Governor Matt Mead is assembling a group of industry leaders with strong ties to the University of Wyoming to help guide the state's efforts in building a tier one College of Engineering and Applied Science at UW.
Governor Mead has asked former Governor Dave Freudenthal to chair the Wyoming Governor's Tier One Engineering Initiative Task Force. Freudenthal who is senior counsel with the firm of Crowell and Moring and a distinguished visiting professor in the UW College of Law has agreed to take on the work.
Other members of the task force include: Chad Deaton, executive chairman of Baker-Hughes Inc. and a UW geology graduate; Dick Agee, founder and chairman of Wapiti Energy and a UW petroleum engineering graduate; Tom Botts, executive vice president, global manufacturing, Shell Downstream Inc., a UW civil engineering graduate; Greg Hill, executive vice president and president of exploration and production for Hess Corp., a UW mechanical engineering graduate; Eric Marsh, executive vice president and senior vice president for Encana Corp., a UW petroleum engineering graduate; and state Sen. Phil Nicholas, a Laramie attorney and UW College of Law graduate.
Other task force members may be added later.
"I am delighted that Governor Freudenthal, Senator Nicholas and leaders from industry have agreed to play a key role in our efforts to take our university's College of Engineering and Applied Science to the next level," Governor Mead says. "This is an extraordinary opportunity for the state, its citizens, its businesses, our economic development future, and our state's sole public university."
During its 2012 budget session, the Wyoming State Legislature appropriated $1.15 million to plan for the renovation and expansion of the College of Engineering and Applied Science facilities. Lawmakers also set aside $30 million in state funding, to be matched by $30 million in private donations, as the first step toward funding the project. Anticipating a total project cost of up to $100 million, legislators have directed a plan for College of Engineering facilities to support a "tier one academic and research institution in areas of excellence appropriate for Wyoming."
Governor Mead's appointment of the task force is intended to assist in that planning.
"I want the new College of Engineering and Applied Science to be more than a building. I want it to move the state forward," Governor Mead said. "This task force can help create a program to provide an opportunity for Wyoming students to do cutting-edge research and provide technological advancements that will benefit our state and our country."
In addition, UW will seek input from a variety of constituents -- including legislators, alumni, students, employers of UW graduates, industry partners, community colleges and various advisory boards -- in crafting plans for the new and improved facilities. The Legislature's Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee also will provide leadership.
The task force's duties will include helping define a vision for UW's engineering program in its academic offerings, technology and facilities.
UW President Tom Buchanan welcomed the Governor's appointment of the task force.
"The group's leadership in the planning process, as we partner with Governor Mead in defining a vision for the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science, will result in cutting-edge teaching, research and technology," Buchanan says.