Metro Denver EDC Annual Meeting celebrates economic milestones, honors outgoing CEO Tom Clark

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.


Aurora is one of six cities in the U.S. to receive “City Cultural Diversity Award”

The National League of Cities this month recognized Aurora as one of six cities in the U.S. to receive a City Cultural Diversity Award. The award honors municipal programs that encourage citizen involvement and cities that develop creative and effective programs to improve and promote cultural diversity through a collaborative process with city officials, community leaders and residents.

Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs was recognized with second place in the large-city category (200,001 to 500,000 residents). Aurora Council Member Brad Pierce received the award on the city’s behalf during the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.

“Aurora is a diverse and international city, with 1 in 5 of our residents having been born outside the United States,” said Ricardo Gambetta, manager of the Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. “We are honored to be recognized for the efforts we’ve already made and the plans we have for the future to recognize the strength of that diversity and create a welcoming and productive community for all our residents.”

The city of Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs was created to facilitate the successful integration of immigrants and refugees into Aurora’s civic, economic and cultural life. It oversees the coordination of the Aurora Immigrant and Refugee Commission, Aurora International Roundtable, Aurora Global Fest and the Aurora International Cabinet. In addition, the office leads international efforts focused in the establishment of strategic global partnerships, manage official protocol activities and events, and serve as a liaison to the international community.

“The strength of our nation lies in the diversity of our cities and towns,” said National League of Cities President Matt Zone. “Across the country, municipal officials are taking the lead on creating policies that are more accessible to and more inclusive of their diverse residents.”

The National League of Cities is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

Mesa County Workforce Center IS NOW A Certified Work Ready Community

The Mesa County Workforce Center is now officially a certified Work Ready Community.(WRC) As a WRC Mesa County is finding and filling skill gaps and quantifying the skill level of the valley’s workforce. The Mesa County Workforce Center has achieved this through the use of the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which offers to:

  • Help employers attract only qualified applicants for their open positions
  • Reduce the cost of onboarding new employees, while reducing turnover
  • Create career pathways to help inform students of growing industries
  • Identify Mesa County’s skilled labor force and market that to new potential employers
  • Help shrink Mesa County’s skills gaps
  • Allows Mesa County job seekers the ability to use the NCRC as a stackable credential in most industries

The Mesa County Workforce Center has been preparing the business community through job profiling, which links job tasks with the NCRC by pinpointing benchmarks for hiring, recruiting, advancement, and training. Once the business profile is completed, it is owned by the employer and is legally backed by ACT, a huge benefit for businesses when dealing with future hiring requirements.

According to Mesa County Workforce Director, Curtis Englehart, “We have administered 2295 NCRC’s and have seen that over 62% of our test takers are testing at the Silver level or higher; 17% of our test takers are testing at the Gold level or higher. This Initiative has finally given us an objective tool to map our skilled workforce. We also have 124 Mesa County businesses participating as a Work Ready Community partner. This has been a huge community effort that should pay economic dividends in making Mesa County more attractive to businesses thinking to relocate and for current businesses that are looking to be more efficient in their hiring process.”

Three Colorado Communities Chosen for 2017 Community Assessment Program

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced Friday three Colorado communities have been chosen for the 2017 Community Assessment program. Each community will receive assistance with creating a community vision and economic development plan.

The three communities chosen through a competitive process are the towns of Hayden and Bayfield and Custer County. The Community Assessment Program will provide each with a tailored assessment to meet the unique needs of the awarded communities.

The community assessment process will take place on-site over two and a half days. Community members are encouraged to attend and participate in the process. Assessments have been scheduled as follows:

Hayden 5/15-5/17
Bayfield 5/30-6/1
Custer County 5/10-5/12

The assessment will start with a community tour and a community dinner on the first night, followed by a day of stakeholder meetings, culminating in a presentation of the assessment teams’ observations and recommendations. Observation teams will consist of OEDIT and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) staff and experts.

Communities will be required to report back to OEDIT within one month of the assessment to indicate which recommendations they intend to follow through with. Yearly follow-ups for two years subsequently are also required of the communities.

“This program is designed to help rural communities gain insight into their unique challenges and strengths, and create actionable items to address them. Each assessment will be individually tailored to the specific needs of the community,” said health and wellness champion and senior regional manager for regional development Meridith Marshall.

Requirements of the program include a 2:1 match, which can be met through in-kind donations, and a demonstrated ability to implement the assessment recommendations.

