Diversifying Wyoming's Economy Through Aerospace

Two economic development groups announce a collaboration hoping to diversify Wyoming's economy through aerospace.

The president and CEO for the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance (CAEDA) tells us what that collaboration will involve.

"Our focus is on enabling our existing businesses to create primary jobs," said CAEDA CEO, Charles Walsh.

Through this new initiative CAEDA and Forward Sheridan executives hope to target the aerospace and department of defense markets.

"We're looking at ways that we can expand existing businesses, or recruit, or start or grow new companies."

They’re taking new approaches and techniques.

"If it requires us to do interregional collaborations like this one, we're gonna do it to showcase to a large industry that we have the capacity, we have the capabilities to actually perform to their specifications."

Walsh says there are a number of companies in Casper doing a lot of metal work, ideal to subcontract for larger aerospace companies, something some Sheridan businesses already do.

"Instead of us going to a large aerospace contractor or to the department of defense and say that we have one company here that may or may not be able to support you, we're able to show them breadth and depth."

The goal is to get new contracts into existing companies, hoping to incorporate a market with transferable skills.

"Instead of being dependent on one market or industry like the energy industry, with its ups and downs, we're trying to smooth that out by bringing another industry in that has similar requirements for similar skills of our workforce."

He says something like this would be low cost.

"The beauty of this is that we're not trying to recruit a company, we already have the companies here."

Walsh says Wyoming generates 30 million dollars worth of business for the aerospace industry.

"Just across the border is a huge market for us."

Colorado produces 18 billion so they don't have to go very far.

Walsh says he knows the aerospace market well and he is confident the initiative will work because of the quality of the Casper and Sheridan businesses in mind, along with the interest and commitment by the state economic development organization.