Mid-America EDC Board Member Spotlight: Wendy Lopez
Friday, January 27, 2023
Meet Wendy Lopez, Business Recruitment Manager, Wyoming Business Council
Wendy has been on the MAEDC Board since January 2022.
Q1. Tell us about yourself! How long have you been on the Mid-America EDC board?
After 22 years in the newspaper industry, doing marketing and advertising, I decided to make the jump to economic development and joined the Wyoming Business Council in 2018 as the Business Recruitment Manager. I attended my first Mid-America EDC Competitive Conference in Chicago two weeks later. It was an eye-opening experience and gave me valuable foundational knowledge to jump-start my new career. In January 2022 I joined the MAEDC board of directors.
Q2. Tell us about your organization, the Wyoming Business Council, and your role.
As the state economic development agency, the Wyoming Business Council leads economic growth in order to build resilient communities and create opportunities for people to thrive. Wyoming’s heritage is steeped in traditional core industries such as energy production, tourism, and agriculture. With the downturn in the past few years in coal and oil and gas, it is even more critical that Wyoming diversify its economy into other industries such as manufacturing, rec tech, data centers, and advanced energy projects.
My role as the Business Recruitment Manager gives me the opportunity to dive deeper into these industries, working with businesses looking at Wyoming, attending shows and conferences to promote the advantages of being in Wyoming, and helping local communities in their recruiting efforts.
Q3. What do you enjoy most about working in economic development?
Some people thrive working in a predictable environment where they know what they will do every day. That’s not me! I love meeting new people, seeing new places, and constantly learning new things. Working in economic development in Wyoming means that on any given day, I could have a conversation with a firearms manufacturer, a blockchain company, a direct air capture technology start-up, or someone from a Fortune 500 company. I’ve collected safety glasses from manufacturing facility tours all over and learned you always keep a pair of closed-toe, no-heel shoes with you even during the hottest months – because you never know when the opportunity will arise to see something really cool.
Q5. Wyoming is known for cowboys, beautiful national parks, and a favorable tax climate; what else would you like our members to know about your home state?
Big, wonderful, Wyoming, with its wide-open spaces, has many advantages for those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. From hunting and fishing to camping and biking, horseback riding and skiing, to everything in between, we’ve got it! And since I grew up on a small ranch in northern Wyoming with Yellowstone Park in my backyard practically, I can tell you it’s nothing like what may be portrayed in a certain uber-popular TV show. For those unsure, the fictitious Yellowstone Ranch is in Montana. As for Yellowstone National Park itself, THAT’S in Wyoming – at least the majority of it anyway.
Wyoming is also made up of a hardy workforce, many of which have spent time in coal mines or oil fields here. Wyoming is the largest coal producer in the US at about 40% of the total production. That makes for a skilled workforce that can translate to machining and things like that as we work to diversify our economy. Pair that with the most business-friendly tax climate in the US, and we have a great value proposition for companies looking to relocate or expand.