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Medallion Service Award Winner: Jim D. Neiman

October 5, 2022
head photo of a man
Jim D. Neiman (Photo Courtesy of Jim Neiman)

By Micaela Myers 

Just after Jim Neiman graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1974 with his degree in range management, the market for his family’s forest product business tanked.

“My dad would say it’s a chicken or feathers business. It’s up and down,” says Neiman, who represents the third generation in the business, which is headquartered in Hulett, Wyo. “We had to work hard to grow our business. It was a matter of survival for quite a while. If you go through that situation, it really builds character and gives you a different outlook on life. It made us learn to do things on our own and learn how to survive.”

Not only did Neiman Enterprises Inc. survive; it thrived under Neiman’s vision as president and CEO. An active member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the business now includes facilities in Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado and Oregon that produce products including wood, shavings and pellets. The family also owns Neiman 77 Ranches and affiliated businesses, such as The Golf Club at Devils Tower. Over the years, Neiman Enterprises earned a number of prestigious awards, such as the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Business Ethics and the U.S. Forest Service Stewardship Award. Furthermore, the company’s Montrose facility won the 2015 EDIE Company of the Year award from the Economic Development Council of Colorado.

“It’s an honest industry that’s hard-working,” Neiman says. “There are a lot of good people in our industry focused on how we create healthy forests and how we supply wood to the housing market.”

Neiman enjoys giving back to his country and alma mater. At UW, he served two terms on the Board of Trustees including two years as president, as well as serving on the boards of the Ruckelshaus Institute and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. Currently, he serves on the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources Board, Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Board and Campus Advisory Board. Professionally, he served with the Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Commission, the Wyoming Economic Development and Stabilization Board, Business Advisory Board for the Kansas City Federal Reserve and the Enhanced Oil Recovery Commission. Currently, Neiman serves with the Hulett Airport Advisory Board, the Black Hills Forest Resource Association, Intermountain Forest Association and the Federal Forest Resource Coalition.

His wife Christy and their two children are also UW graduates. Son Marcus Neiman works with the family companies and is a member of the Wyoming Army National Guard, and daughter Sonja Merryman also works for the family companies in community relations and marketing.

As a student at UW, Neiman fondly remembers the concerts and football games as well as learning to buckle down and study hard.

“I had to make a promise to myself that I wouldn’t have any alcohol Sunday through Thursday,” he says. “That was important to me and a lesson in how to get there.”

In addition to this lesson, his advice to current students is to find businesses they really enjoy and can put their passion into. Helping the next generation find this success is one of the reasons he continues to stay involved with UW.

“My focus is on the students,” he says, adding that it’s important to be a role model. “My spiritual foundation is really the most important thing that leads and guides my decisions.”

Neiman is honored to join the impressive list of UW Medallion Service Award winners. “It’s very humbling,” he says. “You want to pinch yourself and see if it’s real.”

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