate highways, rail system, ample space, and low cost of living.
  • The North Antelope Rochelle Mine and the Eagle Butte Mine, which are both located in Gillette, are two of the largest remaining coal mines in the United States.

Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC)

  • On August 26, 2019, the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) received a grant of $1.46 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the United States Department of Commerce. The purpose of the grant, which local and state funds will match with an equivalent amount, is to help the CCEDC build the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC).
  • Though the ACPIC is expected to create only 40 jobs, it is expected to generate private investments totaling $15 million. According to Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, the center "will provide a place for entrepreneurs to research new coal products, develop new industries, and create jobs for the people of Wyoming."
  • Senator Mike Enzi is hopeful that the ACPIC will help create a more sustainable and brighter future for workers and coal in Gillette, Campbell County's county seat, and nearby areas.
  • The ACPIC will work on coal-related technologies that the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming finds most promising, and will help bring technologies faster to market. Two buildings will be built at Campbell County's Fort Union Industrial Park. The ACPIC will essentially provide a venue where researchers and companies can test pre-commercial plants for new coal product development.

Integrated Test Center (ITC)

  • The Integrated Test Center (ITC), a 206,000-square-foot wide research facility in Gillette, partly hosts the COSIA NRG Carbon XPrize, a $20-million research competition where participating teams develop technologies to capture and transform waste carbon dioxide from power plants into useful products.
  • The ITC has already received $15 million and $6 million in funds from the state and private energy organizations, respectively.
  • According to Richard Horner, special projects and emerging technology director at the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources, says carbon, which is the building block of coal, natural gas, and oil, is a natural resource that exists in large amounts in Wyoming. The priority is to find other uses of carbon that does not involve burning it.

Campbell County Economic Development Corporation

  • The Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, otherwise known as Energy Capital Economic Development, is an organization whose mission is to "stimulate and facilitate a diverse economy through business retention, expansion and recruitment."
  • Governed by 13 business executives, county representatives, and city representatives, the Campbell Economic Development Corporation receives funds primarily from local industries, local businesses, and the governments of the City of Gillette and Campbell County.
  • The organization has over nine current projects and activities, which include Vision 2040, the Energy Capital Enterprise Center, the ACPIC, the New Growth Alliance, the Higher Education Task Force, Clean Coal Technologies, Fort Union Industrial Park Development and Expansion, Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW), and the ITC.
  • Phil Christopherson, the chief executive officer of the organization, believes the only way forward for the county is to support existing businesses and find new uses and markets for coal. He believes both the ACPIC and the ITC are instrumental in achieving these things.

Campbell County Chamber of Commerce

  • The Campbell County Chamber of Commerce is another organization composed of local businessmen. The chamber's mission includes the advancement of the growth of commerce, business advocacy, and leadership development.
  • The chamber hosts over 80 programs and events each year to help members connect with potential customers and key business leaders.

CAM-PLEX

  • The CAM-PLEX, a seven-building facility with 1,100 acres of space, hosts local, state, regional, and national events that improve the economy of and quality of life in Campbell County.
  • It hosts different types of events such as trade shows, art exhibits/shows, rodeos, Broadway shows, seminars, conferences, sporting events, concerts, fairs, horse racing events, and banquets.
  • It was able to generate revenues of $5,666,445 in fiscal year 2017-2018.

Wind Electric Power Generation Industry

  • The wind electric power generation industry in the state of Wyoming has often been cited as an emerging industry that can help diversify the economy and the type of energy consumed by residents.
  • An increase of 100 jobs in the wind electric power generation industry is expected to generate an economic impact of $131,438,381 on the state, impacting of course Campbell County. Compared to coal mining, wind generation is expected to have a bigger indirect impact on the state's economy.
  • Wind energy in the state is on track to double in capacity. The National Renewable Energy Lab reports that the state has "some of the highest concentrations of high-class wind energy."
  • According to Phil Christopherson, head of the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, even though wind farm developers have not touched base with him yet, one wind tower component manufacturer has expressed interest in opening a location in Campbell County.
Part
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Part
02

Campbell County Wyoming - Economic Development Opportunities

Campbell County offers competitive tax rates, unique loan programs, and business-specific grant programs, among other incentives, to boost economic opportunities for businesses. Additional insights and information are below.

Low Taxes

  • Perhaps the most universally-applicable economic development opportunity in Campbell County is the area's competitive tax rates, which make it more profitable for business operations generally, as well as more affordable for the employees of those businesses.
  • Notably, given the fact that the state of Wyoming generates significant income from its mineral royalty’s tax, it is able to significantly curtail other forms of taxation.
  • For example, the only other taxes in the state are a low 4% sales tax and a low property tax.
  • Additionally, the region neither has a state corporate nor a personal income tax.
  • Moreover, manufacturers in Campbell County are exempt from sales tax for equipment and energy usage.

Loan Programs

  • Additionally, Campbell County has established unique lending facilities to encourage new economic development, which provide the financial means for new businesses to relocate and establish operations in the area.
  • For example, the Community Development Block Grant program offers a loan convertible to grant for up to $150,000 for qualifying businesses.
  • Particularly for businesses that will create new jobs and are open to hiring low-to-moderate income persons, loan facilities such as these offer a significant economic advantage.

