Safety & Workforce Summit 2021

Agents of Change

October 20, 2021


To help us kick off the Summit in that spirit, our keynote address will come from Dr. Michelle Rozen, a dynamic and forward-thinking psychologist who is the top-booked speaker on the subject of leading change. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to be inspired by Dr. Michelle to define for yourself what the “new normal” will look like.
Workforce: Cryptocurrency/Blockchain
Presenter: Prof. Steven Lupien
Wyoming is poised to be a hub for cryptocurrency due to groundbreaking legislation. How can industry and entrepreneurs in Wyoming take advantage of this trend.Workforce: The Secure Home Office
Presenter: Jenny McCalla
This session will provide practical suggestions for securing home work environments, as well as procedures to enhance cybersecurity in any environment.Safety: It Pays to be Safe: Success Stories from Around the State
Presenters: Nichole Brommer & Lauren White
Employers around Wyoming have used the DWS Safety Improvement Fund to both increase safety and reduce operating costs. Learn more about the Safety Improvement Fund and how it might benefit your business in this informative sessionSafety: Enhancing Safety & Workplace Culture Through Technology
Presenter: Laura Atchley
Technology and web-based programs are here to stay, which means we all need to adapt and utilize these time- and cost-saving applications. However, how do employers and leadership within a company implement these tools to enhance safety and workplace culture, and then require this workforce to utilize, embrace and navigate change seamlessly? This presentation’s goal is to provide clarity and information on the foundations of what makes a successful safety and workplace culture and how the technology that most people already have available can be fantastic tools to aid in collaboration, consistent communication, transparency and accountability.
11:00-11:30Sponsor Spotlight/Open House – Black Hills Energy
Presenter: Laurie Farkas
11:30-12:002021 Safety & Workforce Awards
12:30-1:00Sponsor Spotlight/Open House – Samson Energy
Presenter: Cherice Wheeler
Workforce: Net Zero and Energy’s Future
Presenter: Dr. Holly Krutka
The mission of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) is energy-driven economic development. SER carries out its mission through interdisciplinary research and academic programs that cover topics including carbon capture, use and storage; rare earth elements and critical minerals; hydrogen; novel approaches to oil and gas production; hydrogen; wind and solar. SER Executive Director, Dr. Holly Krutka, will discuss the range of energy technologies being developed at SER and how energy can continue to be the foundation of the state’s economy, even as the US and global energy mix changes.Workforce: The Vanishing Workforce
Presenter: David Robb
Talk to any business owner right now and you’re likely to hear the question: where did all the workers go? Join this discussion for a deep dive into the many factors that are causing the current talent crisis — and find out what we can do to find (and keep) the workforce we need.Safety: Making Sense of the COVID-19 Regulations
Presenter: Karen Godman
This session will provide an update of where Wyoming OSHA stands on COVID regulations and discuss time frames on when businesses would need to comply with regulations.Safety: How Risk Management Can Help Your Business
Presenter: Steve Jones
This session will provide a tutorial on Qualitative Analysis Assessment Methods for employers. Topics will include Risk Mapping, Risk Register, the Delphi Method, Critical Task Assessment and Root Cause Analysis.
2:00-2:30Sponsor Spotlight/Open House – Rocky Mountain Power
Presenter: Sharon Fain
Workforce: Small Business Survival Kit/ARPA Resources
Presenter: Renny MacKay
This will be a presentation on the Governor’s plan to determine what the state needs to do to survive, and what can be done to better drive to a future where all of Wyoming can thrive.Workforce: Combating Burnout in a Post-Pandemic World
Presenter: Dr. Matt Mishkind
This session will offer practical tips on how to navigate increased stressors in the workplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Safety: Set up a Healthy Home Office: Ergonomics 101
Presenter: Melissa Cunningham
Cover the safety aspects of working from home — what employees need to consider before working remotely, including ergonomics of workstations, safety equipment to have on hand, trip hazards, and possibly the Workers’ Compensation implications of remote work.Safety: Staying Safe at Work: De-Escalation Techniques Anyone Can Learn
Presenter: Jeff Schulz
During times of stress, it’s important to know how to keep yourself and others safe at work. This session will teach simple deesclation techniques that anyone can learn, and demonstrate how to defuse potentially dangerous situations before they arise.
3:30-4:00Closing Remarks
Join us as we talk about some of the innovative ideas discussed during the day and delve into what the future of Wyoming’s workforce will look like.


