The state’s Business Ready Communities program, with $33.4 million worth of appropriations, is designed to help fund incoming businesses wanting to develop vital infrastructures in locations they choose to establish facilities.
"This program’s concept is ‘build it and they will come.’ We have many communities that don’t have a business park or the infrastructure, so we offer these grants twice a year to do all of that," Fagan says. "If we have a company committed to building in the state, we want to be able to move fast to accommodate them."
As for workforce investment opportunities, the state operates the Department of Workforce Services, offering incentives so companies can develop a qualified and trained workforce through advanced training programs. "We rely on businesses to tell us their needs and we pay them to have their employees trained," Fagan says, adding the incentive could be up to $2,000 per employee, based on the amount of the employee’s salary.
The state recently hired New Jersey--based Wadley Donovan––a recognized site selection consulting firm--to conduct the state’s second targeted industry study.
Says Fagan: "We are looking to them for guidance in understanding which section of our state would best serve which types of companies. This is the basis for our game plan."
High Plains Freezer Services
The One And Only
Logistically speaking, most people would not consider Wyoming an ideal location in which to operate their business. But High Plains Freezer Services Inc.––the only freezer and cold storage facility in Wyoming––offers some strategic advantages.
The USDA--and FDA--approved freezer warehouse offers 4 million cubic feet (200,000 square feet) of capacity on 11 acres––with an additional 35 acres across the street ready for development.
Among other products, the facility stores peppers for Nestle which it uses in its Stouffer’s products.
"During certain times of the year Nestle might store up to 5,000 pallets of finished product in our facility," says Brian Fox, vice president and general manager.
The facility can hold up to 15,000 pallets, which equates to about 680 truckloads of product. "At peak season, we are in the neighborhood of 1,000 or 1,200 full truckloads on the inbound and outbound," he adds.
The warehouse was established in Laramie back in the late 1960s because of its strategic location relative to rail service, with the main line of the Union Pacific coming right through Laramie.
"The railroads back then had a storage--in--transit program, so a big retailer or wholesaler could buy a railcar load of product off the West Coast and store it in Laramie," says Fox. The facility has 14 rail doors so 14 rail cars can be loaded or unloaded at a time and there is capacity to put at least 40--45 rail cars on the facility’s sidings.
As the logistics industry evolved, most of the retailers and wholesalers did away with rail in the early 1980s and the rail sidings into the facility were removed.
But times have changed. "We are in the process of finalizing some deals with food processors who will be putting facilities on our property here," says Fox.
"There’s lots of room for other food companies here. Food companies can get a very low price on property and they don’t have to build a freezer or an engine room because we already have that entire infrastructure built here. All they have to do is build their processing or manufacturing facility."