Energy Capital Economic Development Works Economic Betterment

Written by on June 6, 2018

Press Release – The National Association of Counties (NACo) will present Strengthening Economies in Wyoming: A Forum for Coal-Reliant Communities in Gillette June 21 and 22 at Cam-Plex Energy Hall.
The free conference, open to the public, will bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors for an educational and interactive gathering to share best practices, lessons learned and new opportunities to support economic diversification. The conference will have information useful to county and other local officials, regional development organization staff, workforce development professionals, non-profit and philanthropic leaders, business owners, and representatives from K-12 and higher education institutions.
Presentations will include updates on economic diversification planning from Wyoming community leaders, as well as keynote addresses from national experts who are supporting job growth, equitable development and entrepreneurship across their home regions.
Registration is required, and more information is available on the registration page.
Economic Development Membership Drive Continues
Energy Capital Economic Development is seeking members to work with us as we continue our work to stimulate and facilitate a diverse economy through business retention, expansion and recruitment.
The last membership drive was five years ago, and financial commitments made during that drive expire at the end of June this year. Current members need to complete a new commitment form to continue membership, and we welcome new members.
If you’d like more information about the organization and what we have done over the  past few years, please call 686-2603 or e-mail to request an information packet or a visit from Membership Drive Coordinator Nick Kasperik.
If you are ready to join, please complete the Letter of Commitment and e-mail it to or mail it to P.O. Box 3948, Gillette, WY 82717.
Marketing is Topic for June Lunch & Learn
How important is your logo really?  Does your company need a website?  And, what new media strategies are actually worthwhile?
To get the answers to these and other marketing questions, come to the Energy Capital Enterprise Center Lunch & Learn June 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local entrepreneurs as well as those thinking about starting a small business are invited to attend the event at the Enterprise Center, 345 Sinclair St. in Gillette. Cost is $10, which includes a light lunch.
The speaker will be innovator Mark Christensen, who is passionate about helping people and organizations to seize their full potential.  He’s the founder and CEO of more than five local startups including the Gillette-based marketing firm Outliers Creative, LLC.
The creative mojo behind community-forward brands like 82717 Life Magazine, the County 17 Community News Stream and Sheridan Dally, Mark will talk about humility, building value, strategic brand positioning, and social media marketing for long-term success, plus the latest thinking on leading, creating, and succeeding in a hyper-connected world.
Lunch & Learns provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn from experts as well as to network with each other to share ideas, expertise, insights and partnerships. Those interested in attending should RSVP by June 8 to or by calling 686-2603.
Five XPrize teams arrived in Gillette in mid-May and were welcomed by the community. The Integrated Test Center, where the teams will test their products, was dedicated May 16, and following the dedication, Energy Capital Economic Development joined with the city and county to welcome the teams to Gillette with a reception at the Cam-Plex Plaza.
The following day, Phil Christopherson, Energy Capital Economic Development CEO, was one of the area leaders who helped orient the teams to Gillette. The orientation session was held at the Campbell County Library.
Carbon XPrize is a $20 million global competition to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels and other items that we use every day. The competition is down to 10 teams, five of which will continue their competition in Gillette at the ITC. The teams are from Canada, China, India, Los Angeles and Scotland.
Kassi Trujillo-Sullivan from Manufacturing Works and Brandi Harlow from the Wyoming Business Council visited with local entrepreneurs at the May Energy Capital Enterprise Center Lunch & Learn.
Brandi told participants that the Wyoming Business Council provides community and business assistance throughout Wyoming. Among the services are maintaining a database of available properties, loan programs, energy efficiency services, research and other help in accessing new markets, and business recruitment. She showed a video featuring ENDOW and explained that it is a 20-year plan that the Wyoming Business Council is charged with implementing.
Kassi said her agency provides technology-based services needed to thrive in today’s economy and create well-paying manufacturing jobs. Their target clients are small and medium size businesses. Because they have federal financial backing, they can provide services at reduced cost. She described Manufacturing Works as a “knowledge center” that connects businesses with government agencies, universities, consultants and others with expertise the businesses might need. Their network extends throughout the United States.
Lunch & Learns are held the second Tuesday of each month and are open to the community.
A family trip led to the name for the Energy Capital Enterprise Center’s newest tenant.
Owner and managing director Kellee Carroll said his brother-in-law made a travel guide for Kellee’s four kids for a family trip. He included information about pronghorn being more closely related to giraffes than to antelope, earning them the nickname “prairie giraffes.” Kellee’s kids-ages 7 to 14, started using the name whenever they saw pronghorns, prompting Kellee to choose that name for his marketing business.
Kellee sort of evolved into the marketing field. “I’d always been in technology-centric trades, so I was familiar with the concepts,” Kellee said. “It really started when I wanted to start a blog, then I made my own web site, then a business in town asked if I could make them a web site. I didn’t even know how much to charge, but I did it. And, then another company asked me to do a web site for them.”
But Kellee realized that having a web site didn’t solve all of these company’s marketing problems. They needed to get their names out there. Kellee knew that it would be difficult for business people to learn all the needed digital marketing skills while trying to run their businesses “so I started learning and getting certified, adding new skills as became necessary.”
Prairie Giraffe focuses on online marketing. Services include designing web sites, running Adwords campaigns (Google ads), managing social media such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and providing search engine optimization services.
“There are so many aspects of what businesses need to be doing so we step in and help them get going with those things and help them solve problems. Typically, the problem is that they need more customers,” Kellee said.
Kellee started helping business with digital marketing about five years ago as a freelancer and formalized it as a business named Prairie Giraffe in 2016. He started out working from his home but moved to the Enterprise Center in April.
“It was difficult to focus at home with the kids and things going on around me,” Kellee said. “The Enterprise Center gives me a place where I can focus and get things done. It’s also a place where I can meet clients in a professional setting.”
Like Kellee, the Enterprise Center is in the business of helping businesses solve problems. It provides a space and services for new business, like Prairie Giraffe, to get started and to thrive.

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