Laura Atchley
Pullen Services LLC

Laura loves controlled chaos and disrupting outdated practices within the industry. Known to always reinvent the wheel, majority of the time through fancy spreadsheets, Laura finds joy in developing new processes to help companies become more efficient and communicate better internally. This Casper, WY resident was born into a family of 8 children with 5 brothers and 2 sisters. Being the second youngest, Laura learned at a young age how to navigate personalities, dodge punches, and understand human dynamics. With over 20 years of experience in corporate scale company operations, government compliance and employee training, Laura’s focus is to educate and develop leadership, build up acumen within the administrative side, but most importantly engage the front line employees through education and collaboration with their managers/supervisors. Laura and her 2 business partners Matt Baker and Mitch Baker acquired Pullen Services a HSE Safety Training and Consulting firm in January of 2021. Pivoting into the world of HSE compliance, Laura maintains her original focus with building Workplace Cultures by empowering individuals for their own growth but also to help companies achieve their long term Safety goals and increase profitability.

Nichole Brommer
Risk Management Manager, Wyoming Workers’ Compensation

Nichole is Wyoming-rooted and a graduate of the University of Wyoming. She began her career with the Department of Workforce Services in August of 2014, where she worked as a Claims Analyst for two years until becoming a Risk Manager in February of 2016. Nichole immediately began leading the Risk Management team as well as contributing to a variety of other divisions within DWS. To supplement her already widespread agency knowledge, and to better serve the employers of Wyoming, Nichole has obtained her Certification in the Principles of Ergonomics through the OSHA Training Insitute and her Certified Risk Manager designation through the National Alliance for Insurance Research & Education.

Melissa Cunningham
Ergonomic Assessment Specialist

Melissa Cunningham, MHS, OTR/L, CHT, CEAS is a licensed occupational therapist, certified ergonomic assessment specialist and board certified hand therapist with The Physical Therapy Center of Wyoming in Cheyenne. Melissa received her Master’s degree in Health Science Management from the University of Florida and her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Dakota. Originally from Florida she moved to Cheyenne in December of 2016. Since 1998 she has specialized in work site ergonomic evaluations and has given many lectures on ergonomics, body mechanics, back care and lifting techniques. Melissa was appointed to the Wyoming licensing board for occupational therapists by Governor Mead in 2017. She authored the Ergonomics and Work Programs chapter in The Hand & Upper Extremity Rehabilitation (3rd and 4th editions) and has written numerous articles on ergonomics. Melissa was named the Florida Occupational Therapist of the Year in 2016 by the Florida Occupational Therapy Association.

Sharon Fain
Vice President, Rocky Mountain Power, Cheyenne

Sharon was named Wyoming’s vice president for Rocky Mountain Power, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, in July 2019. She oversees the company’s Wyoming state business plan, economic development, customer, and community relations and supports regulatory and legislative activities.

Sharon is a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in Communications. In 2019, she received her economic development certification from Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Executive Education Program and in 2020, received her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Her background includes more than a decade of energy industry experience in external and government affairs, economic development and strategic communications. She currently holds board positions with the Wyoming Economic Development Association and the Cheyenne-Laramie County Economic Development Joint Powers Board. Before relocating to Cheyenne, Wyoming, she spent twenty years as a national journalist with NBC and FOX News.

Laurie Farkas
Program Manager, Community Affairs, Black Hills Energy-Wyoming

Laurie Farkas is the Community Affairs Program Manager for Black Hills Energy-Wyoming. Prior to joining the team at BHE, Laurie was the Vice President of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and owner of Farkas Consulting. She is also an award-winning television news anchor and previous host of Optimum’s “Meet the Leaders” and Charter’s “Local Edition” cable television programs. She began her career at CBS affiliate, KGWN-TV-5 as the 5:30 and 10 pm News Anchor, Producer and featured Health Reporter.