Business-Specific Grant Programs

  • Similarly, Campbell County also offers special access for developers and new businesses to grant programs, which were created with the specific purpose of assisting businesses in establishing new operations in the region.
  • For example, Campbell County can apply for grants of up to $3.0 million dollars per grant from the state to support construction, infrastructure, and buildings.
  • Specifically, these grants enable Campbell County to offer an exclusive development opportunity for businesses that are willing to relocate to the area, in that this funding may be used to build or remodel related facilities.

Other Funding Programs

  • In parallel, Campbell County and the state of Wyoming offer many other more general funding programs aimed at enhancing the economic development opportunity of the area.
  • For example, businesses in the region have access to funding and reimbursement costs for employee training of up to $4,000 per qualified position, in cases where the role will continue for a minimum of ninety days beyond completion of training.
  • Additionally, Wyoming's State Treasurer may purchase industrial development bonds issued by Campbell County for the benefit of Wyoming businesses up to $300,000.
  • These and other funding sources may make it more affordable for a business to establish itself in the area, as well as reduce the financial risks of moving to Campbell County.

ENDOW BDIZs

  • In addition to these blanket programs, the county also provides economic development opportunities and political support through its ENDOW program.
  • Specifically, this community organization offers a variety of incentives and support for new businesses, particularly those which will help diversify the local economy.
  • For example, the ENDOW Executive Council is in the process of identifying and designating Business Development & Innovation Zones (BDIZs), where the state and local community will invest in attracting and helping to established new technology-focused businesses.
  • Although the potential impact of this program remain to be determined, given that such investments and related support are currently being rolled out, it has been announced that at least some of the zones will support industrial businesses as well as company's focused on the refinement and enhancement of raw materials.

Partnerships with Higher Education

  • As part of the area's multi-pronged effort to encourage economic development, Campbell County is also working with local schools to support the potential talent needs of new businesses.
  • In particular, the county has launched a Higher Education Task Force, whose responsibilities include working with employers to understand their need and current job postings in order to develop related education programs and provide a ready workforce.
  • As part of this effort, the task force is collaborating with the University of Wyoming and Gillette College on new programs and certifications as well as innovative delivery methods in education to support more diverse industries and business needs.

Support Networks

  • Lastly, a significant insight related to economic development opportunities in Campbell County is the prevalence and variety of support networks which are available to assist new and existing businesses across specific industries and functions.
  • For example, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for Wyoming, also known as Manufacturing-Works (MW), provides access to expert engineering assistance for manufacturers in Campbell County.
  • Notably, the MW staff has expertise in areas ranging from product development and innovation engineering to Lean production methods.
Part
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Part
03

Campbell County Wyoming - Economic Development Authority and Projects

The Economic Development Authority for Campbell County Wyoming is called the Energy Capital Development Authority. They have lined up a couple of future projects to diversity the county's economy including the Integrated Test Center (ITC) and the Energy Capital Enterprise Center.

Campbell County Economic Development Authority

  • The economic development authority of Campbell County, Wyoming is known as Energy Capital Economic Development.
  • They are a 501(c)(6) organization and were established in 1985.
  • The organization is governed by representatives from the City of Gillette, the county, and thirteen business executives.
  • Energy Capital Economic Development was established with the aim of "stimulating and facilitating" a diverse economy in Campbell County, through recruitment, business retention, and expansion.

Future Projects

(1) Energy Capital Enterprise Center

  • This project was initiated by the organization in 2016.
  • The center will be a "business incubator" focused on assisting new businesses and businesses that are just starting in the county.
  • This project will impact the county by allowing them to nurture and provide support to new businesses, that will expand and diversify their local economy.
  • The center already boasts of occupancy from businesses in different sectors such as game development, oil field services, construction, and energy.

(2) New Growth Alliance

  • To diversify and develop its economy, the Energy Capital Economic Development has partnered with the "New Growth Alliance" to promote the benefits of conducting business in the region which includes safety, high-quality & skilled workforce, and a pro-business government.
  • This project will see the organization and its partners working to attract businesses in specific industries identified after careful assessment and planning. The target industries are technology, advanced manufacturing, lifestyle entrepreneurship, advanced conversion technologies, and logistics & distribution.
  • In line with this project, the organization has implemented a marketing plan for each of the industries and has identified 134 prospects interested in working within the region.
  • This project will result in "industry diversification" within the county and the entire Northwest Wyoming region and will boost the creation of new job opportunities for residents.

(3) Integrated Test Center (ITC)

  • This project is a "public-private partnership" aimed at housing researchers who will test Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies.
  • The ITC project will also serve as a home for teams with carbon management solutions who will be competing for cash prizes in millions of dollars.
  • Once completed, the center will be the second of its kind in the entire United States.
  • This project will lead to the development of coal products which will be used to power houses and jobs in the region. It will also place the county in the forefront for the development of CCUS technologies.
  • In the long run, the project will further expand the manufacturing sector of the county's economy and create more jobs.

Research Strategy

To fulfill this request, we commenced our research on the official website of Campbell County, Wyoming, to identify its economic development department. Once we were able to accomplish this, we browsed the website of the county's economic development organization to determine its future projects aimed at expanding its economy. We have provided all the relevant information in our write up above.



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