Board Member Spotlight - Brandon Marshall, Services Division Director, Wyoming Business Council
Tuesday, February 08, 2022
For this month’s board member spotlight newsletter, we are traveling to the great State of Wyoming to meet Brandon Marshall with the Wyoming Business Council. Enjoy!
Q1. Tell us about yourself! How long have you been on the Mid-America EDC board?
I've been working in Economic Development, for the Wyoming Business Council since 2003. I graduated from the University of Wyoming and took a job at a mortgage company in Scottsbluff, NE, and was immediately awful at it. One of my best friends from high school and college happened to be interning at the WBC at the time, and let me know about the "perfect" job for me, doing business recruitment for Wyoming. It was truly perfect and I loved it right away, and still kinda do (much to the chagrin of fellow Wyoming board member Wendy Lopez, who has to deal with all my fantastic ideas for a job that's not mine anymore.) I was lucky enough to join the Mid-America EDC board in (I think) 2016, as one of the two original members from Wyoming, when we joined the region as the "Panhandle of MAEDC."
Q2. Tell us about your organization, the Wyoming Business Council, and your role.
The Wyoming Business Council might be called the Department of Commerce in another state, or something more descriptive like the Governor's Office of Economic Development. We were started in 1998 to be a different type of ED organization, serving the State of Wyoming with a private board of directors, and a focus on serving business needs as peers. We've never stopped changing and adapting to the needs of Wyoming's economy, through booms in energy (our largest and by far most prominent industry) that drove gigantic budget surpluses, to insane times that forced us into survival mode along with the rest of the country during COVID.
I Direct a Division at the WBC called Services. We provide service to the various customers of the WBC, whether they're businesses or communities. Business Recruitment, Business Retention & Expansion, Entrepreneurship, Agribusiness Development, Community Development, Main Street, and Broadband Development are all encompassed in my team. One of the most exciting things we're working on right now is refining our service delivery model to be more focused on "capacity building" with communities. For example, we're shifting focus from statewide recruitment and prospect development, to assisting communities with their recruiting efforts. (Probably an oversimplification, but a decent representation of what we're trying to do.) We're just now starting a pilot project to refine this model, then will roll it out to the rest of the state.
Q3. Wyoming is known for cowboys, beautiful national parks and a favorable tax climate; what else would you like our members to know about your home state?
Well, since it's still football season, all of Wyoming does want our friends in KC to know that we're kinda mad at them for the way they beat our boy, UW Alum Josh Allen. Nonetheless, there's always next year, and we're all suddenly cheering on the Bengals, and their Wyoming connection, Casper's own Logan Wilson. Outside of football, there's a ton of exciting things going on in Wyoming lately. For one, TerraPower, owned by Bill Gates, is planning to build a new generation of nuclear power plant in Wyoming; Microsoft is expanding their 2nd and 3rd data center campuses in Cheyenne. There's exciting work going on in Carbon Capture and Utilization in the north east corner of the state, including X Prize competitions in the Wyoming Integrated Testing Center. I suppose the think I'd like our members to know about Wyoming, is that there's a gigantic, and surprising amount of innovation going on in the Cowboy State these days. Things are looking pretty darn good, actually.
Q4. What do you enjoy most about working in economic development?
I like knowing that the work we do is improving communities, and helping businesses prosper, which helps people have better lives. It's a real point of pride for me, and I think everyone else in the Wyoming Business Council, when we can drive by a project we've helped with. It's amazing to work in a field that has such real visible impact.
Q5. What are some of your (you personally and/or your organization’s) top priorities for 2022?
One thing that's a gigantic priority for us, as the State's ED organization, is reforming our goals in relation to LEDO's. We're going to shift our focus to local capacity building through various initiatives, and in simple ways like how we deploy our programming out into the state. We want to elevate the profession in Wyoming, and provide tools for success to LEDO's.
Feel free to reach out to Brandon at Brandon.email@example.com