“Back to Basics – the Calm within the Chaos” – Amy Holloway, Avalanche Consulting

Vail, Colorado – October 17-19 – The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) hosted its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference in Vail, last week. Representatives from economic development organizations from across the state, elected officials, and local business leaders, gathered at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, for a three-day conference aimed at providing the knowledge, tools, and connections necessary to foster a growing Colorado economy.

Inspired by the theme “back to basics,” this three-day conference, presented by Xcel Energy, focused on leveraging Colorado’s community’s assets to position them for successful, sustainable, and responsible economic development. Presentations were made on the economic impact of two rapidly-changing industries – unmanned air systems and energy. Attendees also heard presentations on talent development, attraction, and retention; as well as water – a valuable and declining resource and how economic developers can lead our communities in responsible development around this precious resource.

Unmanned Air Systems (UAS): With the emerging economic potential of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), leaders in the industry discussed how large and small communities can benefit from this growing industry. According to Consumer Technology Association, “U.S. drone sales are expected to top 2.4 million aircraft this year [2016].” In an economic impact study done by AUVSI in March 2013, in the first three years of UAS integration in the U.S., the industry is expected to create 70,000 jobs and have a $13.6 billion economic impact. By 2025 its expected job growth will increase to 100,000 with an $82 billion economic impact. Colorado is poised to be a leader in this industry with its high concentration of aerospace companies delivering space-related products and services. The UAS industry impacts many industries here in Colorado including agriculture, forestry, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, real estate and more. As economic developers we need to ensure the success of this industry by nurturing its growth through policy development, access to capital, and meeting its workforce demands.

Energy: The energy market is evolving. Key drivers of energy demand are changing, creating a very different energy future than what we’re familiar with today. These changes present significant challenges to our energy suppliers and producers. Representatives from Xcel Energy and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, discussed the importance of economic development officials and local leader’s involvement, in helping communities and businesses make the transition into new forms of energy output. Xcel Energy is looking into “Our Energy Future,” and how energy consumers can choose their energy sources and how they will use it. “While the electric grid has been a trusted backbone to our community and has reliably powered our homes and businesses. It has also evolved into a platform to provide growth for emerging technologies, products, and services which have contributed to new industry development, job growth, and innovation,” said Rob Osborn, director of strategic revenue initiatives. With state and federal regulations and cheap natural gas helping drive utilities to reduce their reliance on coal power, Tri-State is working closely with Craig and Montrose Counties to find good ways to use the properties that are being affected. “We really rely on local elected officials and economic development officials to tell us what they need and how we can contribute,” said Drew Kramer, senior external affairs adviser with Tri-State.

Talent Development, Attraction, & Retention: Colorado’s businesses are facing a growing and costly problem in finding, training, and retaining critical skilled talent. “By 2020 the projected hiring and training costs for skilled roles will increase by 21 percent, says Noel Ginsburg, CEO of CareerWise Colorado. “The inability to fill critical roles costs Colorado ~$300 million in annual GDP.” CareerWise Colorado is a state led initiative building sustainable, customized talent pipelines for businesses, through multi-year youth apprenticeships that prepare students for high demand occupations. Stephanie Veck, director for Colorado Workforce Development Council said last Tuesday, “Businesses, economic development organizations, secondary and higher education, and workforce development have to work together to build a robust talent pipeline for Colorado’s future success.”

Infrastructure – Water: Lastly, James Eklund, director for the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Elizabeth Garner, the state’s demographer, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), led a panel discussion with water stakeholders from around the state, on the growing concern of our increasing population and the depletion of Colorado’s finite water resource. Colorado has finalized a state water plan designed to meet the growing population. Increased conservation and additional water storage are some of the measures the plan addresses. “With the growing municipal and industrial (M&I) needs of water, 700,000 acres of irrigated land could dry up by 2050, 35 percent of that would be in the South Platte Basin alone.” Robert Sakata from Sakata farms explained. “Water is also considered a cost-of-living and amenity that can influence the future of migration to the State,” Garner pointed out, “how much are people going to want to pay for water?” Availability of water remains an initial question that businesses ask as they look to expand or relocate. Steve Sims, a water attorney from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck concluded, “Having a predictable water supply and water supply entitlement process is a big plus for recruiting new development.”

