Mentoring girls is important to me. Having role models and mentors has helped me succeed and it is exciting to give back in this way. Our Girls Who Code Chapter starte January 2020 at Array! shortgo.co/array-announces-girl-who-code-chapter-in-cheyenne/
So honored and humbled to be included in this!
The first episode in Season 2 of This is Me Podcast, features guest, Amy Surdam.Amy has proudly lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming since age 11. She graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1996 with a BSN, and in 2004 with an MSN. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Wyoming Army National Guard, Family Nurse Practitioner, co-owner of Stitches Acute Care Center (with her husband) and The Array School of Technology and Design where is the COO. Amy’s talent and passion lies in strategic planning, public relations, public speaking, leadership, connecting people together, and making a difference. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, and creating a better tomorrow. Join us as we hear Amy speak about living a healthy life-style, her near-death experience, her run for mayor and so much more!
This article is very much the truth. As true as it is, and as disappointed as I was...am...that all of this occurred, I do want to say that I am looking forward to the second column by Reed in which he will talk about a new solution for the hole/Hynds. Life is too short to live in the past or to hold on to anger. I'm hopeful for the future and optimistic that one day, there will be an amazing children's museum in Cheyenne and downtown revitalization.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Business leaders created "nightmare" at "The Hole"This is the first of two columns on the downtown “hole” and the neighboring Hynds Building.
BY D. REED ECKHARDT
It’s a harsh thing when your words come back to haunt you.
Consider this from an editorial in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle:
“Our ‘nightmare’ scenario for downtown Cheyenne is that plans to renovate the Hynds Building will fall apart, and the ‘hole’ next door on West Lincolnway will remain unfilled.”
These words were printed on Aug. 7, 2016. That’s when the
Thanks to the city's business leaders, "The Hole" remains empty.
newspaper joined linked arms with the business community insiders at Cheyenne LEADS and the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce as well as with then-mayoral candidate Marian Orr and other naysayers. Their mission: to bully the proposed Children’s Museum of Cheyenne out of “The Hole” downtown.
All of them had imbibed the snake oil peddled by developer David Hatch. They were drunken with the idea that the Hynds Building could be turned into a palace for lawyers with “The Hole” as their private parking pen.
These community “leaders” applied their considerable influence to shame and embarrass museum creator and also then-mayoral candidate Amy Surdam into submission.
After all, Surdam was not one of “theirs.” She and the Downtown Development Association that she headed wanted the museum in “The Hole,” and they refused to be pushed around by the Chamber and LEADS. The insiders didn’t like this uppity woman, and she was standing in the way of their buddy’s big plans. She had to go.
Never mind that the Children’s Museum was a perfect fit for “The Hole.” Its potential as an engine to drive a downtown renaissance was immense. But no, the big timers were willing to drive a stake through its heart to promote the scheme of a man with major dreams and minor means.
The WTE willingly joined in, arguing the Children’s Museum was an extravagant boondoggle. A once-proud newspaper, which for more than 15 years had supported public efforts to create a thriving downtown, flew into the arms of the city’s business leaders. It has been there ever since.
And the visionless Orr was more than willing to pile on. She played to the naysayers, speaking against the museum and the proposed tax to fund it. Then she came up with a surprise move: She offered free land elsewhere for the museum. She pretended this was a grand gesture, but it was just another way to get the museum out of “The Hole” for her establishment buddies and to take down Surdam at the same time.
That Hatch never was going to be able to cobble the money together to develop the Hynds was obvious. He never would put enough of his own skin in the game, but he was very willing to suckle at the government’s teat. Uh, no. No agency was drinking that snake oil. Finally, in the fall of 2017, he threw in the towel.
And so, if you walk downtown now, you can see the WTE’s “nightmare” -- an empty hole and a vacant Hynds. The irony is, the newspaper played a major role in its creation.
As you stand in front of Ernie November’s downtown and look across the street at the still-empty “hole,” you have to wonder: What if the Chamber, and LEADS, and the WTE, and Mayor Orr, and the other naysayers had stood tall for the museum? Perhaps the tax would have failed, but the museum still might be in place, fighting for funding and trying to move ahead. And perhaps a thriving museum might have pumped fresh life into the Hynds.
