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Western States Bank Executives to Speak at E2e Wyoming Meeting in Laramie

January 17, 2018
Gary Crum and Tom Michelena

Two high-ranking executives with Western States Bank will be the next e2e Wyoming speakers in Laramie Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Gary Crum, CEO of Western States Bank, and Tom Michelena, the company’s CFO and executive vice president, will present “Banking in the 21st Century” from 5:30-7 p.m. at the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, 222 S. 22nd St. The two will share their viewpoints on the regulations and economic challenges that banking in Wyoming faces, and the opportunities this presents for America’s technology businesses.

“Entrepreneurship is about problem-solving, and Gary’s going to tell the audience about the future of banking here in Wyoming,” says Jon Benson, CEO of UW’s Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC). “It might be that someone in the audience is going to pick up on some problems that the banking industry is experiencing, or is going to experience, and come up with a novel way to solve it. This is what e2e Wyoming is all about.”

From being a Wyoming startup in 2006 to 13 branches across three states today, Western States Bank’s growth is fueled by a local focus.

Crum began his banking career in 1986 with Key Bank of Wyoming. He founded Wyoming State Bank in his basement office in September 2006 and, one year later, he purchased Western Bank of Cheyenne. It would later become Western States Bank after a merger with Valley Bank and Trust in 2016. He successfully led the organization through a difficult banking period, beginning in 2008, and the merger.

“Gary Crum has been highly supportive of Wyoming startup companies. In many ways, Western States Bank is its own startup company,” Benson says.

Crum currently volunteers at both the national and local levels of the Boy Scouts of America, State of Wyoming Banking Board, as a director of the Wyoming Bankers Association and became president of the Wyoming Bankers Association in June 2016.

Michelena is a 2010 alumnus of UW’s College of Business where he received his MBA. He began his banking career in 2002 with First Interstate Bank in Billings, Mont., before joining Western States Bank in 2006. Michelena helped coordinate the 2016 merger with Wyoming State Bank and Valley Bank and Trust, totaling assets of $500 million. He participates in a wide variety of community service events for both personal and professional interest. 

E2e is an educational networking program with chapters in Laramie, Casper, Gillette and Sheridan. It is designed to improve the climate for the startup and growth of entrepreneurial companies. Each e2e chapter meets bimonthly for 45 minutes of networking, followed by a 45-minute program. The programs feature successful entrepreneurs telling their stories, panel discussion on relevant topics and advice from experts in specific businesses.

Administered by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development, the WTBC is a not-for-profit business incubator that provides entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for success.

To register for the e2e meeting, call Fred Schmechel at (307) 766-6395 or email him at fschmech@uwyo.edu.


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