Event supporters included:

Title: Xcel Energy
Platinum: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Gold: Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Metro Denver EDC
Silver: Town of Parker, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Upstate Colorado Economic Development, City of Westminster, Colorado Workforce Development Council, Colorado Companies to Watch
Eco Devo Partner: Adams County EDA, Arvada EDA, Brighton EDC, Castle Rock EDC, City of Centennial, City of Thornton, Colorado Housing and Finance Association, Colorado Lending Source, Comcast, Denver South EDP, Denver Office of Economic Development, Town of Gypsum, Lakewood Economic Development, Town of Vail
Eco Devo Supporter: Beck, CSU Office of Engagement, Development Research Partners, City of Ft. Collins, NMPP Energy, Northern Colorado Economic Development Alliance
Media Sponsor: Colorado Real Estate Journal


2016 EDIE Award Recipients Announced

Economic Development Council of Colorado Announces 2016 EDIE Award Recipients

Vail, Colorado – October 18, 2016 – The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2016 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. “We believe that it is important to give recognition to members, volunteers of local organizations, large and small communities, companies, and legislators in Colorado who show outstanding achievements in this field,” said Kelly Flenniken, EDCC Board Chair.

Large Community of the Year:
This year, the first-ever shared ‘Large Community of the Year’ award was presented to both Adams County Economic Development (ACED) and the Denver Office of Economic Development (Denver OED). The organizations were recognized for their unprecedented partnership in the 1A for DIA campaign and assisting in redeveloping the former ASARCO Globe Smelter property, which is located in both jurisdictions.

The 1A for DIA campaign was the product of the unanimous DIA/ACC agreement between Adams County, members of the Airport Coordinating Committee and the City and County of Denver. It successfully secured voter approval for a major amendment to the 1988 Intergovernmental Agreement for Denver International Airport that will open development opportunities on and around the airport, bringing new jobs and investments to the region.

“This award further validates the culture of collaboration that was necessary to earn overwhelming voter support in both jurisdictions on the effort to pass ballot question 1A. That partnership is an example of how instrumental these relationships are in achieving other impactful projects like ASARCO,” said ACED Executive Board member and Adams County Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio.

To redevelop the ASARCO site, the two governments came together to successfully modify state law regarding urban renewal, adopt a joint urban renewal plan for the site in 2011, and developing a creative package of financing tools including; a HUD Section 108 loan of up to $10,000,000 from Adams County, and a CDBG grant of $750,000 from the City and County of Denver. The result is a 78-acre urban infill site that will add 1 million square feet of Class A industrial space to the local market and approximately 1,000 jobs.

“Strong regional partnerships are a key ingredient to the successful economic development of our greater community,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We’re honored to receive this award, and excited for the job creation, capital expansion, and smart development that are in progress within the Globeville neighborhood and surrounding Denver International Airport.”

Small Community of the Year:
The award for ‘Small Community of the Year’ was presented to Bent County, Colorado for the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, which provides recovery-oriented transitional housing for homeless individuals. Housing is combined with counseling, educational, vocational and employment services for homeless and formerly homeless persons from across Colorado, with an emphasis on serving homeless veterans. This project provided significant economic impact throughout the county and state.

Economic Development Achievement:
The ‘Economic Development Achievement’ Award was presented to Laura Brandt, director of Economic Development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC). Brandt’s more than 30 years of experience in economic development, community organization, and marketing were recognized. During her tenure with Metro Denver EDC, Brandt has been instrumental in major economic deals such as Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, Ardent Mills, Fidelity Investments, and Vestas. Prior to joining the Metro Denver EDC, Brandt worked for City of Lakewood Economic Development. Laura has focused on business recruitment as well as retention and expansion projects. Through her tenure, she has been a strong advocate for the industry, a promoter of professional development, and a true mentor for economic developers around the state.

Rookie of the Year:
The ‘Rookie of the Year’ award was presented to Ryan Stevens, executive director of Economic Development for La Junta Economic Development. Stevens was integral in planning efforts for EDCC’s inaugural Regional Economic Development Forum earlier this year, and has been an important voice for rural Colorado. His experience in human capital consulting, hospitality management, and the ability to problem solve were also recognized. Ryan is a strategic problem solver and new EDCC board member willing to take on new (and significant) projects.

Volunteer of the Year:
The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award was presented to Lynn Vosler, director of Workforce Development at Front Range Community College. Vosler was recognized for her extensive sector partnerships and engagement with private industry. Being a longtime supporter of economic development, Lynn was integral in the success of the sector partnerships – not only in her community, but throughout the Front Range. Vosler has worked closely with private industry and developed “train the trainer” programs for economic development professionals.

