ROCK SPRINGS – It’s often said that without volunteers not much would get accomplished. Volunteerism is also a great way of showing pride. Despite the white falling last Thursday and forcing the rescheduling of the event, the second Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce BBQ went off without a hitch.
The chamber has been promoting Rock Springs since 1936. Not only does the chamber work to spotlight different businesses and the city itself, it also works to set up different events. Often these events use hundreds of volunteers and probably would not be successful without them, which brings us to Thursday.
Standing over a grill filled with hot dogs and hamburgers, the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Dave Hanks explained that honoring the volunteers that keep Rock Springs moving forward is the reason behind the BBQ.
“We really want to thank all the volunteers,” Hanks said. “The city wide clean up has a thousand volunteers alone, the National High School Finals Rodeo and the fair each add another 250.”
Not only is the barbecue a thank you to the thousands of volunteers, it is also for the partnerships with local business. Hanks said one focus the chamber has is on local businesses.
“We all want a strong local economy,” Hanks explained. “From the mom and pop stores all the way to the big business like FMC and the Power Plant. We work everything from the single entrepreneur to the multinational corporation like Solvay.”
Hanks explained that we are lucky to enjoy a multitude of resources in Sweetwater County. He said many cities in Wyoming only have one major resource to build their economy around. In Sweetwater County there is coal, trona, natural gas, a fertilizer plant, power plant and a regional medical center now that the Huntsman is partnering with Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.
With a transient population it has been a challenge for the chamber to get younger workers involved. The average family age in Rock Springs is 31.5 years of age. The youth population is again seeing some growth when you look at the school district numbers. Rock Springs High School had 268 graduates while the incoming kindergarten class numbered 514.
Hanks said it is important to our local economy to get these young families to stay. He said the chamber is showing the younger families what Rock Springs has to offer.
Rock Springs Mayor Carl Demshar also spoke to SweetwaterNOW about the importance of the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce. He said the chamber fills a big role because it is the focal point for Rock Springs businesses. Demshar said the chamber really knows how to spotlight local business as well as recruit new businesses to the area.
The mayor gave an example of the partnership between the city and the chamber. Demshar explained the city cannot afford a full time economic development person so they have partnered with the chamber to provide this important work.
“They really have their finger on the community and know the community much better,” Demshar said. “I get to hit on the high points while the chamber provides all the small details for our community.”