FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 27, 2019) Contact: Erin Helms, Executive Director 307-234-5311 or ehelms@casperwyoming,org
Today the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce announced the two newest additions to their Board of Directors. Mr. Michael Howe, Community Affairs Manager (Wyoming-North) for Black Hills Energy and Mr. Phillip Rael, State Farm Insurance Agent in Casper. These gentlemen will join 17 current business and community leaders representing a broad cross-section of the greater Natrona County and Casper business community.
"We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful members on our Board of Directors. Our board is comprised of many strong individuals that have the competency to look beyond where Casper is today and toward the future growth and development of our great City and County.” Said Erin Helms, Executive Director of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce.
Mike is the Community Affairs Manager (covering Northern Wyoming) for Black Hills Energy, a position he moved back to Casper for in October 2018. Though he moved back to Casper for the job, Mike is not new to Casper. In fact, Mike is a Casper native, went to school through 8th grade here, and later returned and met his wife Laura in Casper. Mike is a seasoned communications and government affairs professional with over 15 years of experience in the energy industry. His experience began in Wyoming with the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency, and then he went on to serve two Wyoming Governor’s - Jim Geringer as an advisor to the Wyoming Energy Commission, and Governor Dave Freudenthal as a Policy Analyst focused on local government and transportation issues. After that, Mike spent some time teaching college full time and then working for electric utilities in Oregon and Washington.
He has been a Rotarian for over 10 years and is now a member of the Rotary Club of Casper; he also serves on the University of Wyoming at Casper Advisory Committee, is a member of the University of Wyoming Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee, and has served as a Board Member for the University of Wyoming Alumni Association. Mike earned his B.S. in Political Science from the University of Wyoming, and an M.A. in Political Science from Midwestern State University (TX). Mike is married to his wife Laura and has 5 children and 2 grandchildren.
Phillip was born and raised in Cowley, Wyoming, a small community in the Northern Big Horn Basin. His Mom and Dad raised 4 kids and taught them hard work and accountability. Something he is grateful for every day of his adult life. He grew up farming, ranching and playing every sport that he could. In his youth he gained a deep love for hunting and fishing and that remains a passion of his to this day. Phillip is married to the love of his life Becca. She has blessed him with 3 of the cutest girls anyone has ever seen. Navaya is 7 years old, Sophia is 5 and Amelia is 3. They all attend Summit Elementary. They also have an angel son who is now in heaven looking down and watching out for his big sisters.
After high school Phillip served on an LDS mission in Southern California where he gave two years of his life to serve those with physical and spiritual needs. He then attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah where he gained a Bachelor’s degree in Geology. While attending college, he became a business owner at the age of 25 and has continued to own a business to this day. Two and a half years ago he moved his family back to Wyoming and became an insurance agent for State Farm. Since returning to Casper he has become involved in the Casper community. Phillip is a current board member of the Casper Boxing Club, 4-H Foundation Board, and Old Yellowstone District, and is looking forward to serving those who are members of the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce.