The Saratoga Sun -

Traveling to all towns in Carbon County

Familiar face from Carbon County and Valley returns home to helm CCEDC with focus on helping all municipalities

 

October 21, 2020

Mike Armstrong

Carbon County Economic Corporation Director Yvonne Johnson speaking at the Hanna Town Council on Tuesday.

Yvonne Johnson, the new director for the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC), was born in Carbon County and grew up in Rawlins. When she left Rawlins, she worked in Saratoga. She worked in hospitality for some years but the job many in the Valley may remember her for was as the Saratoga Museum director. Johnson left the museum to move to Florida, but got side tracked when she was asked to be a short term director for the Chamber of Commerce in Rawlins.

Johnson said when her contract was up seven years ago, she moved to Florida and worked for Universal Theme Park at their theme park. Her oldest son lives in Florida.

She found out about the CCEDC job over a year ago when Cindy Wallace the director of 10 years decided to take another job.

"Cindy got in touch with me when she decided to leave, but it wasn't the right timing," Johnson said. "Then, this last February, I got another contact about the job opening and I decided to go to Carbon County on March 16. But COVID hit and I couldn't get a flight until May."

She said Stacy Crimmins, who was working as temporary director for CCEDC, called her and said that Johnson needed to interview quickly. Johnson said the interview was done by Zoom and she felt it went well.

Johnson felt excitement about coming back to Carbon County and helping it in any way she could when found out she got the job.

Recently, the CCEDC's value to some municipalities has been questioned by the towns' councils. Johnson's predecessor was unknown entirely to some towns. More than one mayor, past and present, questioned why their town should give any funds to the CCEDC and have a representative.

Johnson knew that she had to gain the trust of Carbon County's 10 towns.

"The thing is, I knew what was in the past, but this is about going forward," Johnson said. "I have been very open and honest with my board and I have made it clear, going forward, regaining trust if it was lost, and reconnecting where it is needed is my priority."

To her, this means being out in the different towns and listening to each place's concerns and thoughts on economic growth for their municipality.

"My goal is to pass on my knowledge and information as I receive it, to help our communities in their growth and development," Johnson said. "I want to support them in what they are doing."

Johnson realizes the communities in Carbon County are diverse.

"I grew up in Carbon County and I had jobs that were affected by the boom-and-bust economy. I get it," Johnson said. "That is why I immediately started meeting with different town councils to get their input."

Her first town council she went to was in Baggs.

"I asked if I could help as I listened to them about projects for their town and out of this has come a workshop to be set up with the Wyoming Workforce," Johnson said.

In Sinclair, she is looking for ways to help with funding in the restoration of the Sinclair theater See "Classic Theatrics" on page 6 of the October 7, 2020 Saratoga Sun.

"I am not going to make promises I can't keep," Johnson said. "I am going to do my best and do my rounds and not focus on only one place, but I am going to focus on all the places. I am building my knowledge, not to learn about one industry, but to learn about everything. I want to know the needs in all the different towns."

The time of COVID is not easy for businesses, but she is determined to be a source of information to help.

"It is a challenge, but I am the type of person who takes on challenges," Johnson said. "But the communities and the CCEDC have a lot to look forward to. Each community I have been to has some major project moving forward, making things better."

Johnson is pleased that Crimmins has come on board to help with the CCEDC with the financial side.

"Stacy is going to take care of the books and the board is very supportive of this," Johnson said. "I am so happy about this."

Johnson is not done visiting all the towns, but she looks forward to when she does.

"I really look forward to working with all the municipalities," Johnson said. "Carbon County is a special place to me and it is my honor to help it and its towns in any way I can."

 

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