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Jerke Honored for Community Engagement

Gillette’s Susan Jerke has received the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff award for her work as a regional director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network.

The awards were established to recognize the collaborative teaching and research that extends behind the campus.

Jerke heads the northeast SBDC region serving Campbell, Crook, Weston, Sheridan, and Johnson counties. The network helps Wyoming residents launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. According to the release from UW, small businesses and startups in northeast Wyoming have injected nearly $2 million into the economy.

“These achievements, along with the consulting and teaching activities that are a daily part of Jerke’s job, embody the key element of this award: namely, supporting community development — in this case, economic development — through engagement, building strong, reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community,” said Paul Flesher, the interim UW Office of Engagement and Outreach director.

Jerke was nominated by Jill Kline, the state director of the SBDC.

“Susan finds that helping people organize their ideas and translate them into successful businesses is incredibly rewarding,” Kline said in the release. “But, the reach of her expertise extends to the entire state through sharing her knowledge of branding/graphic design, sustainability and human resources.”

In 2018, Jerke met with 248 clients, assisted with 21 business startups, and helped those clients hire or retain 917 employees. That equates to roughly $1.8 million for those local economies.

Along with the recognition the award brings, Jerke will receive $1,000 that may be used for additional engagement work.

“With these awards, we acknowledge that community engagement is an integral component of UW’s land-grant mission and honor those faculty, staff, students, and partners whose collaborations involve the exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of reciprocity with the citizens and institutions of Wyoming, the nation, and the world,” Flesher said.

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