Chairman’s Award:
The first ever ‘Chairman’s Award’ was presented to Danny Tomlinson, owner/founder of Tomlinson & Associates, now Lobby Colorado. This award recognizes dedication to the profession, advancement of policies, and shaping of future vision. Tomlinson has long provided valuable support and education, with strong partnerships in the economic development community. Danny helped bring the Economic Development Council of Colorado from struggling, to success, to significance. All economic development organizations and EDCC members have benefited from his work and insight.

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Together we Drive. We Lead. We Succeed.

Less than ONE WEEK away!

It is hard to believe that in less than one week we will gather in the beautiful mountains to connect, network, learn, and grow together. I am exceptionally proud of the work done by this year’s Drive|Lead|Succeed conference committee. We are going to bring conference attendees “Back to Basics.” And before you say to yourself that you are well beyond the basics, I encourage you to review the agenda. We are certain there will be something for everyone.

We all know our communities have their share of challenges and opportunities. Through the sessions provided at the conference we believe every economic developer, elected official, and guest will have meaningful take-away’s, whether that be from the final two tracks of the Colorado Way training, tips for talent attraction, or the intensive workshop facilitated by Avalanche Consulting. The committee went to great lengths to ensure that content was relevant, structured, and all contributed to a cohesive, thought provoking few days.

And of course we can’t forget the EDIE awards! We will celebrate our friends and their economic development achievements. This is one of the annual highlights. This year we will present awards to large and small communities of the year, a volunteer of the year, rookie of the year, and more!

We want everyone to come, so the hotel has graciously offered to extend the $119 hotel rate and we have extended our window to register! So tell your colleagues, friends, and community leaders to join us in Vail next week. Together we Drive. We Lead. We Succeed.

See you soon!

Kelly Flenniken, area manager, Xcel Energy
EDCC board chair

Advanced Manufacturing Center Opening in Colorado

Colorado’s Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence – Please join us as we open our doors to the manufacturing community!

EWI Colorado offers best-in-class capabilities to help manufacturers compete and succeed globally through advanced technology application. As part of EWI’s national network of innovation centers, our new Loveland facility provides regional companies with direct access to all of EWI’s resources – cutting-edge technology, fully equipped labs, and engineering expertise.


You’re invited to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, explore our new facility, meet our partners, and learn how EWI can help your organization optimize its manufacturing processes and operations.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

RSVP HERE! – Please RSVP here by Monday, October 31

EWI Colorado
815 14th Street Southwest
Loveland, CO 80537

Directions and additional day-of details will be provided as the event nears.

For questions, contact Marcie Erion at merion@ewi.org.

“Going back to the basics strengthens your foundation”

“Going back to the basics strengthens your foundation” – Anonymous

What economic development leaders from across the state, will take away from this year’s premier state-wide economic development event, EDCC’s 2016 Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference

On October 17-19, representatives from economic development organizations from across the state, elected officials, and local business leaders, will gather at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort for Economic Development Council of Colorado’s (EDCC) 2016 Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference (click for more information and to register), the premier state-wide economic development event of the year. The annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference is aimed at providing the knowledge, tools and connections necessary to foster a growing Colorado economy.

This year’s conference is centered on the idea of getting “Back to Basics.” We will discuss how communities can leverage their assets to be more successful in business attraction and retention, have more targeted and authentic community marketing campaigns, and position their communities to successfully recover from the loss of a major employer or industry. “Through the sessions provided at the conference we believe every economic developer, elected official, and guest will have meaningful take-away’s that they can implement in their communities,” says Kelly Flenniken, EDCC board chair; area manager for Xcel Energy.

We are kicking this year’s conference off by exploring the evolution of Colorado’s Energy and Unmanned Air Systems industries, whose rapidly-changing dynamics have large and growing implications for many communities and businesses across the state. Scott Prestidge, energy industry director for the Metro Denver EDC, will lead a panel discussion on the changing energy demand that presents significant challenges to our energy producers and suppliers. Rob Osborn from Xcel Energy, and Drew Kramer from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, will discuss how their companies are positioning themselves to meet the industry needs and how these changes may impact Colorado communities and our state’s economy.

