IDEA Inc.

Economic Development for Riverton Wyoming

Serving Riverton and Fremont County since 1984

Mission Statement:

IDEA Inc. will be known for its expertise in retaining, growing, and attracting businesses to the Riverton metropolitan area, utilizing available resources, and creating economic diversity for the betterment of local existing businesses and the community

 

Board Members 

 

IDEA, Inc.

(Improve and Develop Economic Activity)

 

Its History and Current Structure

 

Based on a belief in the progressive attitude of the people in Riverton/Fremont County and due to the immediate and urgent need for economic development a few local businessmen joined together and formed IDEA Inc.  IDEA, Inc. was born and incorporated as a non-profit economic development 501(c)(4) corporation on August 5, 1985 with the mission of helping expand and grow local business.  Its current board of directors is composed of business and community leaders from Riverton.  These board members are not compensated for their time; they serve as volunteers and dedicate their time and efforts towards developing the community and economy of Fremont County.

 

IDEA Inc. has two sister organizations and several partners.  RECDA (Riverton Economic and Community Development Association) is an area wide economic development coordinating council where community members come to network, present ideas and to learn about the latest community and economic developments in the community. RECDA has over 70 members and meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month at the Sundowner restaurant.  The Riverton Depot Foundation, is an 501(c)(3) IRS qualified charitable foundation.  The Depot Foundation accepts charitable donations on behalf of donor-designated projects and assist with grants which require a 501(c)(3) beneficiary for funds.  The board for the Depot Foundation is composed of the same members as the board for IDEA Inc.  IDEA Inc partners in economic and community development include the City of Riverton, Fremont County, The Wyoming Business Council, Manufacturing-Works, The SBDC, The City of Shoshoni, and the Riverton Chamber of Commerce.     

 

Purpose

 

The purpose of IDEA Inc. is to promote, stimulate, and develop business and economic welfare in Fremont County.  The function of IDEA Inc. is to encourage and assist businesses through loans, investments and other vehicles.  The goals are as follow:

  • Attract new business and industry to Fremont County
  • Rehabilitate and assist existing business and industry,
  • Stimulate and assist in the expansion of business activity
  • Promote business development and improve the standard of living of the citizens of Fremont County
  • Assist Entrepreneurs is starting and running businesses
  • cooperate and act in conjunction with other organizations, public and private, in the promotion and advancement of industrial, commercial, agricultural and recreational developments in Fremont County and to
  • Provide or encourage financing for the promotion, development and conduct of business activity. 

 

Use of IDEA Inc. Funds

 

Funds received by IDEA Inc. will be used for the improvement and development of economic activity in Fremont County.  Some specific applications include:

 

  • Provide matching funds for economic development grants.  IDEA, Inc can leverage funds by partnering with other organizations such as the Yellowstone Development District, SBA, WBC, City of Riverton, Fremont County, local banks and private investors.
  • Assist individuals who have a plan for and economically feasible business but lack sufficient funds with which to start.
  • Provide assistance to those legitimately promoting the Riverton area to outside business interests that can help our local economy.
  • Assist other Fremont County groups engaged in promoting economic activity that will benefit our community.
  • Assist in efforts to keep established businesses in Fremont County and/or help existing businesses to grow and expand.
  • Provide staffing for an economic development office in Riverton for the Wind River Basin.

 

Requests for use of funds are considered based on merit, legitimacy, economic feasibility, and ability to provide additional employment opportunities for Fremont County.

 

IDEA Inc. is working to become a self supporting entity not directly dependent upon city, county or state budgets or grants for funding.  At present, IDEA Inc’s completed projects provide approximately $60,000 per year of operating capital.  IDEA Inc. has hired Manufacturing-Works to provide a economic development director for four days a week.  This person (Phil Christopherson) and the IDEA Inc. Board are presently the official Economic Development Entity serving the Riverton area.

 

With this manpower, IDEA Inc. secured several WBC BRC grants that total more than $10.5 million dollars.  With these grant funds IDEA Inc. has assisted several local businesses with their expansion and with their very existence.  The following paragraphs detail four of the projects that IDEA has led to develop the Economy in Fremont County

 

The Pertech Project

In October of 2003 the management at Axiom got a call from the corporate headquarters.  The managers were told that the Riverton facility would close on December 31, 2003.  The local management scrambled for money to finance an employee buyout.  Their first stop was IDEA Inc..  IDEA gave a $50,000 loan to Pertech which the Wyoming Business Council matched to provide $100,000 in seed capital for Pertech Resources.  On December 31, 2003 Axiohm in Riverton ceased to exist.  On Jan. 1, 2004 a new business rose from the ashes and Pertech Resources was born.  Since then Pertech has repaid both loans and is moving forward. This project saved over 70 Riverton jobs. Without IDEA and the WBC Pertech would have gone out of business and 80 manufacturing jobs would have been lost.

