Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
This week, I had a chance to sit down with Chad Banks, Director of the Rock Springs Urban Renewal Agency. He’s been in his role at the Rock Springs URA for several years now and has made significant efforts in invigorating the downtown of Rock Springs.
Before assuming his role at the URA, he’s served two terms on the Rock Springs City Council and was a staple of the Sweetwater Events Complex for years as well.
Chad recently won the Wyoming Main Streets Innovation Award for the “Downtown Tree Program”.
Chad says he is passionate about our community and about downtown particularly, but about our community as a whole.
I love what I do. Being a part of helping our community is really important to me. I want to make sure as a community, we’re the best that we can be.
I think often, we don’t get the respect that we deserve in the state, and so I’m also passionate about making sure we raise our flag poles to the top and shout to everybody else across the state that hey, we’re every bit as good as you are, if not better.
~ Chad Banks
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Chad, how did you end up in Rock Springs?
I’m a lifelong Rock Springs resident. My family and I have been here for five generations. After college, I came back and went to Casper for seven years and came back to Rock Springs when my children were young because we wanted them to be here with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins.
So we made a conscious effort to move back to Rock Springs.
What is something unique about you?
I’m a master gardener, through the Master Gardener program. I’ve just always enjoyed it. When I was in Casper, I got enrolled in the Master Gardener program which is a series of classes and course work. You study, and then you go out and help people (with gardening). I haven’t kept up on it, I’m not certified any longer.
But I do love to garden. Just flowers. My favorite, just from when I was a kid, Bleeding Hearts because my grandmother always had those.
I always play with other things and see what grows and what doesn’t. Petunias are easy to grow. I love Hostas. Columbines are really easy as well. Russian Sage is really pretty and it attracts bees which I think is really cool. Those are some of my favorites.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
The people. I’m sure everybody says that and it’s so cliché. But truly, the people to me, and of course my family is here which is incredibly important to me, but the people here are really kind and generous.
I remember, my father passed away shortly after I moved here in 2001, and I remember all the flowers we’d gotten for him. People you never would’ve thought would’ve sent flowers, or just really peripheral.
I remember when we came home, somebody had put cookies in our mailbox, ya know, just acquaintances that you really didn’t know, but would do nice things.
That was really endearing to me. It meant a lot.
So I think the people are really the key to what we are as a community.
~ Chad Banks
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Personally, you don’t sweat the small stuff.
I spent a long time sweating the small stuff, but a lot of things are not life or death decisions, are not the end of the world.
That’s probably the biggest piece of advice from me, and it’s easy to say until something happens that makes you realize that it’s small potatoes.
Just trying to put things in perspective is important to me. Everything isn’t critical.
~ Chad Banks
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Honestly, my backyard. It’s like an oasis for me. I have beautiful flower beds and a nice patio and it’s just very tranquil for me, so that’s my favorite place to hang out really.
It’s taken about three years to create his backyard oasis.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse or drive a car (or your truck)?
Horse. I grew up showing horses, so I love to ride.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
First of all, I would not sing at karaoke night. But if I did, it would probably be something from the 80’s.
I’m a huge Cher or Tina Turner fan, so I’d probably do one of their songs.
How would your friends describe you?
I think kind and caring, funny and easy going.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My children. They are great young ladies.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
George Costanza (Jason Alexander) in Seinfeld.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
Because I love Wyoming.
I have really deep roots here and I just really care deeply about Wyoming and this is where my children are.
If you’d like us to interview yourself or someone you know for #WHYoming, please send us suggestions to Lillian@sweetwaternow.com