The total funding for the program is $39,000 and will be divided among community assessment recipients. Questions about the program should be directed to Marshall at (303) 892-3850 or, or Danielle Lendriet at (303) 844-3711 or

Colorado Real Estate Journal’s Seventh Annual “Community by Community: Economic Development Updates from Across Colorado”

EDCC would like to invite our members to participate in Colorado Real Estate Journal’s seventh annual “Community by Community: Economic Development Updates from Across Colorado.”

The spotlight will be published in CREJ’s June 7 issue. This is a great way to reach developers, brokers, corporate real estate executives, retail site selectors, lenders, contractors, architects and other commercial real estate professionals within the office, health care, industrial, retail, multifamily, hotel and land development industries.

Participants may contribute a 1/2-page (850-word) community profile along with a ½-page ad (10-1/4″ wide x 7-1/4″ high), effectively giving you a full page for a total cost of $495 (color is available for an additional $200). You may also run a full page ad, with no article, for $495.

Your community profile can highlight the reasons your community is a top location for new businesses and real estate development, information about your workforce, special incentives/financial programs that may be available, projects planned and under construction, recent expansions and relocations, notable available property, etc.

Current participants include: Adams County, Arvada, Berthoud, Brighton Economic Development Corp., Centennial, Chaffee County Economic Development Corp., Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, Commerce City, Downtown Denver Partnership, Englewood, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Grand Junction, Thornton, Timnath and Wheat Ridge.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please call Lori Golightly at 303-623-1148 ext. 102 or email

The space reservation deadline is April 5, 2017.

The material deadline is April 26, 2017.

CO-LABS economic impact study reveals dynamic research nurturing Colorado’s innovation economy

CU Boulder Study: Federally-Funded Laboratories and Institutions Have a $2.6 Billion Annual Impact in Colorado

Federally funded research facilities in Colorado contributed an estimated $2.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2016 and supported more than 17,600 jobs, according to a new report from the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business.

The report—Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Federally Funded Research Facilities in Colorado, FY2013-FY2015—also shows how 33 federally funded laboratories help make Colorado a national center for research and innovation.

“Colorado’s federally funded research labs fuel our innovation economy,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Their impact is far reaching, attributing to Colorado’s high-quality talent pool and expanding into our startups and private industry. These labs help to ensure our state’s future progress.”

This is the fourth economic impact report produced by the Leeds School of Business for CO-LABS, Colorado Leveraging Assets for Better Science. Previous CO-LABS and Leeds economic impact studies were released in 2013, 2011 and 2008.

For the latest report, the Leeds Schools’ Brian Lewandowski surveyed Colorado’s 33 federally funded research laboratories, from the Crops Research Laboratory in Fort Collins to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. He collected detailed data on employees’ educational attainment, organizational budgets, spinoff companies, technology transfer and more.

The study also summarized the federal science funding landscape, drawing from national reports to highlight Colorado’s top-tier ranking among states in funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce (second), Department of Interior (second), NASA (third), Environmental Protection Agency (fifth) and National Science Foundation (sixth).

Among Lewandowski’s findings:

  • The estimated economic impact of federally funded laboratories in Colorado in fiscal year 2015 was $2.6 billion; it was $2.5 billion in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
  • Colorado’s federally funded labs directly employed nearly 7,800 people in FY 2015, and supported an additional 9,800 jobs through the multiplier effect (people employed by instrument makers, utility companies, etc.).
  • In the latest year available, 2014, Colorado’s scientists and research groups received funding support from many agencies, making the state one of the top in research funding from departments such as Commerce and Interior, and agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
  • Colorado’s federally funded scientists live in 30 of the state’s 64 counties, with the highest number in Boulder, Larimer and Jefferson counties.
  • Ten labs reported active commercialization programs, from tech transfer and licensed technology to spin-off companies and public-private partnerships with shared space or equipment.

“Colorado’s federal research facilities conduct wide-ranging basic and applied research that results in scientific and commercializable research advancements,” said Brian Lewandowski, associate director of CU Boulder’s Business Research Division. “Beyond the research, these facilities play an important economic function in the Colorado economy, including employing a body of highly educated researchers and through the purchasing of goods and services within the Colorado economy.”

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A critical finding in the report is that federal investments in this state support a strong scientific and technical workforce. Of those employed in federal laboratories, 55 percent have master’s or doctoral degrees, compared with 15 percent statewide; and Colorado ranks fourth among states for the percentage of the workforce engaged in science and engineering jobs.

