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Four state leaders honored at 2023 Governor’s Business Forum

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

During the annual awards banquet at the 2023 Governor’s Business Forum, held on Nov. 14 at the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie, four Wyoming leaders were honored. 

Former United Bancorporation of Wyoming Chief Executive Officer W. Richard Scarlett III and WyoTech President Jim Mathis were inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame, while Wyoming Senate President Ogden Driskill (R-HD01) and Wyoming State Rep. Barry Crago (R-HD40) received the Legislator of the Year awards.

Hall of Fame history

The Wyoming Business Hall of Fame was created in 2013 to recognize businesses and industry leaders who demonstrate substantial business merit to impact their community. 

The Business Hall of Fame Award is a cooperative project between the Daniels Fund, UW College of Business, the Wyoming Business Council (WBC), the Wyoming Business Alliance (WBA) and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. 

To be considered a Hall of Fame inductee, an individual’s business achievement should reflect the same distinctive qualities demonstrated by Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer who began his business career in Wyoming. 

The award may be given to anyone residing in Wyoming who has attended UW or has business interests within the state.

There are two categories of awards for consideration. 

The Contemporary Award is given to an up-and-coming business person or entrepreneur with a vision for Wyoming’s future, and the Legacy Award is given to someone who has made historic and significant long-term contributions to the business community.

The Legislator of the Year Award was created in 2022 and given to one member of the Wyoming Senate and one member of the Wyoming House of Representatives who are business champions.

Legacy and Contemporary Award inductees

Scarlett, an Army Veteran who graduated from UW, was honored with the Legacy Award and recognized for making historic and significant long-term contributions to the business community.

His determination earned him a reputation for integrity and community support, and he was recognized as one of UW’s Distinguished Alumni in 1993. 

As a former UW trustee, he served eight years on the Wyoming Financial Institutions Board and two years on the executive board of U.S. West Wyoming.

“I want to thank the Daniels Fund, the UW College of Business, the WBC and the WBA for this wonderful award, and I am truly honored to be recognized,” Scarlett said.  “The Scarlett family of Wyoming goes back five generations and our roots in Wyoming run deep, and honoring the family legacy has always been important to us.” 

The Contemporary Award went to Mathis, a Platte County rancher and WyoTech graduate. He has served many roles at WyoTech, including president from 1998 to 2000, before purchasing the institution in 2018. 

Mathis has created a legacy of hard work, and through his dedication and expertise, student enrollment has grown at WyoTech from 12 students in 2018 to more than 850 students.

He was appointed by Gov. Mark Gordon to the UW Board of Trustees earlier this year, and in 2021 he received the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance Business Person of the Year Award.

“I am truly honored to be considered for this distinction and I owe thanks to God,” Mathis said. “My gratitude also extends to those who understand and support WyoTech’s mission, vision and values, which provide the best training and experience for the students in and out of school and provide great outcomes for the employer who hires them.” 

“Through their service to higher education and their leadership in the business community, both Scarlett and Mathis have demonstrated their commitment to Wyoming and a dedication to improving the lives of others,” Gordon said.

Senate Legislator of the Year Award

Driskill has represented Senate District One since 2011 and has served on many committees. He has served as chairman of the Senate Corporations Committee; Senate Travel Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources; Select Natural Resource Funding Committee and the Blockchain Task Force, as well as a member of the Management Council since 2019.

He has demonstrated outstanding leadership as the Senate majority floor leader from 2021-22 and as the current president of the Senate. 

Driskill is a Wyoming native, sixth-generation rancher and small business owner who has worked on several legislative issues, including the advancement of career tech education, charter schools, forest management, endangered species and gaming legislation.

“I cannot think of a greater honor than to receive this award,” stated Driskill. “The WBA is the premier organization representing and advocating for all businesses in Wyoming, and I am very grateful to receive Legislator of the Year.”

Cindy DeLancey, president of WBA, stated, “Sen. Driskill has a wealth of knowledge, has worked on numerous issues during his legislative career and strives to find commonsense solutions.”  

House of Representatives Legislator of the Year Award

Crago has served in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2021, representing House District 40 and has served on numerous committees including the House Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee; House Judiciary Committee; House Rules and Procedure Committee and the Select Natural Resource Funding Committee. 

As deputy county attorney in Johnson County and a partner at Crago Law Offices, Crago still manages the Willow Creek Ranch outside of Kaycee. 

“It is an honor to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from WBA, and a big thank you goes out to my family,” said Crago. “I am proud of the work we are doing to ensure we have a business-friendly climate throughout the state and look forward to working with strong business advocates like WBA and its members.” 

“Rep. Crago is an incredible legislator, a talented lawyer and is focused on solving state issues. He has the ability to bring individuals together to exchange ideas,” DeLancey commented. 

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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