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Wilson resident appointed to Wyoming Business Council Board

(Wilson, Wyo.) - The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors welcomed two new members and elected 2016-17 officers during Thursday’s quarterly meeting at the Lincoln Center in Torrington. Gov. Matt Mead appointed Greg Hill and Mike Easley to serve on the Business Council board. The two replace Pat Schmidt and Dick Bratton whose terms expired March 1. Board members serve three-year terms and can be reappointed for a second three-year term. Hill is president and chief operating officer of the Hess Corporation, which has invested $25 million in the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources since 2013. Hill has a home in Wilson and an office in Houston, Texas. He graduated high school in Casper and was named UW’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus. He was appointed by Gov. Mead to serve on UW’s Energy, Engineering and STEM Integration Task Force, which is charged with helping the university become a Tier 1 engineering program. “I am a Wyoming native that has a deep love for the state,” Hill said. “After living, working and doing business in over 50 countries around the world during my career, I can tell you there is no place like Wyoming. Therefore, I want to be involved in efforts to keep Wyoming prosperous while at the same time preserve its unique quality of life for its citizenry. “The Business Council is a great opportunity to do just that.” Wyoming’s low tax rates, low land costs, good transportation and transmission infrastructure, low electricity rates, skilled labor, work ethic, can-do spirit and excellent quality of life are assets in efforts to further diversify the economy, Hill added. “I think the opportunities are boundless and the only limit to the possibilities will be the state’s vision or imagination,” Hill said. “The Business Council can help set this bold vision and then be a key player in proactively attracting appropriate businesses to Wyoming.” Easley is chief executive officer of the Powder River Energy Corporation and resides in Sundance. He has been responsible for day-to-day operations of the electric cooperative since 2000 and has nearly 30 years of experience working for electric cooperatives. Easley also is a gubernatorial appointee to the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. He served as chairman from 2004-15. “Northeast Wyoming is sort of this mini economic model of the entire state because northeast Wyoming is so dependent on minerals,” Easley said. “So right now with the energy industry, the ability to be on a board with a bigger picture of economic development across the state will help me in my job and in the part of Wyoming that I’m involved in. But also there may be some insights I can bring to the Business Council that maybe the Business Council doesn’t have.” Easley believes the downturn in energy prices and production only enhances the importance of the Business Council and its board of directors. “When economic times get tough, it doesn’t really change our mission of what we’re all about,” he said. “Yes, the budget might be tight and there might not be as many resources to bear, but when that happens, good leaders do it without spinning their wheels. You harness the collective minds of all that talent and chart a path forward.” Also on Thursday, the board elected officers to serve March 2016 through February 2017. Jim Espy of Savery was selected co-chairman of the board. Espy, his wife Peggy and son Mike run a family ranching operation in the Little Snake River Valley in south-central Wyoming. He served as president of the Carbon County Stock Growers, chairman of the Carbon County School District 1 Board of Trustees and as a special assistant attorney general for the state of Wyoming. Espy replaces Lynne Michelena of Buffalo as co-chair. Michelena remains on the board. “I thank Lynne for her service to the Business Council staff, the board, Wyoming’s communities and the state of Wyoming as co-chairwoman this past year. And I look forward to her continued contribution to increasing Wyoming’s prosperity,” Business Council Chief Executive Officer Shawn Reese said. “I also look forward to working with Jim in the co-chairman role this coming year.” Gov. Mead is also co-chairman of the Business Council board. The board elected Cactus Covello vice chairman. Covello is president of the Points West Community Bank in Torrington. He is a founding member, past president and current board member of the Goshen County Economic Development Corp. He also is a founding board member, past president and current board member of the Goshen County 2 Shot Goose Hunt. Covello served on the Wyoming Transportation Commission from 2007 to 2013, holding the chairman position from 2011-12. He has been a member of the Torrington Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, including a stint as chief. He worked at Covello Motor Company from 1977-2009, as a third-generation car dealer. Pete Illoway of Cheyenne was chosen secretary treasurer. He served 14 years in the Wyoming House of Representatives, completing his final term in December 2012. Illoway is a consultant in government and public affairs. He was employed by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cheyenne LEADS and retired from Coastal Chem, Inc., a nitrogen fertilizer manufacturer. Illoway serves on a number of boards and committees including the Cheyenne Regional Airport and Wyoming Taxpayers Association boards of directors. Illoway was also elected chair of the Personnel, Budget and Audit Committee. Laramie attorney Megan Goetz will chair the Community Development Committee. Goetz began her tenure with Pence and MacMillan, LLC, as an associate attorney. She became a member/partner at the firm in 2007. Kelly Lockhart of Jackson was selected chair of the Contracts and Loans Committee. Lockhart is senior vice president of investments with Wells Fargo Advisors where he has served as a financial advisor and branch manager for nearly 35 years. Lockhart, his wife Liz and sons Cody and Chase operate Lockhart Cattle Company. *Feature Photo: Greg Hill. h/t Wyoming Business Council / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news