The silence from all those who perpetuated this farce is deafening. Hatch is gone and LEADS, and the Chamber and Orr have done nothing except put up a pretty fence to hide the ugliness they helped to maintain.
Five years ago, these same people were saying that without something in “The Hole,” downtown never would prosper. Now it is not even as issue for them?
But perhaps their silence is driven by embarrassment. Embarrassed that they got taken by Hatch. Embarrassed that they bullied a project out of “The Hole” that might have saved downtown. Embarrassed that they browbeat someone who really cared about downtown, Surdam, to the sidelines.
As well they should be.
So what’s next for “The Hole” and the Hynds?
There is one idea that makes a lot of sense. Come back next time to find out what it is.
D. Reed Eckhardt is the former executive editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Bobbi Barrasso and I reading over our notes as we prepare to speak at the 2019 Connect2Women Event.
As Wyoming begins preparations to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Louisa Swain casting a ballot in Laramie, I’ve been thinking ab- out the many women in Wyoming who impacted the trajectory of our state’s future by becoming the first to achieve a responsibility traditionally reserved for men.
First woman to serve on a jury. First woman to serve as a bailiff. First woman to serve as a justice of the peace. First to become a statewide-elected official.
Look them up – their images portray them as grim-faced, stern women, separated from us by both years and photographic style. But don’t let this obscure the fact that these women were not two-dimensional characters. They cared deeply about improving their communities. The reasons why they were willing to break glass and pursue change led them to be passionate about imagining how a problem could be solved.
Maybe it isn’t just grim-faced sternness we see in those old photographs. Maybe it’s also unyielding grit.
One of the things I love about Wyoming – that sets it apart from many places I’ve lived – is how accessible change-making really is here. You don’t have to wait around for change to happen by accident. Belonging to an elite club of do-ers is unnecessary.
See a problem? You can literally decide to do something about it and then do that thing. It isn’t always easy or immediate, but a healthy dose of unyielding grit, handed down through generations, makes it possible.
I know because there is proof – from the earliest days of Wyoming’s existence to the present day, where Wyoming women are quietly (and sometimes not quietly at all) imagining ways to improve their communities.
The fourth annual Connect2Women conference was held last week in Cheyenne, and I was amazed, delighted and inspired by the many local women who shared their stories of a quest for change.
Heather Fleming and Kari Roden of the nonprofit WY Lit are accidental activists who came together to change how literacy skills are taught in Wyoming schools; while their work is just beginning, they’ve already proven themselves fierce advocates of a better way of doing business. Their advocacy brought the successful passage of Wyoming House Bill 297, requiring school districts to assess the specific skills predictive of third-grade reading proficiency. The ripple effects of improved literacy skills through evidence-based research and instruction will be staggering.
Valerie Colgate and Karen Fettig are ardent advocates for bringing awareness – and an end – to the devastating issue of human exploitation and sex-trafficking, which is an all-too-real problem in Wyoming and internationally. A global health professional, Valerie serves as a medical liaison for Destiny Rescue, regularly traveling from Wyoming to Cambodia to combat the effects of exploitation on girls, women and their communities. Karen Fettig works tirelessly within the state to bring awareness to this issue, partnering with law enforcement to hold workshops about identifying the warning signs of trafficking, exploitation and trauma.
Neither of these women set out to do this work originally, but the problem was simply too big to ignore. So, they didn’t.
Stacy Strasser founded the Unaccompanied Students Initiative because she couldn’t live with the status quo of homelessness in Wyoming. Her efforts to provide actual homes for adolescents without guardians so they can graduate from high school in a safe, consistent environment has led to a near-impossible level of community collaboration and generosity that is already making a difference for every single student served by the program. Stacy did not allow initial failure to deter her laser-focused vision of a better Wyoming.
