Written by on February 20, 2018

Press Release – Each year, the Gillette College Foundation recognizes individuals and businesses that have been integral to furthering the mission of Gillette College. The Foundation is pleased to announce Pinnacle Bank as the 2018 Corporate Builder of the Year; James R. Daly as the 2018 Individual Builder of the Year; and Dr. Mark Englert as the recipient of the 2018 Spirit of Gillette College Award.

The Corporate Builder of the Year Award recognizes the business that made the most generous gift to Gillette College during the last fiscal year and is strictly based on dollar amounts. Pinnacle Bank’s Wyoming roots go back to the early twentieth century when they started opening banks in agricultural communities. In 1972, Pinnacle Bank became a part of a larger family of local banks started by the Dinsdale family. Pinnacle Bank opened a loan processing office in Gillette in 2007, became a full service bank in 2009 and opened the doors to a new, state-of-the-art building in 2015. Pinnacle Bank believes their growth and success are due to its amazing staff and supportive community, which is why they continuously reinvest back into Gillette.

“We were honored to receive this award,” said Dan Johnson, Pinnacle Bank Market President. “Our support for Gillette College, and all local schools, is a testament to our ongoing dedication to our community.  We believe that education is the foundation for a successful community.”

The Individual Builder of the Year Award recognizes the individual who made the most generous gift to the Gillette College Foundation during the last fiscal year and is strictly based on dollar amounts. James R. Daly passed away Jan. 11, 2017 and graciously left Gillette College Foundation an estate gift. Raised in Campbell County, he graduated from Campbell County High School in 1941. Daly attended the University of Wyoming for two years but did not complete his degree because of an agriculture deferment to return to his home ranch to raise cattle during World War I.

“His deferment during the war and his inability to complete his degree helped spur his strong belief in education. He believed that community colleges were invaluable for people to continue their education, and he strongly believed in giving back,” said his daughter, Peg Smith, who accepted the award along with her husband Larry on behalf of her late father.

Daly served on the Campbell County Higher Education Board, which is now the Gillette College Foundation, and was a driving force in the construction of the main Gillette College campus building in 2003. He was also a founding member of the Wyoming National Bank and, with his partners John and Bob Ostlund and Don Gulley, built the Sands Motel and Restaurant and The Thunder Basin Inn. The Gillette College Library is named in honor of his wife, Harriet Elizabeth Kerns.

The Spirit of Gillette College Award recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of the college, supports the college monetarily, and advances the mission of the college. Dr. Mark Englert, Vice President/CEO of Gillette College, began his career with the Northern Wyoming Community College District in 1985 and became the CEO in 2010. Since his tenure, Dr. Englert has been integral in the concept, design, and construction of the Rodeo/Ag Complex, Pronghorn Center, Inspiration Hall, and Area 59.

“He is inclusive, brings people together, and demonstrates strong leadership skills. He has strengthened our relationship with our partners and continues to provide strong, positive leadership for Gillette College and our community,” said Heidi Gross, Executive Director of the Gillette College Foundation.

Dr. Englert serves as a faculty member in the UW Higher Education Administration Graduate Program. He is also currently serving as a national board member for the American Technical Education Association. In the past, he has served on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Communications and Marketing and currently represents NWCCD on the Complete College Wyoming Task Force.

The Gillette College Foundation’s mission is to enhance the offerings and operations of the Gillette Campus. The Foundation provides funding for specific projects that support the Gillette Campus including student aid, equipment, and facilities.

For more information about the Gillette College Foundation, visit To learn more about Gillette College, go to


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