Gordon plans to tighten ENDOW focus
October 10, 2019
CASPER — At the start of the summer, Gov. Mark Gordon sat down with top officials within the Wyoming’s economic development think tank, Endow, with orders to pare down the group’s ambitious economic development agenda into something smaller and more incremental than the grand 20- year vision crafted under the administration of his predecessor, Matt Mead.
Several months later, that agenda appears to be taking shape.
This week, Gov. Mark Gordon hinted at some of the early specifics for his re-imagining Endow in an appearance at an aerospace and defense industry conference in Casper – an announcement followed up on in a press release later that afternoon.
“What you will find over the next couple of weeks is we’re reshaping Endow,” Gordon said Tuesday. “The council is going to kind of wind down a little bit and we’re going focus it on some very targeted areas.”
According to the release, Endow will be shifting its “high-level strategy” toward economic development onto tightly focused and targeted plans “addressing the barriers, enablers and economic engines specifically identified by Endow.”
Though specifics of those plans have not been crafted yet, Gordon hinted Tuesday that two possible sectors could include burgeoning areas like aerospace and defense as well as the state’s healthcare industry, which has experienced significant workforce shortages in recent years.
“Endow recognized healthcare as a foundational area that we need to improve on, so we’re going to build out on that by talking to people in that sector more specifically,” Michael Pearlman, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email.
Other areas the governor will focus on will include advanced manufacturing, agriculture, knowledge and creative, value-added natural resources and tourism/outdoor recreation.
While Endow’s Executive Council will no longer be meeting, Gordon’s office noted in his release that other initiatives like Endow’s Educational Attainment Council, the Rural Council, ENGAGE, and other groups like the Broadband Advisory Council,Wyoming Works and the Commercial Air Service Improvement Council will continue.
Gordon’s announcement comes several months after the rollout of a refreshed economic development strategy by the Wyoming Business Council, which has faced increasing scrutiny from the Wyoming Legislature over the past several years.
The organization’s CEO, Shawn Reese, announced his resignation from the Council late last month.