Amy Surdam and her husband are reimagining how health care is provided in Wyoming through their acute care center, Stitches, a challenge so great that it seems insurmountable – until it isn’t. Their approach is both inventive and innovative, and has created statewide partnerships to provide telemedicine to previously underserved rural areas. Additionally, their partnership with LIV Health and Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative will provide access to counseling for patients diagnosed with breast cancer (and their families) without the added stressor of hundreds of travel miles.
In our kitchen hangs a treasured piece of artwork made for my family by artist Amos Kennedy. On the backdrop of a Wyoming road map, he handset the words of Sojourner Truth and printed with a vintage letterpress: “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”
Something about this sentiment pierces my heart. Just like Sojourner Truth knew in the 1800s, Wyoming women know today that change comes not from talking, but from doing.
No one must settle for the status quo here, and that is a treasured right we should never take for granted.
Elizabeth Dillow is a writer, photographer and graphic designer in Cheyenne who can be reduced to tears by stories of women changing the world. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s Lane, the one in the middle.
Lane is a very empathetic and creative child who loves science, making movies and building space stations. He is also on a basketball team.
Lane likes to say things like, “I’m not very athletic,” and “I’m not really into sports.” At recess, he will always play imagination games instead of soccer or football. At home, he is working on colonizing Mars.
Yet, he is on a basketball team and this is the second year in a row that he is on the Pistons. When he does play basketball he loves to cheer on his teammates and to look at the scoreboard when he runs down the court. For most of the season, he treated the ball more like a hot potato, passing it to his teammates as soon as he touched it. On a rare occasion, he would shoot the ball. He usually played half of each quarter. He never scored. Despite that, he is a good sport and very happy to be on his undefeated team comprised of other boys who are very much into sports and perhaps even play on traveling basketball teams.
Saturday was the last game of the season. The Pistons were ahead 29-0 just shortly after half time when something changed. Suddenly, Lane had the ball and tried to shoot. He missed. Within moments, his teammates passed him the ball again. He shot and missed. The ball was rebounded by the other team and they ran down the court. When they resumed offense, I heard it from his coach, “Lane, get it to Lane.” And they did. Over and over again.
“They’re giving the ball to Lane, “ I said. “They want him to score. “
For the rest of the game, Lane stayed in, and Lane took every shot he could. Every play was set up to get him the ball. When they were taking in it from out of bounds, the ball was bounced to him. Taking it down the court, it was thrown to him. Every rebound passed to Lane.
He must have shot the ball 20 times. Each time it was close, but it never went in. Each time we all held our breath and cheered him on. Each time he kept trying. He didn’t give up. And neither did his teammates. No matter how many times he shot and missed, they still passed him the ball. Every. Single. Time.
It was the best game Lane has ever had. For the first time in his life, he was the star of his basketball team. Afterward, he said it was incredible. “I love my team,” he said. “They are the best team ever. And my coach is amazing too. I can’t wait to play with them again next year.”
They lifted him up and cheered him on. They believed in him and did not give up on him. I was so proud of those boys and how selfless they were in an effort to make Lane feel valued.
Thank you, Pistons and Coach Rooney. He’ll remember that game for the rest of his life. And so will I.
Nymbl Raises $300K For Print-On-Demand Ecommerce Platform
CHEYENNE, WYO. (PRWEB) JANUARY 09, 2019
Nymbl.io (Nymbl, LLC), recently raised $300k to launch the world’s first all-in-one Ecommerce platform focused on the print-on-demand (POD) merchandise industry. With the recent closing of this Pre-Seed round, including $100k from Casper’s Breakthrough 307 fund, a $50K grant from the Kickstart:Wyoming program, and several other prominent angel investors, Nymbl is set to cause a disruption in the POD Ecommerce industry.
"We saw an opportunity to solve the complexities involved with setting up and operating a merchandise Ecommerce shop," said Zac Folk, Nymbl's founder and CEO. "With this additional funding we can continue to deliver on that promise, while refining our product offering and market fit with our beta customers as we prepare to scale."
