Charting a Course for Johnson County, WY

Project Description

Leaders of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and JOCO First are considering how to best serve the needs of the business community in the most cost-effective way. This is a common challenge as chambers across the country are searching for how membership organizations can remain relevant and financially viable.  As we work through this project it is critical to have a combination of public, private and nonprofit collaboration. Efforts between several partners strengthen the creative power of the community, businesses and individuals which will greatly assist in tailoring solutions to meet local needs.

BCC and JOCO have hired Orbis Advantage, Inc. for a project to assess the chamber and economic development organizations in Buffalo, Wyoming, as well as recommend strategies for realizing efficiencies to achieve a greater impact to support businesses and community organizations. Orbis is a business and public affairs consulting firm located in LaGrange, Wyoming, with extensive experience in economic development, chamber, and nonprofit work. 

Project Steering Committee

JENNIFER BURDEN – Buffalo Chamber

SCOTT MADSEN – City of Buffalo

JENNIFER MCCORMICK – Johnson County Tourism



WENDY SMITH – Sheridan College



The consultants met with both boards, toured the communities of Buffalo and Kaycee, interviewed stakeholders, and reviewed documents and other materials provided by the organizations (bylaws, strategic plan, financials, annual reports, marketing plans, newsletters, policies, job descriptions, etc.). The report focuses primarily on the Buffalo community; however, a separate communication will be sent to the town and chamber of commerce in Kaycee with our observations.

Our initial visit was to try to understand the vision and perspectives of the community. We completed an objective assessment of the capacity and resources, based on national standards for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. The final step in this phase is to use economic data, best practices from our own experience, and benchmarking similar communities to write a community analysis report and offer scenarios for operating models to implement community and economic development strategies and programs. The report includes a references page and appendix with our research.


Community Strengths

  • Supportive Community
  • Loyalty to for local business
  • Access to mountains & outdoor amenities
  • Access to major highways


Entrepreneur Needs

  • Start-up capital
  • Networks for growth assistance
  • Communication/coordination between businesses & organizations
  • Convention/conference space
  • Broadband internet connectivity
  • Support services (promotion of local businesses)
  • Workshops, Trainings, Mentoring
  • Business training, financial training, marketing assistance
  • Incubator opportunities

Barriers to Growth

  • Disjointed community organizations
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Unproductive at organizational levels
  • Lack of progress
  • Opposition to change
  • Lack of housing & water

Experienced leadership is the Orbis advantage