Laurie is a very proud Wyoming native and has been married to her husband Steven, for 28 years. They are the parents of two grown children, Alexandra and Austin

Karen Godman
Program Manager, Wyoming OSHA

Karen Godman serves as the Wyoming OSHA Administrator & Program Manager for the Department of Workforce Services. Consultation Program Manager for the Department of Workforce Services. She currently holds certifications for the Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Certified Project Manager (CPM) and OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer. Her professional experience includes managing the WY OSHA Consultation Program, WY OSHA Compliance, Department of Environmental Quality and working with Oakridge Institute of Science and Education, Department of Defense. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University in Environmental Health and Master’s Degree from West Virginia University in Occupational Hygiene and Occupational Safety.

Steve Jones
Risk Manager, Wyoming Workers’ Compensation

Steve Jones is a lifelong Wyoming resident and Risk Manager with the State of Wyoming, Department of Workforce Services. Steve has been with the Division for three years, beginning as a claim’s analyst. Steve completed a bachelor’s of science at Arizona State University in 2016 and is currently pursuing a master’s of science at the University of Wyoming. As a risk manager, Steve manages the deductible discount program, policy & data analysis and employer education.

Holly Krutka
Executive Director, University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources

Dr. Holly Krutka is the Executive Director of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) – overseeing an interdisciplinary research and academic program focused on serving the Wyoming energy sector through its mission of energy-driven economic development. SER’s areas of focus include carbon capture, use and storage (including carbon removal), rare earth elements and critical minerals, hydrogen, air quality, produced water, incremental oil and gas production, 3D visualization and much more.

Dr. Krutka came to the university after serving as the Vice President for coal generation and emissions technologies at Peabody. Dr. Krutka has spent much of her career focusing on technology and policy pathways to advance carbon capture as well as identifying novel, low-emission fossil technologies. Dr. Krutka holds three patents focused on carbon capture, has served in leadership positions in the National Coal Council and the Carbon Utilization Research Council, has participated in the Carbon Capture Coalition, as a judge on the Carbon XPRIZE competition, is a board member of the Laramie Chamber and Business Alliance and an ex-officio board member of the Wyoming Energy Authority. She is also a member of the 2022 Leadership Wyoming class.

Dr. Krutka holds a bachelor’s degree, graduating magna cum laude, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, both in chemical engineering.

Prof. Steven Lupien
Director and Professor, University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain & Digital Innovation

Steven Lupien is the Director of the University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain & Digital Innovation and professor of blockchain and cryptocurrency at the University of Wyoming’s College of Business.

In addition, Lupien is the Founder of American Certified Brands, LLC (ACB), owners of Wyoming Certified Beef, LLC and the creator of BeefChain. ACB is the first company that brings together ranchers and consumers using multiple blockchain protocols and the first blockchain organization to seek USDA approval.

A seasoned executive, Prof. Lupien previously held senior leadership roles in Five Star Products, Inc, IMS, Ltd/Land O’ Lakes Specialty Foods Group, AT&T and served and Executive Director of the Digital Asset Association (DATA).

Renny MacKay
Policy Director, Wyoming Governor’s Office

Renny MacKay is Governor Mark Gordon’s policy director. He joined the administration in December 2018 and has focused on issues related to energy production, wildlife, economic development and transparency. MacKay previously served as the Communications Director for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department since 2014. Prior to that, he was the Communications Director for Governor Matthew H. Mead from 2011 to 2014. MacKay spent nearly a decade as a journalist covering statewide news for Wyoming Public Radio. He also was the press secretary for Governor-elect Gordon’s Congressional Campaign in 2008. Renny received his Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.

Jenny McCalla
IT Project Coordinator, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Jenny McCalla is the IT Project Coordinator for the Department of Workforce Services. She has worked in Wyoming State Government for 22 years, including 17 years with the Department of Workforce Services. Jenny has used her experience in technology leadership and management to facilitate and support projects within Workforce Services to align business goals with modern technology solutions. She has also collaborated with several partnering agencies on technology initiatives. Jenny has served on several committees, including co-chair of the Information Technology Coordination Committee and as a member of the Information Technology Policy Council.

Jenny graduated from Bellevue University with a B.S. in Management Information Systems and also holds degrees in Computer Information Systems and Mathematics. She is a Certified Scrum Master and Certified Product Owner.