As Nymbl begins the roll out of its platform, the investment funds will be used to hire additional staff to expand the company’s reach, bolster the platform’s performance, and market to its target segments, while ensuring top-notch support is available to its customers. The target market for the Nymbl platform includes influencers, celebs, entrepreneurs, artists, photographers, bands, businesses, non-profits, schools, printers, and sports teams.
“What Nymbl has developed over the past couple of years is hugely impressive,” stated Brett Florio, CEO of Foxy.io, an Ecommerce tech company with over $2bn processed. “As a technology partner, customer, and investor, Foxy is excited to witness Nymbl’s growth, and will be actively referring interested customers to the turn-key platform.”
Nymbl’s Board of Directors includes Zac Folk, Karl Kaplan, Shawn Mills, Amy Surdam, and Brian Worthen.
The Nymbl Platform allows clients to sell their merchandise via an easy-to-use service, with no up-front investment or inventory risk, while Nymbl’s fulfiller network prints and ships our products on-demand around the globe.
Nymbl features a proprietary Ecommerce CMS and software technologies that can take any online artwork and automatically convert it into a merchandise store via API. Sign-up and installation for an online merch store is free and takes less than a couple of minutes. The platform also boasts a proprietary automated product image mockup system, a simple web page builder tool, and is the world’s first all-in-one solution focused on the print-on-demand market.
Wyoming Tribune Eagle by Christina Shuttles, October 28, 2018. CHEYENNE – A longtime aviation industry professional and Wyoming Department of Transportation employee has assumed the role of WYDOT aeronautics administrator after Amy Surdam resigned months ago.
Brian Olsen, a licensed civil engineer with a background in airport engineering, was appointed Sept. 1.
Olsen grew up in Rawlins, graduating from Rawlins High School before earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wyoming.
He joined WYDOT’s Bridge Program in 2002, leaving for a number of years to work as a stress engineer for the Boeing Company in Everett, Washington. He returned to WYDOT a decade ago, first as a bridge engineer. Following several years as an airport engineer, he was promoted to engineering and construction program manager for the department’s Aeronautics Division, which he now oversees in his new position.
His salary is $104,400 per year.
Olsen will continue to manage air service development in the state, working with the Air Service Enhancement Program, and distributing state and federal money to develop airports.
As the Air Service Improvement Council works to replace the bulk of ASEP in the coming months, Olsen said he would rely on the judgment of stakeholders and other state experts to guide the conversation about what is best for Wyoming’s regional airports.
“I have a passion for aviation in Wyoming,” he said. “ASEP has been a great success. We can be thankful to our Legislature that it had been innovative in recruiting and retaining air service in the state. What we are trying to do now with capacity purchase programs is continue to stabilize and improve air service in Wyoming.”
Olsen said he believes barriers to commercial air service here are nationwide industry concerns, including pilot shortages. To help combat this, the division will launch a multi-year aviation economic impact study.
“Aviation has a huge impact on the lives of people in Wyoming, and it is a tremendous benefit to the state,” he said. “We see about $1.4 billion worth of economic impact that comes out of aviation in the state. We want to continue to educate folks about the value of aviation.”
Details of Surdam’s resignation remain unclear after a records request submitted to WYDOT last week was denied – the resignation letter resides in her personnel file, officials said.
While she didn’t comment on her departure, Surdam wished Olsen the best.
“Brian is an amazing engineer and leader,” she said. “He will be a great asset to the Aeronautics Division.”
Surdam joined WYDOT in early 2017. She and her husband, Dan, own Stitches Acute Care and recently acquired The Array School in Cheyenne.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Array School Announces Acquisition and New Ownership
CHEYENNE, WY — The Array School is excited to announce new ownership. Dan and Amy Surdam
acquired Array from Board Members in August 2018. Dan and Amy Surdam own Stitches Acute Care Centers in Cheyenne and Laramie and are committed to furthering healthcare in Wyoming through innovation.
“We approached Array in March 2018 to help us design a telemedicine platform and from
there began bigger discussion of acquisition. We are very thankful to the Board and team
for all of the hard work to get Array to the successful place that it is. Our goal is to help
create a highly desired workforce in Wyoming for Wyoming and perhaps partner on
healthcare initiates such as telemedicine advancement.” -- Dan Surdam, MD, Owner of Stitches Acute Care.