That expertise has a strong effect on the state’s powerful innovation economy. Highly educated and trained workers leave federal employment to form spinoff companies and others develop technologies based on discoveries and inventions coming out of the research laboratories. Many of the state’s federally funded research laboratories work within powerful partnerships that include industry and academia.

“We found that the labs add value in dollars, jobs and beyond,” added Brian Payer, CO-LABS Board Chair and Program Manager of Strategic Operations for Sphera. “We learned about tremendous synergy between the laboratories, businesses and the community. The labs spur innovation through spin out companies, technology licensing, cooperative work agreements, and access for formal and informal conversations with world-class experts across an incredible breadth of disciplines. In addition, we learned that people want to live here, making it easier for the labs to recruit top-notch talent to the state.”

Work conducted in Colorado’s federally funded research laboratories is also critical to protecting lives and property. A NOAA research group in Boulder, for example, works on weather modeling innovations that improve forecasting, especially for high-impact storms. These innovations give emergency managers and others better information, earlier.
That team developed the HRRR, or High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model, now used in the 122 National Weather Service offices around the country.

“NOAA’s research efforts have been crucial to improving the forecasts of hazardous aviation weather, which impacts the safety and the efficiency of the National Airspace System,” said the Federal Aviation Administration’s Steve Abelman.

The FAA has long supported NOAA’s weather research efforts, and the outcomes have included validation of turbulence, in-flight icing and thunderstorm forecasts now used operationally in the national airspace, according to Abelman. “Long-term research has led to new and improved weather prediction models such as the High Resolution Rapid Refresh, which is integrated into FAA decision-making every day,” he said.

The collective impact of the labs’ research also ripples out to every state in the country,” said Dan Powers, executive director of CO-LABS. “Ranging from partnership agreements to licensing of technology to outright free access to the research from these taxpayer-funded labs, thousands of companies throughout the United States representing hundreds of thousands of jobs utilize this science in ways that make us healthier, safer, more sustainable and global leaders in innovation.”

About the CU-Boulder Leeds School of Business:
Located in one of the nation’s emerging business hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder is redefining ways to deliver research, teaching and service; resulting in principled leaders who drive innovation and effective change. A diverse community of thought leaders—including motivated students, top-tier faculty, talented staff, engaged alumni and corporate partners—forge a collaborative and collegial environment fostered by integrity and pride. The Leeds School of Business stimulates authentic business solutions to yield economic growth regionally, nationally and internationally. Learn more about our globally-recognized programs at

About CO-LABS:
CO-LABS is a non-profit consortium of federal laboratories, research institutions, businesses and economic development organizations that provide financial and in-kind support for programs that promote the retention and expansion of Colorado scientific resources. To learn more, visit

Colorado Creative Industries Joins Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

New Investments in Healing Arts Programs for the Military – Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

The role of the arts in helping heal the signature wounds of our recent wars is significant and expanding. Through its national initiative Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is adding new clinical sites to the network, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. and expanding the initiative’s programming in partnership with the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

Creative Forces places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 clinical sites, now including Fort Carson, for service members and veterans dealing with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as their families and caregivers. With state and local leaders, the initiative also increases access to therapeutic arts activities in the local communities around each base for this military population. Join the conversation on Twitter at #CreativeForces.

“It is a great honor for the National Endowment for the Arts to provide art-based services through our Creative Forces initiative and to welcome Fort Carson in Colorado to the network,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Our partnership with Colorado Creative Industries will help the initiative reach more military personnel, veterans and their families who will find new avenues for healing and growth through the arts.”

To build the community component around Fort Carson, CCI and its partners will:

  • Establish local military and community networks that can help service members and veterans transition from clinic-based creative arts therapies to arts activities in their communities.
  • Convene local summits where arts, community and military populations collaborate on strategies to support military and veteran families. The summits also will offer training.
  • Pursue an innovation project that may be adapted to other locations. Project ideas under development include:
    • Providing tele-support services for remote locations
    • Aligning resources and strategies within a region or across federal and state agencies
    • Undertaking program assessment

“We are pleased to partner with the NEA to provide vital art-based therapies to Colorado individuals who have served our nation and their families,” said CCI executive director Margaret Hunt. “We look forward to working with the Fort Carson community and co-hosting the upcoming summit later this year.”

Since 2011, the NEA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to support creative arts therapies as a key element of integrated care for service members suffering from TBI, PTSD and associated psychological health conditions.