Dr. Matt Mishkind
Deputy Director, University of Colorado Johnson Depression Center

Dr. Matt Mishkind is a faculty member with the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus. He currently serves as the Deputy Director for the University of Colorado Johnson Depression Center, as the Director of Operations for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and as Director of Strategic Facilitation, Office of Telehealth and Technology Implementation for Behavioral Health Practice and Science (TIPS). Dr. Mishkind is a certified QPR, Working Minds: Suicide Prevention in the Workplace, and Mental Health First Aid trainer. He regularly trains on these and other topics and presents at professional conferences. He holds SHRM-SCP and SHRM Veterans at Work certifications, and Mental Health First Aid for Veterans designation. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon and received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on Organizational Psychology, from the University of Vermont. He has more than 40 publications primarily focused on improving access to behavioral health care and has been an author on several best-practice guidelines for telemental health. His previous work includes management consulting, developing health care access programs for the Department of Defense, and serving as an HR team lead for the Bureau of Reclamation.

David Robb
Director of Operations, Express Employment Professionals

David Robb joined the Express Employment Professionals team in 2015 and currently serves as the Director of Operations, overseeing the recruiting and marketing teams and managing daily business operations. David initially joined the Express team as the Director of Marketing, overseeing all marketing and communications. David utilizes his experience in advanced analytics and economics to serve as the in-house labor market expert. He is always keeping a pulse on local and national workforce trends and regularly shares his expertise in these areas.

Prior to Express Employment Professionals, David was the Director of Data Analysis at a top digital advertising agency, where he worked to provide customized marketing solutions to clients around the world. He was responsible for leading the analytics department and was a member of the senior management team, providing strategic direction for the entire company. David is a graduate of Calvin University with Degrees in Marketing and Economics. During his time at Calvin University, he also led Global Business Brigades, a student organization in which he led student groups to Panama, teaching best practices to small businesses and helping them become more sustainable while supporting their communities.

David has been recognized multiple times for his innovation and commitment to the global Express network of over 800 Express offices as the recipient of the Meritorious Award and Bright Idea Award. He is an Express Leadership Academy for Managers Graduate, Purpose Driven Leadership Training Graduate, and a previous Voice of Customer member for Express Employment Professionals. He is actively involved with local community organizations like Kids’ Food Basket, Family Promise of Grand Rapids, Mel Trotter Ministries, and the Family Network of Wyoming.

Jeff Schulz
Manager, Cheyenne Workforce Center

Jeff has been with the Department of Workforce Services for 5 years serving as the manager of the Cheyenne Workforce Center. He works with a team of 13 specialists executing a variety of federal programs including the Wagner Peyser Act, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach program, Dislocated Workers grants and employer services. He is a co-convener for both the Next Gen Construction Partnership and the Next Gen Hospitality Partnership. Prior to this, Jeff served on the Cheyenne Police Dept. in positions ranging from Patrol Officer to Operations Captain. After retiring he served as the Director of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission for three years.

Cherice Wheeler
Safety Supervisor, Samson Energy Company, LLC

Cherice Wheeler has 31 years of experience in safety and health and is the Safety Supervisor for Samson Energy Company, LLC. She is a Certified Safety Professional with 17 year’s safety and health experience in the Oil and Gas Industry and 14 years in environmental, health and safety consulting with a master’s degree in Environmental, Health & Safety Management. Cherice assists operations in monitoring and impacting contractor performance, planning of non-routine or high-risk jobs, and implementing Samson’s health and safety programs. She is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals and the Wyoming Oil & Gas Industry Safety Alliance.

Lauren White
Certified Risk Manager, Wyoming Workers’ Compensation

Lauren was born and raised in Cheyenne and is a graduate of Central High School. Lauren has an Associate’s Degree in Health Sciences and is currently attending the University of Wyoming to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology & Health Promotion with expected graduation in the Spring of 2022. She has been with the Department of Workforce Services since 2014, working as a Claims Analyst for Workers’ Compensation. In November 2016, she was promoted to Risk Manager and became certified in ergonomics in June of 2017, and has since performed many ergonomic assessments. In 2020, Lauren obtained her Certified Risk Manager designation through the National Alliance for Insurance Research & Education. Lauren’s past work experience, paired with her claims knowledge, makes her a great resource for employers in Wyoming.