Startup Weekend Gillette

    Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Gillette

Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018

Friday, November 16 - 18, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Area 59
3207 South Douglas Hwy (next to TIRE-RAMA)
Gillette, WY 82716

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Your idea in 54 hours

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? 

Gillette Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:

  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

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Friday November 16th

6:30 pm
Registration & Dinner & Networking
Arrive at Area 59 and get checked in, then have some dinner and network.

7:10 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:15 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work at Area 59 till 11 PM.

Saturday November 17th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

10:00 am
UWYO Virtual Reality Lab
UWYO shows virtual reality application technical capabilities.

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

4:00 pm
UWYO Virtual Reality Lab Closes

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday November 18th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Rachel Kalenberg & Ariane Jimison

Our Keynote Speakers are Rachel Kalenberg and Ariane Jimison, the owners of Pizza Carrello.  They are the 2018 Wyoming Small Employer of the Year from the Wyoming Workforce Development Council. and Money Magazine names Pizza  Carrello the “Best Pizza in
Wyoming”, according to Yelp reviewers. Rachel and Ariane started Pizza Carrello with a street cart in 2011 and then developed the company to now serve its customers in a large comfortable restaurant with about 50 employees.  They have a fiery passion for great food, quality ingredients, boundless creativity, and bringing people together to share it all. Rachel and Ariane believe that their pizza is the best because it embodies the creative spirit that sets them apart from the rest, art is in their heart. They have carefully crafted every part of their business to provide the highest quality food available in Wyoming while helping to build a better community.

Event Judges

Brian Worthen

Brian graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor's degree in Small Business Management, with an emphasis on Finance. Brian grew up in the family motorcoach business and after college was instrumental in the company’s sale to Coach USA, which later went through a series of public offering, acquisitions and rollups. Prior to departing the transportation industry, Brian was overseeing more than 300 employees in five states. Brian purchased ownership in Visionary Communications in 2001 and worked to develop the company’s broadband portfolio in Wyoming. Seeing an opportunity in 2005, Brian and his management team formed Mammoth Networks to wholesale telecommunications services to ISPs. Mammoth quickly evolved into a Layer 2 Aggregator of disparate technologies and services onto a single, managed platform. Brian's blue-collar background translates into a hands-on approach to all facets of Mammoth’s business, from circuit ordering to project management to sales and support.                                        

Debbie & Jim McLeland

Debbie & Jim McLeland are heads of the family owning M & K Oil Company, a local oil and gas operator. M & K started in 1974, and over the years, continued to drill and acquire additional wells and today operates over 400 oil and gas wells in Northeast Wyoming.

Rebekah Bane

Ms. Bane is owner of Trends Furniture, which was established in 1996.

Jim Ford
Chief Operationg Officer

Atlas Carbon produces premium-grade, low-cost activated carbon products for air and water treatment  systems.

Coaches and Mentors

Erik Bjordahl
Vice President

Erik Bjordahl, Vice President, M & K Oil Company, Inc.
Mr. Bjordahl is responsible for negotiating production-quality mineral interests for an oil & gas production company. His varied career also includes having served as the Administrative Director of Pioneer Manor, a long-term senior care facility in Gillette, WY, and as a Founder of Gillette Brewing.

Phil Christopherson

Phil is CEO of the Energy Capital Economic Development Corp., which promotes the economy of Campbell County, WY.  Previously, he was the Field Engineer for the University of Wyoming’s Manufacturing Extension Center (Manufacturing-Works) in Riverton.   He also worked as a design engineer and Project Manager for The Boeing Company on several different military and commercial airplane projects. Phil has a BS in Computer Engineering and a MBA from the University of Wyoming.

Jay Baden
Software Engineer

Susan Jerke
Regional Director, Small Business Development Center

  • Marketing Materials
  • Graphic Design
  • Sustainability
  • Human Resources
  • 7 Habits for Highly Successful People
  • General Business Topics

Doug Cherry
Director of Business Education, Sheridan College

Head of the Business degree Program.

Doug Dumbrill
Business attorney

Doug Dumbrill is an experienced business attorney, a Gillette City Judge, and also teaches government courses at Gillette College.

Ian Scott
Director, Area 59 FabLab

Ian is the Director of the new Area 59 FabLab, a place with the equipment and tools to make almost anything. 

Shane Lee
small business owner

I am Shane Lee, I have a small business in manufacturing of analytical equipment for the mining and minerals industry.  I have a BS and MS in Mining Engineering and Management.  I am also finishing a PhD in Materials Science at the South Dakota School of Mines.  I also teach Intro to Business, Project Management, and Mining Economics at Gillette College.

Angela Raber
Entrepreneur and Adjunct Instructor, Sheridan College

Josh Pierce
Assistant Vice President, First Northern Bank of Wyoming

Ag and Commercial Lending

Steve Keefer
Materials/Purchasing Manager, L&H

Mr. Keefer is the Materials Purchasing Manager for L&H Industrial, a major worldwide service company to the mining industry.  Steve oversees Purchasing of products and raw materials for the repair of large mining, oilfield and other large equipment in three manufacturing locations (Gillette, WY, Sheridan WY, and Tempe AZ) as well as four field service facilities.
• Negotiate raw material purchases to maximize availability while factoring in the impact on monthly cash flow/cash management.
• Materials to include solid round and tube alloy steel, steel plate, forgings, bearings, seals and outside processing to compliment internal capabilities as well as various other materials and services.
• Manage $36M spend ($26M direct, $8M indirect, $2M CAP-X over 32,000 PO line items)
• ISO 9001:2015 Transition and Internal Lead Auditor Management System Training

Tony Giest
Instructor, Machine Tools, Gillette College

Tony heads the Machine Tool program at Gillette College.

Jesse Jacobs
AVP of Lending/HR Director

Ms. Jacobs is a senior management team member who administers HR duties including employee relations, benefits administration, policy implementation, recruitment, working practices, planning and training. As AVP of Lending she is responsible for productivity and efficiency of consumer loans and new accounts. She provides the department with oversight, coaching, and development plans.

Ray DeStefano
Instructor, Industrial Electric, Gillette College

Industrial electric instructor at Gillette College

Ben Jarmin

"My careers have been in banking, real estate and education.  I've also traveled and lived abroad in Europe and Asia.      I am thrilled to be a part of Gillette College's Start-Up Weekend again.  I was impressed by last year's start-up projects and I look forward to this years ideas turned into realities for our students."

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Gillette team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Gillette is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • AnneMarie
  • John
  • Waylon
  • Brittany


Brian Rupert

Event Staff

Alissa Betz

Business student, soccer team

Nicola Burnett

Management student

Linda Gobble

Business student

Aaron Norton

Business student

Jayden Parsons

Soccer team

Daniel Porter

Gillette College business student and Navy veteran

Shyann Russell

Rodeo team

Charles Schuler
Special projects

CTE & Business student

Haydn Shereck

Business student, soccer team

Brittany Stiens


Bridger Vaselin

Business student

Cooper White

Ag student, Rodeo team

Event Blog

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