CSU has launched an online Graduate Certificate in Adventure Tourism

With 7.6 million direct jobs and $887 billion(USD) in consumer spending the outdoor recreation industry is now an economic and political powerhouse, almost double the pharmaceuticals and the automotive industries. With each sector of the industry reporting growth for consecutive years there has never been a better time to make adventure not just a way of life, but a way of living.

With sustained growth and expanding sophistication in the industry, professionals and practitioners are seeking to grow their acumen, expertise, and professional distinction. The need for motivated, hard-working, and informed individuals is rapidly increasing within the global adventure tourism industry, the fastest growing category of tourism in the world (UNWTO AM Report).

The Graduate Certificate in Adventure Tourism provides students with the theoretical, managerial, and entrepreneurial, knowledge and skills required for successfully developing and managing land, water, and air-based adventure tourism ventures. It is uniquely positioned within one of the most comprehensive natural resource colleges in the world and delivered by The Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (HDNR), which has 90+ years of educating and collaborating with diverse publics and practitioners in natural resource tourism. HDNR has the most extensive natural resource tourism program in Colorado, with a UNWTO affiliate program – Master of Tourism Management, an Online Graduate Certificate in Ski Area Management, and an undergraduate degree with concentrations in global and natural resource tourism.

– Do well, by doing good.

Community celebrates as Mayfly Outdoors breaks ground on historic project

“This is an incredible day for our community,” Mayfly Outdoors  resident David Dragoo told the crowd. A little over a year after announcing plans to drastically revamp the Uncompahgre River
Corridor in north Montrose, Mayfly Outdoors broke ground on what will become its new, state-of-the-art headquarters. It will be the first step in the Colorado Outdoors Project, which Dragoo  previously said will be a “world-renowned business park” aiming to attract outdoor-focused industries to relocate to Montrose and include river restoration and high-end commercial, residential and industrial development.

The project is expected to meet its full potential in 10-15 years, according to Montrose Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Sandy Head.  She announced details of an Anderson Analytics report that indicates how the over 160 acres will be put to use. According to Head, 300,000 square feet will be industrial shovel-ready ground for manufacturers interested in relocating to town. The space will also feature 200,000 square feet of retail space (expected to bring an estimated 450 jobs), 60,000 square feet of office space (expected to have an economic impact of 178 jobs) and an estimated 443 housing units to address much-needed living spaces in the area. A 100-room Marriott Town Place will also be featured, as previously reported.

Construction will result in 3,000 construction jobs with over $200 million invested in Montrose in the  construction itself over a 10-15-year period, Head said.

READ MORE in Montrose Daily Press

Amazon Not the Only Topic at Annual Colorado Economic Developers Conference

Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) Hosts
Gubernatorial Forum for 2018 Candidates

Vail, Colorado – October 2-4 – More than 200 economic development professionals and partners gathered at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort for EDCC’s annual Drive | Lead | Succeed Conference. While Amazon HQ2 was top of mind for some, the conference agenda showed the breadth and depth of issues that economic development professionals address each day in their communities.

Inspired by the theme “Up Your Game,” this three-day conference, presented by Xcel Energy, focused on a wide scope of subjects that economic developers are addressing in their cities, towns and counties. In addition to a public forum featuring several of the candidates vying for the governor position in 2018, attendees dug deep into:

  • Foreign direct investment
  • Affordable housing
  • Financing tools and funding mechanisms
  • Trends in talent development
  • Public private partnerships.

The conference kicked off Monday, October 2nd, with a Gubernatorial Forum with 12 of the 15 announced 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial candidates. This event was hosted by EDCC’s Public Policy Committee, a committee which advocates for creating a positive economic development environment through legislative action within the State.

During the two-hour forum candidates discussed their perspectives on topics important to economic development, including transportation, broadband, water, workforce, and economic development policy.

This forum was one of the first times the candidates were in the same room discussing their vision and proposed policies for the state. The panel of candidates were arranged by name, rather than party affiliation, creating an opportunity for the candidates to share their platform and projects they are passionate about. The candidates featured at the forum were:

  • Steve Barlock
  • George Brauchler
  • Commissioner Lew Gaiter
  • Noel Ginsberg
  • Bill Hammons
  • Mike Johnston
  • Cary Kennedy
  • Greg Lopez
  • Victor Mitchell
  • Doug Robinson
  • Erik Underwood

U.S. Representative Jared Polis (2nd District of Colorado) was unable to attend in person, but sent a video addressing his bid for the governorship. Candidates Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne and Walker Stapleton were invited, but unable to attend.