 

The Brunton Project

Brunton had outgrown their existing facility. They were looking for a larger building and they were being actively recruited by other communities around the nation.  IDEA wanted them to stay in Fremont County.  They employ over 80 Fremont County residents and have an international presence.  Using Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community Grant funds IDEA built a new international headquarters for them.  The building project was completed just in time because the very same month that they moved into their new building they were sold by their parent company, Silva Sweden, to Fiskars of Finland.  Fiskars also owns Gerber Knives and Tools.  It has been confirmed that if IDEA had not built the new building for Brunton, the new owners would have moved them to Portland Oregon to co-locate them with their other US operations.  The Brunton building project saved over 70 (now 90) Fremont County jobs and kept a non-minerals related business in Wyoming.  IDEA Inc. owns the building and has a long term lease with Brunton.  Brunton is in Riverton to stay for at least the next 45 years. 

 

The BTI Project

The BTI railcar repair facility in Shoshoni needed to expand in order to capture new business.  Starting in January 2005 IDEA Inc. worked with BTI to secure a 1.5 million BRC for construction of a new railcar repair building.  Utilizing a design/build team approach the building was completed in June of 2006.  This new building will allow year around work for cleaning / painting operations for railcar repair.  One of the unique aspects of this project is that a new course of study was developed at CWC to repair railcars.  This was the first and only course for railcar repair in the nation.  Land for the project was donated to IDEA Inc. by BTI.  Due to difficulties obtaining and retaining a qualified workforce BTI has temporarily closed their facility.  They are working to solve the workforce problems and anticipate reopening the facility in the near future.  IDEA owns the BTI facility and receives monthly lease payments for the use of the building.

 

The Smart Start Project

The Riverton work force alliance started meeting in 2003/2004 to determine workforce needs for community and surrounding area. Early on the lack of quality child care was seen as critical issue by all involved.  Two surveys / studies were completed which determined that there was an overwhelming need for quality child care in Riverton. A local business person stepped forward and said that if the capital could be found to build a facility, he would assume the risk of setting up and running the child care facility. IDEA Inc. successfully applied for Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community Grant funding for 1.5 million dollars.  In March of 2007 bids to build the project came in at 2.7 million dollars – way over the projected estimate and the local business owner backed out of the project.  IDEA asked several local business people to take over the project and a local child care services provider stepped up to take over the lead position.  The new lead business, Smart Start Academy, took over the lead position and working with IDEA  have redesigned the facility by reducing the size and changing location.  In June of 2008 construction started on the project.  The new building was completed in May of 2009 and an open house with the Governor and First Lady was held on May 29th.  The extended hours Child Care Center serves at any one time 100 children allowing their parents to find and hold good jobs in Riverton.   As in the other projects of this type IDEA Inc. will own the building and lease it to the Smart Start Child Care Center.

 

The Alco Building Project

The Alco building was constructed and occupied in 1983/84.  The Alco store was open until 1994 when it closed.  The building was owned by a family consortium living in New York and Florida.  With no local ownership the building was allowed to sit empty and unused for many years.  IDEA Inc. had several opportunities to place various businesses into the facility, but the family owning the building was not interested.  In August of 2008 it came to the attention of the IDEA board that the building might be available for sale for a reasonable price.  IDEA approached the owners and secured an agreement to purchase the building contingent upon IDEA Inc. successfully obtaining a Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community Grant. The grant would pay for the building and for restoration of the building.  In September of 2008 IDEA was approached by Rob Wright of Legacy Molding.  Legacy was losing the lease on their existing building and needed a place to relocate too.  A preliminary agreement was reached that would allow Legacy to lease a portion of the building if IDEA Inc. was able to obtain the building.  In February of 2009, after successfully obtaining the grant, IDEA purchased the building, entered into a lease arrangement with Legacy Molding and started restoration and modification of the building.  In May of 2009 the modifications were complete and Legacy moved into the building and started operations in June of 2009.  IDEA is currently seeking more qualified tenants to occupy the remainder of the facility.

 

 

IDEA Inc. is committed to the economic and community development of Riverton and Fremont County.  We have served for over 20 years and will continue to do so far into the future.

 

 

 

 

Alan Moore

President, IDEA Inc.