By Ryan Fitzmaurice
A passion for Lovell and a deep optimism for its future lies at the core of Stormy Jameson’s approach to economic development.
Jameson has taken over for Elaine Harvey as the head for Lovell Inc.. after Harvey retired earlier this summer. Jameson has been a member of the Lovell community since 2009, and has been on the Lovell Inc. staff since September 2018.
Jameson said she thought she knew small town living growing up in Paris, Texas, a town of 24,800 notable for having the third largest Eiffel Tower in the world, behind Paris, Franch Las Vegas and Paris, France. Paris, Texas, though, is the only town where the tower dons a red cowboy hat.
Then Jameson went to college where she met and fell in love with her husband, Michael Jameson. Michael played baseball at Oklahoma Panhandle State University while she played softball. Upon graduating and marrying in 2009, the newlywed couple moved into town.
“And then I was like, yeah, this is a small town,” Jameson said.
Small-town living fit Stormy Jameson. It fit her entire family. Shortly after she moved into Lovell, her parents sold the house they lived in for 30 years in Texas to live on Nevada Avenue. Her grandparents also moved from Texas to Lovell, as did her aunt, as did her uncle, as did her cousin and her brother.
The reasons the entire Jameson family have moved to Lovell in the past 10 years are the same reasons Jameson believes she can sell this town to just about anyone.
“Lovell is Mayberry, going into the store in the wintertime, and leaving your car running with the keys in it, leaving your door unlocked at your home, letting your kids walk to school,” Jameson said. “The necessities are all here, but also having the small town perks with having your needs being met, we fell in love with it.”
Jameson graduated with a degree in business marketing, and her tenure at Lovell Inc.. is not the first time she’s put it to use. She worked at the Lovell Chronicle selling advertising from 2011 to 2013. It gave her a step up when she joined Lovell Inc. in September.
“I met all the people in town, formed a lot of connections with business owners, which I think has carried into this position,” Jameson said. “I already have those relationships built.”
Harvey, Jameson said, quickly recognized her potential. The two have been working hand in hand for the past several months to prepare Jameson for the transition.
“Elaine definitely saw potential in me. She expressed her plans to retire and she immediately thought I would be a good replacement. She groomed me to be able to step in when I was ready,” Jameson said. “I was all in at being the part-time glorified secretary. I was still hesitant at the time about my ability to run an organization like this, but being able to transition over a period of time gave me more confidence. I’ve been able to go to a lot of trainings. Not that I ever lacked the ability, but now I have the confidence.”
Jameson’s first and foremost priority is to increase Lovell Inc.’s presence in town, she said. While the organization has been successful supporting several start-up businesses, many existing businesses are unaware of their services.
“One of my big pushes, not that we need to completely rebrand Lovell Inc.. but there are some people in town who don’t know what we do here, or know that we even exist, period. I want to come in and want to breathe some fresh air into our existing businesses,” Jameson said. “Recruiting a new business to town is the big headlines, but the businesses that are already here are the ones who invest in this town and live in this town, so making sure they’re aware we are here to be a resource to them is just as important to me as helping the entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.”
Her other focus, Jameson said, is tightening Lovell Inc.’s bond with the town. The two entities need to work together to truly bring economic development to Lovell.
“Lovell Inc. and the town need to be on the same page moving forward. We both want the same success for the community,” Jameson said. “I want to work hand in hand with the town to help us reach the potential we have as a community.”
Sometimes, Jameson said, that partnership can bring obstacles, but those obstacles are necessary and important.
“You want to grow and keep the small town. To me, my job, I want to get everything I can, I want to grow and get as many businesses here as possible. If I’m a town council member, I need to know all the details first and what it takes to grow those businesses. These are different roles of making growth happen,” Jameson said. This doesn’t make it difficult, but it makes it a
process. In the end everybody wants the success, it’s just different paths of reaching it.”
Jameson pointed to Lovell Inc.. and the town’s partnership on using Placemaking grant to revitalize Main Street as an example of the potential that relationship can bring.
“Revitalizing our Main Street needs to be a huge area of focus for Lovell Inc.. and our community as a whole. (People passing through) don’t realize what Lovell has to offer. Why would they stop here? What makes us unique from everywhere else they stop through?” Jameson said. “Lovell people know what Lovell has to offer, we already know Lovell is a great place to live. Bringing people into our downtown again, that’ll draw more people here.”
When Jameson started her role at Lovell Inc.. there were three employees in the building. With Harvey and Jeanine Swift, Lovell Inc..’s former Americorps Vista worker, gone, she’s left as the only person working at the Lovell Inc.. office. Chances to bring more help may come again through the Americorps Vista program.
According to Jameson, the organization is restructuring their volunteer efforts locally, and volunteers in the Big Horn Basin will be organized and supervised by a centralized location in Powell. Lovell Inc.. has brought in three separate vista workers to help with their greenhouse and food hub project. This next one will have to be focused on a different project. That opportunity will likely come again, Jameson said.
In the meantime, company isn’t hard to come by in Lovell. With some partnership, Lovell can grow in any direction it chooses to.
“I think the future of Lovell is as bright as it wants to be. I think we can accomplish and grow as much as we want. I just hope to be an asset. We Lovell people know what we have to offer,” Jameson said. “I think we’ll be successful no matter what.”