Fall 2019 Director's Note

Summer and fall are busy seasons at the Wyoming Retirement System.  These traditional seasons of transition reflect in our workload – we process twice as many retirements in July, August and September as we do in other months.  

I assumed the directorship on August 1, 2019 after serving 5 years as Deputy Director.  Challenges are always present, but my predecessor, Ruth Ryerson, left WRS in a good position to be successful.  I’ve been proud to serve as her deputy, and honored to be selected as her successor.  I’m the tenth director of the system, since the system’s inception back in 1953.  
As some of you know, prior to my career in public finance, I was a career military officer.  Raised in Riverton, Wyoming, I was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from Riverton High School.  This fall I was privileged to attend our class reunion.  It has been 40 years since we threw our caps in the air at graduation and pinned on second lieutenant bars.  Aside from renewing old friendships, the trip reminded me of the importance of institutions and stewardship.   
WRS is an important institution.  Public employees perform important work, whether it is educating our children, responding to emergencies or literally taking out the trash.  The possibility of a pension has always been and continues to be one of the reasons people take on public employment.   
The dictionary defines “stewardship” as the conducting, supervising, or managing of something, especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.

John Kugland served as the System’s first director and executive secretary.  He’s the person in the middle of this 1953 photo, when WRS issued its first retirement check.

All of us at WRS understand the importance of your pension benefit and we take the stewardship of your retirement system very seriously.  WRS employees work hard on behalf of the membership and the retirement board is engaged with thoughtful and meaningful oversight.  Now in our 66th year, WRS continues to demonstrate the best qualities of stewardship as exemplified in our values: Integrity, Accountability, Commitment, and Excellence.

By Director David Swindell