Grand Junction-based Tech Executive Receives Entrepreneur of the Year Award

ProStar Geocorp’s Page Tucker wins Colorado Technology Association’s prestigious APEX Award; shines light on Grand Valley tech scene and Jump-Start Mesa County.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) congratulates Page Tucker, Founder and CEO of ProStar Geocorp™, for earning the 2016 APEX Technology Entrepreneur Excellence Award. The APEX awards, which celebrate Colorado’s technology leaders and innovators, were presented by the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) at a red carpet event at the Seawell Grand Ballroom in Denver last week.

“Although entrepreneur of the year is considered to be an individual’s accomplishment, this award would not be possible without the truly talented and hardworking team that is behind me, as well as the support of the entire business community in Grand Junction and throughout the state,” said Tucker upon accepting the award, also citing Colorado Mesa University, the Greater Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership as key contributors to his success.

page-tucker-apex-winnerTucker further commended Andrea Young, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association, and her entire organization; Suma Nallapati, Secretary of Technology at Governor’s Office of Information Technology; and Anna Ewing, COO of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, for their support of companies like ProStar, and encouragement of innovation and growth in communities like Grand Junction and throughout the western slope.  (The CTA brought the Colorado Tech Tour to Grand Junction earlier this year and the visit was co-hosted by ProStar Geocorp; read about it here).

Tucker’s startup, ProStar Geocorp, provides geospatial intelligence software that is designed to streamline and improve enterprise operations through innovative and award-winning cloud and mobile applications. The company is headquartered in Grand Junction, with additional offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Earlier this year, ProStar was one of the first businesses to be accepted into Colorado’s new tax relief program, known as Jump-Start, which allows businesses to operate free of state and local taxes for up to eight years. Simultaneously, the company received a grant from Colorado’s Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant Program.

More recently, ProStar signed an agreement with Microsoft to begin incorporating Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and HoloLens augmented reality headsets with ProStar’s solutions. The CTA calls ProStar “one of the most promising endeavors in the state,” and said the company puts Grand Junction “on the map.”

Tucker added that this type of acknowledgement from the CTA is encouraging organizations across the state to take interest in his company and begins to connect front range cities like Denver and Boulder with Colorado’s smaller, rural communities including Grand Junction, Durango and Telluride.

“We are excited for what this award means for Page, ProStar Geocorp and for our community,” said Kristi Pollard, GJEP executive director. “Page shares a common goal with GJEP to turn Colorado’s Grand Valley into a recognized tech hub. This award demonstrates that the rest of the state is beginning to notice the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit brewing on the western slope, and brings us one step closer to realizing our goal.”

More About ProStar Geocorp™
ProStar Geocorp is focused on providing Geospatial Intelligence Software as a Service (GaaS®) to the pipeline and utility industry. ProStar’s Solutions operate as a Hybrid Cloud combining on premise systems with the World’s most advanced public cloud & mobile platforms. ProStar’s solution leverages patented integration tools,web-enabled services and open technologies to provide unprecedented geospatial intelligence and the ability to address fragmented and disparate systems that currently plague enterprises. www.prostarcorp.com

About Mesa County, Colorado
Mesa County (pop. 148,255) sits at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies, bordering Utah. The county’s main seat is the City of Grand Junction, which is 250 miles from both Denver, Colo., and Salt Lake City, Utah – and the largest city between the two. The county also encompasses the more rural City of Fruita and small towns of Palisade, Collbran, DeBeque, Gateway, Mack and Mesa.

About Jump-Start Mesa County
As Colorado’s first Jump-Start zone, Mesa County has led the path for startups like Prostar Geocorp to build and grow their businesses. Through Jump-Start, companies located in Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade or DeBeque may be eligible to receive up to eight years of zero state income and sales & use taxes; zero county and municipal property taxes and sales & use taxes; and zero state income taxes for their employees. In exchange, the businesses agree to add a minimum of five net new jobs to the county and partner with Colorado Mesa University through mentorship, internship opportunities and community involvement.

