First Class Chosen for Wyoming Business Hall of Fame
Four historic Wyoming business icons and a groundbreaking businesswoman comprise the inaugural class of the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame.
James Cash Penney, W. Edwards Deming, H.A. “Dave” True, Homer Scott Sr. and Clarene Law will be recognized at a gala Hall of Fame dinner Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne.
“I am thrilled that the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame will have its kickoff event at this year’s business forum,” Gov. Matt Mead says. “It is important to recognize individuals whose lifelong achievements in business stand out, and this Hall of Fame provides such recognition.”
The Wyoming Business Hall of Fame is a cooperative project of the University of Wyoming’s College of Business, the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation, and the Wyoming Business Council.
“The inaugural Wyoming Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders who have demonstrated remarkable insights, risk taking, and management principles,” says Bill Schilling, president of the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation. “The honorees represent finance and banking, energy development, tourism, retail and business consulting.”
Penney and Deming will be inducted posthumously as “Pioneer Award” honorees, a category recognizing Wyoming’s earliest contributors to business excellence in the years before 1945. Penney’s well-chronicled rise from retail store clerk to establishing the nationwide JC Penney chain had its roots with his opening of a “Golden Rule Store” in Kemmerer in 1902. Deming, meanwhile, grew up in Powell and graduated from UW in 1921 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering before going on to become an eminent scholar, teacher and industrial expert. He was a consultant to influential business leaders, powerful corporations and governments around the world. He is credited with inspiring and guiding the spectacular rise of Japanese industry after World War II, and the resurgence of the American automobile industry in the late 1980s.
True and Scott will be inducted posthumously as “Historic Award” honorees, a category recognizing the contributions of the generation that, between 1945 and 1985, established the economic base on which the state, country and world continues to grow and prosper.
True, who moved from Cody to Casper in 1948 as manager and part owner of a small oil and gas drilling company, went from a one-rig operation to establishing more than 10 companies operating across the country and overseas, and earning a name for himself in energy, agriculture and banking. True Companies, now a third-generation operation based in Casper, employs about 875 people in nine states.
Scott, who was raised in poverty in Nebraska, began working for Peter Kiewit and Sons Construction Co. in 1931 and moved to Sheridan in 1937. There, he expanded the construction business across the region and the country while branching into ranching and banking. He bought the Padlock Ranch near Dayton in 1943 and built it into a major cow-calf operation, and he established First Interstate Bank in 1968.
Law, who owns hotels comprising more than 400 rooms in Jackson, will be inducted as a “Contemporary Award” honoree. That category recognizes post-1986 contributions of business excellence in Wyoming and beyond. Law came to Jackson in 1958 and worked as a bookkeeper at the Wort Hotel. She bought the then-12-unit Antler Inn in 1959 and has been a fixture of Jackson’s hospitality industry ever since, employing dozens of locals and foreign workers. Law also served her community and state as a member of the local school board, as a member of the Wyoming Legislature for 14 years, and as a member of the Wyoming Business Council.
The Nov. 19, Wyoming Business Hall of Fame ceremonies will include a 5:45 p.m. reception, dinner at 6:30 p.m., and a program at 7:30 p.m. The master of ceremonies is Mick McMurry. For more information or to register to attend, go to www.wyomingbusinessalliance.com.
“The first-ever Wyoming Business Hall of Fame is a UW College of Business-inspired recognition, led by former Dean Brent Hathaway,” says McMurry, of Nerd Gas Co. and the McMurry Foundation. “The College of Business continues to foster excellence and relationship building across our great state with groups like the Wyoming Business Alliance and Wyoming Business Council.”
The inaugural Wyoming Business Hall of Fame class was selected from among 16 nominees gathered from the Wyoming Business Council’s seven regions. The statewide selection committee included Hathaway, Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen, Dennis Carruth of the College of Business Advisory Board, UW history professor Phil Roberts, and Schilling of the Wyoming Business Alliance.
Plans call for a new Hall of Fame class to be selected every other year for the first decade, with each class including no more than five honorees, and at least one winner coming from each of the seven regions.
The gala Hall of Fame dinner is a key feature of Governor Matthew H. Mead’s Business Forum, which begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, and ends at noon Wednesday, Nov. 20. The 31st annual forum of the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation features presentations by the governor and five national leaders, 23 Wyoming “success stories,” and a program on civility in business, government and society.
“The Wyoming Business Alliance is proud to be hosting the Hall of Fame event,” says Dave Bell, chairman of BW Insurance and chairman of the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation. “It is the right fit to have this at the Governor’s Business Forum, which teams our efforts with the governor’s conscientious staff.”