Eric Trowbridge will remain with the organization as the CEO and the Advisory Board will remain in
place. Jesse Johnston, an Array graduate, has recently joined the team as the Director of Student Affairs.
“We are excited that Dan and Amy Surdam are assuming the leadership role for Array.
They are seasoned entrepreneurs and successful business owners who we feel are in an
excellent position to help take Array to the next level.” -- Matthew Kaufman, Former Board President of The Array School.
Array is currently teaching its fourth class of full web stack development to students who will graduate in March 2019. For more information about Array go to www.arrayschool.com or email
Both knowingly and unknowingly, I was pulling myself together.
There was of course, vicious organizing of any and everything we owned: closets, files, the yard even.
After the election I had gained twelve pounds. On my small 5’5’ frame, it was a lot and my back and knees noticed. I was running quite a bit and eating less. It’s amazing how sitting at a desk when little chocolates are constantly within reach and eating so many business lunches, dinners, and coffees can just make it impossible to lose weight. Without that, I was eating extremely healthy. Yesterday a half of banana and peach with a little peanut butter for breakfast, and salad and other veggies for dinner. I only had a few pounds to go until I reached my day-of-election weight. I was going to get there.
I spent more time with the kids. Last night we ate dinner together, played Monopoly, then Jake and I walked Marley to the park and threw her the ball. On the way home we stopped at my parent’s to say hi. Because they lived that close. Because we could while they lived there and we lived here. Because we were all alive and healthy enough to exchange a quick hello.
“I’ve been meaning to clean my garage soon,” Papa said as he looked at me. With that one sentence I knew exactly what he was asking.
“Get rid of them,” I said quickly. “Get rid of all of them.”
He had my campaign yard signs, small and large, stacked neatly in a corner…just in case.
She was doing a decent job and gaining incredible name recognition, there was absolutely no way I could beat her with my Pollyanna attitude and recent streak of quitting. And, more importantly, I didn’t want to.
I felt like I was just gaining a freedom I had never known or accepted before. Although Dan and I had been married for ten years, I had never taken time off just to enjoy life, the kids, and pursue dreams. Since I was twelve and babysitting full time in the summer for $2 an hour, I have always worked. Every single summer of my life I have worked and had to answer to someone. This summer of course I would be working. Dan and I are extreme entrepreneurs with ten projects on our burner waiting to see which and how many stick. Even today I will be hustling our our clinics and showing one of our team members the relationship ropes. Before that coffee with my old Army recruiter who is in to telemedicine. Before that, coffee with a friend who may or may not do lofts and who may or may not be pushing business to an entity we are considering purchasing for the point of furthering a few other ideas we have.
Yet, here’s the difference. It’s all work I want to do. No one is making me do it. I want to do it. I’m excited for it. I’m excited to see my old friends and talk about new things. In so many ways I have felt like a geranium that has had too much sun, wilted and weathered, unpleasant to look at and barely hanging on. Seeing old friends with that first nice hug and cheek peck is like someone pouring a large watering can of water on me. I perk up, I’m pretty, I’m alive.
Here’s another difference, I’ll be doing work I know and I am comfortable with. I speak the language, I know the jargon, I’m the expert. I love medicine and helping others.
And finally, I like making the decisions whether it is a culture shift or where we go next. There is a lot to be said about being a key decision maker in an organization.
“I just wanted to be sure,” Jack said about the signs.
My mom: “That chapter of our life is over. We’re moving on.”
Yes, we are moving on.
Moving on with the obvious shed of noisy things. No to things that I am not passionate about. No to feeling pulled down. I say no to social events I really didn’t want to go to and stay home to do important tasks like play Monopoly with the boys, throw Marley the ball, and say hello to my parents.
On this page....
Enjoy a personal look at my experiences. Click here to review my blogs on healthcare and here for previous aeronautics blogs in the Fly Wyoming Newsletter. And please no negative comments! Being vulnerable is hard enough without all the cyber bullying!