The Economy in Sweetwater County is Growing and Energized

Find a future in industries focused on life’s essentials, from power to fertilizer to soda ash.

By
Bill Lewis
On Monday, May 4, 2020 - 16:41
wy

With a powerful combination of good jobs, an unparalleled quality of life that combines an outdoor lifestyle with career opportunities, a workforce with job-ready skills, a pro-business regulatory environment and abundant natural resources, Sweetwater County is a magnet for growing businesses and the talented employees they need to succeed.

Sweetwater County and the surrounding region have a rich history in the energy and fertilizer industries, thanks to resources such as wind and solar energy as well as Wyoming’s vast reserves of coal and natural gas. The Green River area in Sweetwater County is called the  “trona capital of the world.” That naturally occurring mineral is used in glass, paper and a variety of other products.

The county is also a leader in the production of products that are essential for the U.S. economy, including paint, baking soda and paper products.

Companies with a major economic commitment to the region include Jonah Energy, one of the largest privately held producers of natural gas in the United States; Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp, a major producer of energy from coal and renewable resources; and J.R. Simplot, whose plant in Rock Springs makes phosphate fertilizer.

wy
Michael D. Tedesco

Rocky Mountain Power

“Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, combines the best of all industries to deliver power to our 1.9 million customers in six states. While people are familiar with linemen and see them out working every day, they are just one of the many valuable roles within our organization that contribute to keeping the lights on,” says spokesman David Eskelsen.

The company creates a wide range of jobs and economic opportunities for employees in the communities where it does business.

The company has a longstanding commitment to Wyoming, Eskelsen says.

“Wyoming has always been a dynamic place to work. It has always been a source of energy for our customers for many years as the location of several of our coal-fueled power plants and for the past decade as the location for some of our most efficient wind-power projects,” he says. “Rocky Mountain Power’s commitment to Wyoming is strong, and the company works to help our communities grow and thrive through continuing investments in transmission and generation facilities in the state.”

Jonah Energy

The company competes for top talent by offering performance-based pay, retirement and savings plans with company match, paid time off and affordable health benefits for employees and their families, all in a working environment that offers diverse and challenging projects.

Through the company’s community investment program, employees volunteer time, sponsor local charitable organizations and participate in community events. The company supports those efforts through a matching program.

J.R. Simplot

The Simplot Rock Springs fertilizer plant began production in 1986 and has been a major employer in Sweetwater County for more than 30 years. With expansions in 1996, 1999, 2012 and 2017, Simplot has a significant impact on the local economy and currently employs 284 local residents and contracts with an additional 200.

“Unlike the boom-and-bust cycle of the oil and gas industry, the manufacturing industry is a steady, long-term industry that has never been forced to lay off throughout its history in Sweetwater County,” says Senior H.R. Administrator Lauren Schoenfeld.

Wyoming’s quality of life is a major attraction when Simplot is recruiting job candidates from other areas.

“When recruiting from out of the area, we provide the applicant with packets provided by our chamber of commerce. We provide a tour of our community and highlight our quality of life, including access to Flaming Gorge, the Red Desert and the wide open spaces,” Schoenfeld says. “We also show our great parks, recreation areas, community events and downtown areas.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Lewis is an award-winning business journalist whose work has appeared in publications across the United States.