How can Wyoming diversify its economy? That’s the question we posed to attendees at our recent live event in Laramie. We gave our audience five minutes to write down their thoughts on what kind of businesses they would like to see (or see more of) in Wyoming.
Here’s a synopsis of what they had to say.
Tourism received 14 mentions in the 49 note cards turned in, making it a tie with tech for the most popular proposal. Wyoming already has a strong tourism industry, but many suggested there is an opportunity for growth.
One person suggested that the state pair tourism with related technology and manufacturing: “Tourism—camping equipment design and manufacture. Solar-powered equipment for RVs.”
Another person suggested Wyoming “become a ‘dark sky state,’ where every city or many cities offers tourists the opportunity to see the evening skies without light pollution.”
While some people just wrote “tech,” others had more specific ideas of what kind of technology they would like to see developed in Wyoming. Most of the specific suggestions revolved around energy technology—from advanced renewables and battery storage to carbon capture and nuclear technology. In a related vein, many people suggested expanding the state’s existing data center industry.
Many people suggested attempting to attract manufacturing to the state, although few offered any specifics about the type of manufacturing they would like to see. Among the manufacturing suggestions: wind turbines, guns and ammunition, natural gas turbines.
While Wyoming has a (perhaps undeserved) reputation for being a difficult place to grow food, many people suggested more local agriculture, particularly greenhouse growing operations. A number of others suggested expanding bison and sheep ranching in the state.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that we held the event in Laramie, a lot of people suggested expanding educational opportunities in the state. One person wrote, “Expand one of our community colleges to 4 years—another college town.” Others suggested putting more money into research and higher education, and outdoor education.
Out of the 49 cards, only two people mentioned pot as a potential industry for the state. Although our neighbor to the south has fully legalized weed, it remains a touchy subject in Wyoming.
Hey, why not?
If you want to check out all the ideas people had, we’ve put them into a Google doc here. What are your ideas? Share them in the comments section.