“We were thrilled with the turnout of the conference, and the Gubernatorial Forum in particular,” said John Hall, Chair of the EDCC. “But we weren’t surprised. These candidates are eager to reveal their plans and platform as the next leaders of our state, and what better audience than economic development professionals who are truly focused on the future of Colorado’s growth and success.”

See conference agenda, speaker bios and presentations, and photos from the event

Startek Adds 200 New Positions in Colorado’s Grand Valley

Startek, an outsourcing service for businesses, is expanding its call center location in Colorado’s Grand Valley with up to 200 new positions. The new positions relate to health insurance and medical related customer service, and represent a new line of business for Startek.

Startek, located in Grand Junction since 1999, already has several existing contracts with companies outside the area to manage their telecom and sales and marketing needs. The companies span a number of industries from education to technology to financial services.

“We are excited by this new line of business and our ability to strengthen the local economy with more jobs that provide competitive wages and a generous benefit package,” noted Chris Higgins, Engagement Center Director, Operations at Startek.

Grand Valley economic development partners assembled an incentive package totaling approximately $240,000 to make the Grand Junction site competitive for Startek’s expansion. Most of the funding is through the Mesa County Workforce Center to help cover the costs of training the new employees. The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) is also providing a cash grant of $30,000 and GJEP staff will be assisting the company in applying for state training funds later this year. Additional support comes from the City Planning Department and Mesa County Enterprise Zone.

“This is a great example of how the economic development partners [in Colorado’s Grand Valley] come together to meet the needs of growing companies,” noted Diane Schwenke, President/CEO of the Chamber.

Startek currently employs 570 people in Grand Junction. The company has locations in seven states in the U.S. and four foreign countries. Visit www.startek.com for more information.

Economic Development Council of Colorado Announces 2017 EDIE Award Recipients

The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2017 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive/Lead/Succeed Conference at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. “It’s the hard work and contributions of communities, institutions and individuals like these who make Colorado economically successful,” said John Hall, EDCC Board Chair.

Large Community of the Year – Thornton, Colorado

The award for ‘Large Community of the Year’ was presented to the City of Thornton for a variety of projects, including:

  • Thornton Water Project, a $400+ million pipeline project to provide water for Thornton until buildout
  • Simon Premium Outlets, the state’s only premium outlets development at 365,000 sq. ft.
  • Amazon Robotics Sort Facility, Colorado’s largest industrial facility at 2.4 million sq. ft.

“We made a conscious decision to make economic development a priority in Thornton,” said John Cody, Economic Development Director of the City of Thornton. “After the recession, we knew we had to take a serious approach and started looking around the state at what works, and what doesn’t work. That was the beginning of our efforts to employ economic development as our growth strategy.”

Small Community of the Year – Estes Park, Colorado

The award for ‘Small Community of the Year’ was presented to Estes Park, Colorado – a town that sets its sights on building a more resilient, inclusive and vibrant community and economy after recovering from the devastating flood in 2013. As part of this approach, the town has completed a Broadband Business Plan and Feasibility Study that is making high speed internet a reality in the community.

“It’s the people of our community and their ‘mountain strong spirt’ that helped us all pull ourselves up by the bootstraps  and not let anything get us down,” said Jon Nicholas, President/CEO of the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation. “Tremendous collaboration is what moved us forward.”

Company of the Year – Bonsai Design, Grand Junction, Colorado

The award for ‘Company of the Year’ was presented to Bonsai Design of Grand Junction, Colorado. For more than a decade, Bonsai Design has been delivering adrenaline-inducing fun for families and corporations through their high-flying adventure courses in 14 states and Canada. The outdoor recreation business is growing rapidly and expects to be at 50 employees within a year.

The company’s owners, who started the business in 2004 on a shoestring budget operating out of their garage, both invest and serve on their local EDC Board. “Grand Junction Economic Partnership has taken such an interest in getting to know us, getting to know our business,” said Sarah Shrader, co-owner of Bonsai Design. “They’ve been our partner along the way, whether it’s connecting us to resources or offering programs that benefit our business, they’ve helped guide us to success.”

Volunteer of the Year – Gus Westerman, Dolores County CSU Extension Director

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Gus Westerman of Dolores County CSU Extension for his volunteer economic development work for the county. Westerman serves as the Chair of an all-volunteer group, in addition to holding down a full-time job. Through his initiative, the economic development group has played a key role in revitalizing the Chamber of Commerce, oversees a microloan program for local businesses, and manages a business park.

