The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) celebrated notable economic development breakthroughs contributing to today’s thriving and diversified economy at its 13th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
More than 600 business leaders also paid tribute to the organization’s outgoing CEO Tom Clark for his 30+ year commitment to regional cooperation—all economic development groups working together to market the region first and individual communities second—which has made Metro Denver an envied, national model.
Clark was also lauded for his long-term leadership of industry cluster expansion, advocacy for infrastructure development, creation of nonstop international flights, supporting special projects such as Coors Field, and advocating for the business community at the state legislature.
“Tom has been a mentor to many, someone who finds that incredible balance of leadership, commitment, and excellence, all with a real passion for this great state,” said Norm Franke, regional president of Alpine Bank and co-chair of the Metro Denver EDC’s Executive Committee.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne were both on hand to present Clark an official proclamation naming March 23, “Tom Clark Day in Colorado.”
Gov. Hickenlooper mentioned that that it can be dangerous to single out people when so many come together to better our state and region. “Tom is that unique person who actually does need to be singled out. His contributions are many and his vision is worthy of high recognition,” said Gov. Hickenlooper.
Clark took the stage to relive a rewarding career that saw Metro Denver grow from a district town to a globally competitive region.
“I did not give my life to the Chamber and Metro Denver. Metro Denver and the Chamber gave me a life,” opined Clark. “As long as people keep loving this place and investing in it, we’ll continue to do extraordinary things.”
Jerome Davis, regional vice president – Colorado, for Xcel Energy, another co-chair of the Executive Committee, highlighted the organization’s 2016 accomplishments amid historically strong economic performance and infrastructure expansion.
“It is truly a pivotal time for Metro Denver, our economy, real estate community, and industries have all reached new, unseen milestones,” explained Davis. “But challenges do exist as our region is becoming an increasingly more expensive place to live. The Metro Denver EDC, with the help of its investors and economic development partners, will continue, as it always has, to collaborate and find solutions.”
The Metro Denver EDC’s regional initiatives to expand the area economy are funded by its investors and supported by its economic development partners.
Leadership from the organization’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors presented several awards at the luncheon to highlight extraordinary efforts in regional cooperation and recognize investment in the region’s economy:
The Special Recognition Award noted the efforts of Michelle Claymore, economic development director for Commerce City, to increase professional development opportunities in the industry. Claymore founded and directs the Colorado Basic Economic Development Course, which celebrates its 10th year in 2017, bringing economic development practitioners from across the United States for training and career enhancement.
The Chairs’ Award honored Major General Andy Love (Ret)., son of former Colorado Governor John Love, for initiating the idea of opening election primaries to unaffiliated voters. The resulting ballot initiative, Proposition 108, passed easily in the 2016 election.
Metro Denver EDC board leadership presented three Deal of the Year Awards for significant economic impact in the region through new job creation and capital investment. Winners included:
Agilent Technologies, a global leader in the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets, announced a major expansion in Weld County in 2016. The company purchased 20 acres in Frederick where it is constructing a 130,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. Agilent will invest $120 million at the site, with plans to add 200 highly trained workers.
AstraZeneca provided much-needed bioscience jobs in the region when it purchased the former Amgen manufacturing facilities in Boulder and Longmont. The company is retrofitting the Boulder site to manufacture a new cancer drug by late 2017, with plans to add as many as 250 workers. AstraZeneca also secured the 692,000-square-foot Amgen plant in Longmont for future growth opportunities.
BP Lower 48 announced its decision to move its corporate headquarters from Houston to Denver in late 2016. The site will host as many as 200 employees at 86,000 square feet of space under construction in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. Company officials called Denver an “important energy hub of the future,” citing access to its asset base and available talent from area research universities as key factors in its relocation decision.