Ron Kensey own and operates two businesses in Sheridan, Wyoming. The first, Kennon Sign Shop produces signs, banners, wall art, wall paper and more.
The second, Aircraft Covers produces various sorts of protective covers for multi-million dollar aircraft. 60%-70% of Kennon Aircraft Covers’ business is with the Department of Defense: The interiors for the Presidential helicopter fleet, covers for jet engines, fighter plane canopy sunshields, all are designed, engineered and fabricated in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Ron Kensey started his company California but moved to Sheridan, Wyoming in 1989. In that time, the company grew from 4 employees to 35, and counting. Originally the decision to move to Wyoming was a quality of life decision. For years Ron had spent time in the Sheridan area visiting his in-laws, but in the late ‘80s the business environment in California was becoming less and less friendly and so decided to move closer to the mountains and trout streams he had grown to love. According to Kensey, the decision to pull up stakes was not difficult; “It took no guts and few brains to move my business to Sheridan Wyoming.”
The combination of local and state support has made Kensey a tremendous fan of Wyoming’s attitude toward business: “there are not many manufacturers so those that come receive great support. The County helped me get established when I first moved to town because they understood that I represented jobs. State or county support was not a gift, it was an investment.” The tax climate was another pleasant change; ”…the Wyoming tax climate is a tremendous advantage. The savings in insurance costs (Workers’ Comp and Unemployment) is tremendous. And the water is good, the air is clean.”
Kennon takes advantage of a long list of incentive programs as well, “Work Force Training provides assistance with nearly all training costs for our new hires, Wyoming has numerous incentive programs for small businesses that have been extremely helpful. Manufacturing equipment is sales tax exempt, freight cost is competitive and the service is dependable. The Small Business Innovative Research program continues to be an asset to my operation.”
A characteristic of his new home that he did not foresee was the easy access to decision state and local decision makers. “In CA a business owner does not have much opportunity for contact with decision makers, politicians. Just the opposite is the case in Wyoming. Our state representatives regularly stop and check in when they come through the area.”
Kennon Signs and Kennon Aircraft Covers are perfect examples of firms that choose to base in Sheridan Wyoming, yet conduct business nationally and internationally. Ron Kensey and his team enjoy a welcoming business environment while enjoying an unparalleled quality of life in a tremendous natural environment.