Additionally, Gus’s efforts have led to a new Road and Bridge shop for Dolores County, as well as a shooting range. “I’m going to continue my work with Dolores by bringing broadband to the community,” said Westerman. “It’s our next best step for putting our community and the area on the map.”

Partnership Award – Pueblo Community College and Vestas

The Partnership Award was presented to Pueblo Community College and Vestas (a global energy company dedicated to wind energy) for their joint venture on an employee training program. Since 2009, Pueblo Community College has been offering a math refresher course, called “Shop Floor Math” after discovering that many Vestas employees hadn’t performed mathematical calculations since high school. The course provides employees with an opportunity to review concepts, practice computations, and learn about real-life math applications.

Economic Development Achievement Award – Kevin Tilson

The Economic Development Achievement Award was presented to Kevin Tilson, Castle Rock Downtown Alliance Director. Tilson successfully integrated two separate downtown organizations into a highly effective and respected Downtown Alliance, and is currently working on a pipeline of over $50 million in new potential investment to Downtown Castle Rock. Additionally, Tilson has led the attraction of over $125 million in capital investment, and over 150 new primary jobs.

Rookie of the Year – Karah Reygers, Castle Rock Economic Development Corporation

The Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Karah Reygers of the Castle Rock EDC. Though only on the job for 2 and a half years, Reygers directs and leads many of the organization’s programs, including the business retention program and digital marketing and publicity program. Reygers also volunteers her time to assist rural communities in Colorado with Economic Development challenges.

Chairman’s Choice Award – Tom Clark, Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. (retired)

The Chairman’s Choice Award was presented to Tom Clark, formerly with Metro Denver EDC.  Tom has spent his entire professional career dedicated to economic development. His work embodies a collaborative spirit, he is a cultivator of relationships, and is someone who knows that inclusive regionalism is the only way to do economic development.

Tom has worked on countless business attraction and retention deals, several major projects with statewide impact including the creation of Denver International Airport, Colorado’s bid to get Major League Baseball, and the successful approval of Denver’s regional transit system – Fastracks.


CU Boulder’s Business Research Division: Leeds Business Confidence Index Report

Leeds Business Confidence Index Report, which is prepared by CU Boulder’s Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, captures Colorado business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans and capital expenditures. A total of 284 qualified panelists responded to the survey.

The Leeds Business Confidence Index (LBCI) fell ahead of the fourth quarter of 2017, reflecting lower expectations for both the end of the year and the first quarter of 2018 despite all individual components of the index remaining in positive territory. The overall index came in at 56.5 for Q4 2017 and 55.3 for Q1 2018 (Note: an index value of 50 equals neutral).

For the second consecutive quarter, the LBCI’s overall outlook remained positive even as expectations cooled for individual indicators. The index fell 3.2 points from last quarter, but still remained higher than last year’s figure, gaining 3.5 points from Q4 2016. Panelists’ expectations were weakest for the national economy, but were buoyed by stronger expectations for the state, industry sales and industry profits.

“We are seeing a larger decline in optimism about the national economy than we are about the state economy,” said Richard Wobbekind, Executive Director of the Business Research Division.  “The state economy is still considered healthy and a larger percentage of respondents believes it is expanding rather than contracting.”

The LBCI reflected modest declines in expectations across a number of economic indicators. Sales and profit expectations ranked among the highest of the six survey components, but both still slipped ahead of Q4 2017. Capital expenditures and hiring also fell as growth expectations slowed.

Colorado’s job market remained a bright spot as the state continued to exhibit strong employment growth. Jobs increased 1.8 percent year-over-year in August 2017, the 14th-fastest rate in the country. Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate continues to outperform the nation as a whole, coming in at just 2.5 percent.

Colorado’s low unemployment rate, however, could make it difficult for employers to fill vacant or new positions, leading more than one-quarter of survey respondents to name it their top economic concern. Housing was the second most frequently mentioned issue, specifically high real estate prices and a lack of affordable housing that could discourage potential employees from relocating to Colorado.

For more information and to read the full report, visit the Business Research Division.

Richard Wobbekind, Leeds School, 303-492-1147
Brian Lewandowski, Leeds School, 303-492-3307
Trent Knoss, CU Boulder media relations, 303-735-0528

Follow us @CUBoulderNews