In fiscal year 2016, Congress appropriated a $1.928 million budget increase for the NEA, specifically to expand this military healing arts program. Joining the network with these new sites as a partner is the Department of Veteran Affairs. Americans for the Arts is working with the NEA to provide administrative support and the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland is participating in research and resource delivery.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

Craig & Moffat Counties’ Request for Proposal

Craig & Moffat Counties is requesting a project RFP. Deadline to submit RFP is April 3, 2017 by 9 a.m.

Moffat County’s economy has depended on coal and natural gas extraction and related power generation for the past 40 years and has been subject to the boom and bust cycle that accompanies a highly regulated, market-dependent commodity. We have invested heavily in economic development over the past decade with little success. Our efforts have been broad, anecdotal and lacked investment for implementation. We are in the perfect storm for progress as there is momentum amongst community leaders backed by a voter-approved tax earmarked for economic development.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce, the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Craig office of the Colorado Workforce Center are partners forming Moffat County’s “Smart Business Alliance.” In the process of developing a data-based business education series, the Alliance, recognized our need for comprehensive data analyzed specifically for business opportunities. The concept of a Business Opportunity Toolkit was formed and local support has been impressive. The Craig Chamber of Commerce is the project’s fiscal sponsor.

Create a “Business Opportunity Toolkit” that will provide the information needed to make data-based decisions in our business recruitment and development efforts. The information garnered from the development of this toolkit will define our target markets and our opportunities for primary job growth. The goal is to use this data to recruit industry that provides primary jobs, help existing businesses make better expansion decisions and to provide a roadmap for diversifying our economy from its dependence on coal and natural gas extraction and power generation.
Moffat County has a recently completed Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The Business Opportunity Toolkit is expected to be completed independently of the recommendations in that plan.

A publication and/or collection of collaterals – a toolkit – that can be used to recruit new businesses, focus internal economic development investment and assist existing businesses in choosing their best opportunities for growth. The toolkit will assess existing supply chain gaps and opportunities in emerging markets.
Toolkit will include: ● Market Analysis ● Supply Chain & Gap Analysis ● Tactical analysis ● Local programs & recruitment tools

Project Tasks:

  • Perform Supply Chain Analysis for Traded Sector Businesses, Visitor Potential Businesses and Population Driven Businesses. Address not only existing industry, but potential and emerging industries. Validate national supply chain templates with local interviews, surveys or focus groups.
  • Provide recommendations as to available opportunities and the best strategies for developing our local supplier network.
  • Review existing studies that relate to economic and community development.
  • Review the market analysis that we will be completing internally and in tandem with the Supply Chain and Gap analysis and make recommendations on for inclusions or changes in our analysis of the data. Share any data that could enhance the final market analysis.
  • Analyze the county’s economy in relationship to the regional economy and the projected regional and national challenges in the next five years.
  • Recommend strategy action steps in the form of a Tactical Analysis/Implementation Plan. Given the data, what is Moffat County’s best investment to add primary jobs and increase tax revenue? Identify proposed development opportunities.
  • Propose an ongoing process for implementing and monitoring the action plan, including guidance on how best to get this information in front of potential investors and targeted industries.
  • Prepare a final report that details the source of information and process, individual industry/area analysis and recommendations for each area.

The final report should include:

  1. Supply Chain Analysis for results and recommendations for each area
  2. Baseline analysis of the economy, including the County’s strengths and weaknesses
  3. Specific business recruitment goals and objectives for the next five years
  4. Specific programs, including potential projects, and estimated expenditures planned for the next five years
  5. Explanation of how the goals, objectives, projects, and expenditures will implement the economic development action steps
  6. A recommendation for measuring progress
    — Formal, public product releases for key stakeholders and the community. This would entail 2 separate trips to Craig and an option for another should the release timing lend itself to any local events.
    — Collaborate with Chamber on collaterals, opportunities and design.

This project should be completed within six months of award of bid. April 3, 2017 by 9 a.m.

Submissions preferred via email to, or though ftp or other internet/cloud-based file sharing service. Or, submit one (1) unbound original and five (5) bound, sealed copies of the proposal no later than 9 a.m. MST Monday, April 3, 2017, to:
Christina Oxley, Executive Director
Craig Chamber of Commerce & Moffat County Visitor Center
360 E. Victory Way, Craig, CO 81625

Questions may be submitted to Christina Oxley at (970) 824-5689 or at

Late proposals will not be accepted.