To date, seven companies are participating in the statewide program (all based in Mesa County, Colorado) and are projected to bring in over 500 jobs to the county by 2020.  www.jumpstartmesaco.com

About the Grand Junction Economic Partnership
The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) is a private non-profit incorporated organization and the official economic development agency for Colorado’s Grand Valley. GJEP works to recruit and retain businesses in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the town of Palisade and all of the communities throughout Mesa County. GJEP also partners with local business through the Jump-Start application process. Visit www.gjep.org for more information.

Metro Denver EDC Release the 2016 ‘Toward a More Competitive Colorado’ Report

Metro Denver EDC accents strengths and challenges to state in ‘Toward a More Competitive Colorado’ report

On Nov. 3, 2016, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) released the 12th edition of Toward a More Competitive Colorado (TMCC), an annual benchmark report of 111 measures analyzing Colorado’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities for future job growth and economic expansion.

First published in 2005, the report evaluates Colorado’s competitive position against the other 49 states. The study is researched by the Metro Denver EDC’s Chief Economist, Patty Silverstein and Senior Economist David Hansen of Development Research Partners, and is presented in cooperation with Wells Fargo.

New data shows that Colorado dominates nationally in attracting both workers and jobs, ranking No. 2 in 2015 for adding population and No. 5 during the same period for employment growth. Notably, Colorado has again retained its No. 2 ranking (behind Massachusetts) as the nation’s second-most-highly educated state.

“Having the best and brightest workers is a key differentiator for Colorado when it comes to growing our industry base and appealing to expanding companies and site selection consultants,” explained Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver EDC. “The quest for talent, whether it be attracting or growing a skilled workforce, is one of the top drivers of today’s site selection decisions and what makes a state the most competitive in today’s economic development arena.”

Another area where Colorado stands out nationally is in innovation, ranking in the top 10 for 13 of the 19 innovation measures included in the study. The state garnered a No. 2 ranking (behind Massachusetts) in the Milken Institute’s State Science and Technology Index, which lauded Colorado for its human capital investments and commitment to clean technology.

Colorado’s performance in other key innovation measures:

  • High-Tech Employment (third)
  • Small Business Innovation Research grants (third)
  • NASA Prime Contract Awards (third)
  • Initial Public Offerings (fourth)
  • State Innovation Index (fifth)
  • Proprietors as a Percentage of Total Employment (fifth)
  • Venture Capital Investments Per $1,000 of State GDP (sixth)
  • Clean Tech Leadership Index (sixth)
  • Number of New Businesses per 1,000 Employees (seventh)
  • Startup Density (eighth)
  • Average High Tech Worker Wage (eighth)
  • Patents Granted per One Million Residents (ninth)

Alternatively, a key threat to the state’s competitiveness, according to Silverstein, are challenges facing the higher education system related to funding and graduating students in key skill sets that are vital to Colorado’s economic future. Noteworthy challenges include:

  • 48th in state and local public higher education support per student and 47th in support per capita
  • 36th in percentage of students attending in-state universities
  • 29th in the percentage of the adult population with associate degrees
  • 36th in graduating students in engineering tech degrees
  • 43rd in nursing graduates
  • 50th in graduating teachers

“Despite our efforts throughout TMCC’s history to inform policy makers and propel our higher education challenges to be top of mind, we are concerned that we haven’t made any progress,” said Silverstein.

TMCC also focuses on rising housing costs as a disadvantage to Colorado’s competitiveness as a leading state in which to live and work. Analysis found that Metro Denver had the highest increase in median home price among the largest metro areas in each state from 2014-2015, making it the nation’s sixth-most-expensive housing market.

“Housing is increasingly becoming unaffordable in Colorado; we view this as both a short- and long-term challenge to our economic competitiveness,” said Silverstein.

The Metro Denver EDC has tackled home affordability head on in the past two years, by working with statewide stakeholders for positive changes in current laws and local government practices to provide diverse and attainable housing options.

“Now more than ever, it’s become crucial that our state’s legislators and political leaders work together to remedy construction defects laws and make housing more affordable for Colorado’s workforce,” said Clark. “It is paramount that we tackle this issue now or risk becoming a transitory market.”

The 12th edition of TMCC also analyzes Colorado’s place as a global competitor, with international rankings for available data points.

Learn More:
» Toward a More Competitive Colorado, 12th Edition – executive summary | full report