RS Chamber CEO Receives Wyoming Chamber Director of the Year Award

RS Chamber CEO Receives Wyoming Chamber Director of the Year Award

ROCK SPRINGS—Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce CEO Dave Hanks recently received an award for Wyoming Chamber Director of the Year, which is presented by the Wyoming State Chamber at their annual conference.

Hanks has been the Rock Springs Chamber CEO for 22 years, making him the longest running director in the state.

The Wyoming State Chamber consists of 30 chambers nationwide. They present several awards for various categories at the annual conference.

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This year, Hanks was nominated by his staff, and the state chamber voted for him to receive the honor. To be honored by his staff and his peers for the work he does and has been doing for over 20 years means a lot to him.

“That’s the biggest honor, that it was nominated by my staff and voted on by my peers,” he said.

Hanks Give Credit to Staff, Board, Community

However, Hanks does not take credit for this award, as he believes he would not accomplish anything without so many others.

“This (award) to me, basically, is the hard work of my staff, the hard work of the (chamber) board, and the hard work of the community,” Hanks said. “You never achieve an award by yourself. It’s based upon the efforts of a lot of people.”

Hanks said the board allows the Chamber the flexibility needed for them to do their jobs, and his staff is consistent in setting plans and accomplishing goals.

“I appreciate my board and my staff,” he said. “We’re at a unique point in time right now where we’ve got some synergy and talent. We can do a lot of things we couldn’t before.”

He explained that his staff has a lot of talent and skills that other staff’s in the past did not possess. His staff is young, which he says is exciting.

“There’s lots of energy,” Hanks said about his current staff.

He also said that the board provides all the resources for the chamber to attain their goals.

“What more could you ask for in a board?” he said.

Attitudinal Shift in Community

Hanks also credits the community of Sweetwater County for much of what he and the chamber have accomplished.

“We are at a point right now in the community where there has been a lot of development in the last 10 years,” Hanks said.

Hanks has observed that there are a lot of younger people who are coming into the community.

“There has been an attitudinal shift in the community,” Hanks said. “The community is more progressive in attitudes. It’s more demanding in quality of life.”

Also, in the last 10 to 15 years, Hanks has seen, “an elevation of leadership in our community. There are a lot of dedicated individuals heading organizations and businesses, and in government,” he said.

Hanks said that the leaders of the community are committed to Rock Springs and Sweetwater County, and are professionals at what they do. He said they share similar goals and visions for what they want for the community.

“There is a collaboration and cohesiveness,” Hanks said. “When I talk about community, I mean all of Sweetwater County, not just Rock Springs. Sweetwater County is all part of it. There are many different organizations in a unified effort, and we’re all moving in one direction. Twenty years ago, that wasn’t happening.”

Other Community Members Who Were Honored

Along with Hanks, three other people in the community won awards at the Wyoming State Chamber conference this year.

Chad Banks, Rock Springs Downtown URA Director, was awarded Wyoming Main Street’s Innovation Award for the “Downtown Tree Program.”

Devon Brubaker was awarded Airport Manager of the Year by the Wyoming Airport Operators Association.

Also, Pat Robbins was selected for the Linda Hewitt Scholarship for economic development.

“Four people in the county won this year. Four people in four different organizations, for doing their jobs. We obviously are doing something right,” Hanks said. “And we all work together, instead of fighting.”

Hanks: Strong Leader and Driving Force

Whereas Hanks gives credit for his award to his staff, board, and the community, Erin Keck, Administrative Assistant for the Rock Springs Chamber, credits Hanks leadership.

“Dave was saying that it takes a lot of different people to accomplish something, but you need to have a strong leader to be that driving force to move forward,” Keck said.

Keck wrote the nomination letter for Hank, in which she explained why his leadership qualified him for the award.

She was working in Laramie for 11 years before she came to Rock Springs, but she had her eye on working at the Rock Springs Chamber because of Hanks’ leadership. She could see he played a vital role in the community and the local economy.

“What stood out to me was Dave’s leadership in the community,” Keck said. “It’s easy to see he’s a driving force.”

Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition

One of the reasons Hanks was nominated was for his direction this year in creating the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition (SEDC), along with the Chamber’s Business Development Manager, Kayla McDonald.

“The SEDC was envisioned here at the Rock Springs Chamber, and its overall mission is to stimulate a diversified and strong economic climate in Sweetwater County,” Keck said.

The Coalition is in a partnership with the Rock Springs Chamber, The City of Rock Springs, City of Green River, and Sweetwater County,” Keck said.

“It is through the Coalition that this community is able to work together with a stronger, and truly unified effort to grow and support the economy here in Sweetwater County,” she said.

Keck says there is an ever-growing list of reasons why Hanks deserves this honor.

“Our community is especially fortunate to have such a strong advocate and visionary who is always striving to make Rock Springs and Sweetwater County a better place to live and work,” Keck said.