Stephanie Salazar Joins the Upton Economic Development Board as Its Executive Director

Stephanie Salazar Joins the Upton Economic Development Board as Its Executive Director Main Photo

2 May 2019

Stephanie Salazar is the new executive director for the Upton Economic Development Board. With over 15 years in economic development, she brings extensive experience and a proven track record of success. She has previously worked on business attraction campaigns and has been heavily involved with industrial development, including a rail business park in Northern Colorado, plus commercial office and retail development in Colorado and California. Her redevelopment efforts in Denver helped contribute to revitalization of the Capitol Hill area of the city that was deteriorating due to a lack of investment.

Something that has remained consistent throughout her economic development career has been a focus on job creation through the strengthening of existing businesses, in addition to attracting new ones. She plans to use those experiences to guide economic development efforts in Upton while crafting a strategy that is unique to the area.

Salazar is excited about working in Upton because she and her husband fell in love with the Black Hills in 1994 and lived in the area for a while before having to relocate. They dreamed of coming back for the past 13 years and were thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. From an economic development perspective, she said, “The location of Upton is very exciting. It is in the center of everything, between Newcastle — the seat of Weston County — and Gillette, which features Gillette College and the University of Wyoming, strong and growing institutions of higher education. Upton is also accessible to highway 85 — the main trucking route from Canada to Mexico, while also near I-90 and Hwy 116. Upton is in a beautiful location surrounded by the Black Hills, near Inyan Kara Mountain, Keyhole State Park and Devils Tower with great fishing, hunting, skiing, cross country skiing, off and on-road biking, and lakes for swimming and boating. Upton is an outdoor lovers paradise. This is a great place to live and work!”

When accepting the position, she was blown away by the can-do attitude of Upton’s citizens and the passion everyone has for moving the community forward. In a town of 1,100 people, it is remarkable that everyone could come together to establish their own rail business park — something that is now one of the town’s greatest assets. The industrial park is already home to companies with a national and international presence and is served by BNSF double mainline rail. With available office and warehouse space, along with shovel ready sites, the industrial park is ready for growth. The Upton Logistics Center, owned by Tiger Transfer, is certified by BNSF as a Premier Transload Facility. BNSF is now in the process of designating the Center as a Premier Park, signifying it is development ready for new business, which will bring further exposure to the park and the community.

“The Upton Logistics Center is a great anchor for attracting new business and well-paying jobs to the town. Upton has a great opportunity to leverage this and other assets to grow at a healthy rate. We can lay the groundwork and infrastructure to position Upton to grow as a beautiful, thriving community,” said Stephanie.

With a lot of trucking coming through Upton, she also sees the opportunity to expand the economy by providing lodging, dining and trucking services, such as a truck wash. There are currently two manufacturing prospects that could further increase the number of trucks coming into Upton, creating additional opportunities for local entrepreneurs and investors. The Upton EDB owns 70-acres in town and is willing to work with interested parties to further develop it.

Upton is ideally suited for telecommuters, entrepreneurs and retirees. With growing access to high-speed broadband fiber, it is possible for people to move to Upton, work from home or attend school online, and immediately benefit from living in a community that is nestled in an outdoor paradise. With a new City Park and bandshell, the beautiful pine covered Park’s Hill for the Enduro motorbike races, and downhill sledding, as well as a 9-hole golf course, Upton provides plenty of opportunities for recreation year-round. Families are also enjoying the high quality of K-12 education available in Upton, along with a quieter and safer environment that is ideal for children.

To support this type of growth, Stephanie has her eyes set on the creation of more mixed housing development. There is a need for affordable single family homes, multi-family housing (apartments or townhomes), move-up homes, luxury housing, and senior housing for workers, young families, executives, retirees and millennials looking for a high quality of life. She has experience working with real estate developers and investors and will be exploring ways to bring this vision to life.

When asked about other Upton EDB goals, Stephanie said, “the board is focused on increasing broadband fiber to 100 percent coverage in Upton; workforce and career development with an emphasis on real-world training for diversified age groups, including veterans and others looking to make transitions; and creating opportunities for residents to get even more involved in community service and local government.”

Those wishing to work with the Upton EDB as a volunteer or board member should contact Stephanie, in addition to businesses and investors who are considering Upton as a potential business location. Feel free to email, or call Stephanie at 307-282-0652 for more information about the Upton Economic Development Board or to learn more about local opportunities.