Ken Dugas Ends Term as Cheyenne LEADS Board Chairman
Ken Dugas, Partner with McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLP, will be ending his term as the Board Chairman for Cheyenne LEADS this coming Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Cheyenne LEADS (or LEADS) is a private, not-for-profit corporation and is funded by the Cheyenne business community with more than 300 corporate and individual dues-paying members and through contracts with the City of Cheyenne, Laramie County, and the Cheyenne-Laramie County Joint Powers Board. LEADS works with companies to encourage and facilitate relocation or expansion into Laramie County. "Our mission can be summarized in one word: JOBS!" shared Ken.
A summary of LEADS' success since its inception in 1986 includes more than 80 new companies recruited and 6,000 new jobs created. The annual payroll from these companies is $170 million, with a capital investment of over $1 billion.
The success of economic development in Cheyenne and Laramie County is a result of a successful business strategy and strong support from the City of Cheyenne, Laramie County, and the LEADS membership. Ken shared, "My service on the LEADS Board has been so rewarding, both personally and professionally. It is a wonderful feeling to know that our efforts directly impact the residents of our community. LEADS doesn't just talk jobs and economic opportunity. I am continuously amazed at the results this critical organization achieves."
Ken commented, "We are positioned to continue as a catalyst for future growth with the ability to impact projects that will create jobs and capital investment for Laramie County." LEADS is recognized as a premier economic development organization that brings progress and prosperity to the entire community of Laramie County. LEADS is the recipient of the 2015 "Top 5" Award of Excellence in the Warehouse/Distribution category by Expansion Solutions Magazine and was ranked among the top 18 Economic Development Corporations in the country by Global Trade Magazine.
Cheyenne Business Parkway
The 900-acre Cheyenne Business Parkway, which is owned by LEADS, currently has 300 acres available in parcels ranging from 4 acres to 60 acres. Sixteen companies, including Sierra Trading Post, Green House Data, Magpul, and Lowe's Distribution, account for over 2,400 jobs.
This past year, LEADS worked with Sierra Trading Post and Magpul to collaborate on continued expansion of both operations. Magpul's employment has grown to 270 and Sierra Trading Post is nearly doubling the size of its warehouse and distribution facility in Cheyenne. Brewista began operations in Cheyenne as the first step toward on-shoring its manufacturing capacity and they have also expanded the manufacturing capacity locally with the addition of an injection molding firm.
Currently, the LEADS "ReVision" project is underway for the Cheyenne Business Parkway with new signage and other improvements. There is a wetland space that will remain open and be preserved to enhance wildlife habitat, water quality, and overall aesthetics. A trail system in this Parkway has been designed and construction will get underway this year to provide paths for those working in the park as well as the community at large.
North Range Business Park
The second business park owned by LEADS, North Range Business Park, totals 740 acres with a total of 220 acres of land available in 10 parcels from 8 acres to 45 acres. The Park houses Wal-Mart's state-of-the-art food distribution facility and the National Center for Atmospheric Research's (NCAR) super-computing center. The continued expansion of Microsoft is progressing at a frenetic pace, far exceeding the initial expectation. LEADS is please to continue to work with Microsoft personnel and fully expect the Microsoft facility to double in size in the next few years.
LEADS has also supported the Wyoming Malting project that is underway in Pine Bluffs and construction will begin in the coming months. They hope to have Wyoming Malting operational, producing malt for the craft beer and distilling industries.
As Ken ends his term as Board Chairman, we want to thank him for his service to the community through LEADS and congratulate the new Board Chair, David Johnson, with CenturyLink. We also want to recognize a retired Partner of McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLP, Mike McGee, who was the first LEADS Board Chairman 30 years ago. Mike played a key role in laying the foundation for Cheyenne LEADS and stated, "I don't do it for the accolades. I really do believe that you need to pay back to the community where you make your living." Our Firm's long-time involvement with Cheyenne LEADS indicates the value we place on this organization.