Congratulations to Phil Christopherson, CEO of Energy Capital Economic Development, for winning the Linda Hewitt award this morning.
The Linda Hewitt award is presented by WEDA, Wyoming Economic Development Association, to a person or organization with an outstanding economic development track record.
Phil is a Wyoming native who has worked tirelessly to build and diversify the state’s economy. He graduated UW in 1985 with a BS degree in Computer Engineering. He has continually added to his education, earning several certifications and a MBA.
After graduation college, Phil and his family moved to Seattle, Washington, where Phil worked as a design engineer and Project Manager for The Boeing Company. He also helped organize a committee to incorporate his local area into a city (City of Covington) and after a successful incorporation effort, was elected to the first City Council.
In 1999, Phil and his family moved back to Wyoming. He started and ran a small computer business then took a job with Manufacturing-Works as the field engineer for Fremont and Teton Counties. In June of 2004, Phil and Manufacturing-Works contract with IDEA, Inc to fill the position of Executive Director for IDEA Inc. Phil’s first project was a Business Ready Community Grant (BRC) to build a manufacturing facility for the Brunton Company. This project kept Brunton in Riverton. His next project was a BRC grant to build a rail car repair facility in Shoshoni. The project was a success and began a new industry in Fremont count. Other projects included renovating a vacant building to house a local Riverton business and a BRC grant to fund a childcare center.
Phil accepted the CEO position with Energy Capital Economic Development in 2014, bringing him and his family to Gillette. He brought new focus and revitalized economic development efforts in Campbell County. Phil’s first project was to assist the City of Gillette with a BRC grant to provide infrastructure to the Southern Industrial Park. This five-million-dollar project provided much needed water, power and sewer infrastructure to support local manufacturing businesses. Phil’s second project was to purchase an underutilized building and convert it into a business incubator for Gillette. The FUEL Business Incubator began operations in September of 2018 and is providing assistance to a number of new businesses. Phil is very involved with NEW Growth Alliance and helped bring this regional economic development effort into being. Phil’s current project is the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC). This project is focused on diversifying Gillette’s economy by developing new manufacturing businesses that will use coal as their primary raw material. This project will help ensure the survival of the coal industry while bringing new advanced manufacturing jobs to Wyoming.
Phil believes that working together as businesses, communities, and individuals we can strengthen and grow our existing businesses, recruit new primary type businesses and help new entrepreneurs with new and exciting opportunities. He is firm in his belief that we must all work together, support and help each other in order to have a great future.