Unmanned Air Systems is an industry ready to take off! Maj. Gen. Jay Lindell, aerospace and defense champion with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), will lead a panel of UAS experts, who will discuss the rapidly developing industry that is delivering huge benefits across many industries and applications. Its outputs are used across the state within agriculture, forestry, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, real estate, and more. Attendees will be among the first to hear what’s next for this growing industry and how their communities can participate in, and benefit from, the growth of this industry.

Attendees will also hear from leading experts on talent development, attraction, and retention. Noel Ginsburg, ceo of the new pilot program CareerWise Colorado, will discuss the need for workforce and economic development organizations along with businesses to work collaboratively to “grow our own,” which will ensure a robust and vital workforce pipeline.

Lastly, James Eklund, director for the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Elizabeth Garner, the state’s demographer will lead a panel discussion with water stakeholders around the state, on the growing concern of our increasing population and the depletion of Colorado’s finite water resource.

Please take a look at our agenda to see our exciting lineup of speakers, panelists, and key topics! Join the conversation on Twitter, #EDCCevents!


EDCC’s Ballot Guide Released

The EDCC public policy committee reviews and takes positions on various bills, with the approval of the EDCC board of directors, that impact both the business community and the state’s overall economic development efforts. Below are the positions the EDCC has taken, on eight ballot issues, that are crucial to economic vitality, a sustainable workforce, and the quality of life we have all come to cherish. Please use this as a guide when casting your vote in November.

Amendment 69 | Government-run health insurance system (single tax payer system)

  1. We can’t afford it. This is a $25 billion tax increase managed by a bureaucratic 21 person elected board of trustees. The board of trustees are also not held accountable.
  2. Our current state budget is $27 billion, so in one single vote we would nearly double government spending for our state, while critical needs like education and transportation funding still go unmet.
  3. It will give Colorado the highest state taxes in the nation. This will be funded through a 10 percent tax on every paycheck and a 10 percent tax on non-wage income like pensions.
  4. This measure is too expensive and complicated for one state to take on and we risk our health care, income, and our economic future on this vague, untested plan.

Amendment 70 | Raise the state's minimum wage

  1. Should not be written into the constitution.
  2. Unfair burden and unintended consequences to small businesses especially in rural areas across Colorado.
  3. Minimum wage was never intended to meet the cost of living.

Amendment 71 | Requirement for initiated constitutional amendments to show statewide support; and to make it harder to amend the constitution

  1. Businesses are spending millions of dollars to defeat bad initiatives which prevent them from reinvesting in their company, employees, and contributing to others.
  2. Voters have to vote every time there is an amendment to the constitution. (i.e. marijuana)
  3. Confusion of purpose – Statues vs. the Constitution.
  4. Confusing and unsustainable policies.
  5. Special interests entering Colorado.
  6. The initiative side-steps the legislative process which allows for public input, discussion, and debate on these issues.

Amendment 72 | New cigarette and tobacco tax
Why – We should not be involved in this decision although the taxes could raise $315.7 million annually
which will ease the burden on the State’s budget. The committee decided not to take a position because
it’s not related to economic development.

Proposition 106 | Medical aid in dying
Why?  – Not related to economic development.

Proposition 107 and 108 | Creating semi-open primary elections allowing our state's 1.3 million unaffiliated voters to vote | Restore Colorado's presidential primary election, and open it to unaffiliated voters

  1. More than 1 million active Colorado voters – those who are “unaffiliated” with a party – are excluded from taxpayer-financed primary elections. This is the fastest growing affiliation among new voters. The unaffiliated-voter block in Colorado has grown from 20 percent of the electorate in 1990 to 35 percent today and there is much to be learned about the dynamic behind this trend. With nearly 50 percent of registered voters in Colorado who are under the age of 26 being unaffiliated, the need to reform our primary system in order to engage these voters in the primary process will only grow over time.
  2. Incent candidates to appeal to more moderate voters, encouraging less partisan candidates and moderating our polarized political environment. Ultimately, the shift towards more moderate candidates would make it easier for elected officials from both parties to collaborate to find non-partisan solutions on tough issues and Colorado forward.
  3. Restore Colorado’s presidential primary election to re-establish participation in the open primaries, engage more voters in the process, and to allow “unaffiliated” voters to participate to help find a more moderate candidate.

SCFD Ballot Issue 4B | Denver Metropolitan Scientific and Cultural Facilities District

  1. SCFD funding continues to be unique across the nation, earning metro Denver top billing in support for the arts nationally, and allowing creation of a vibrant, flourishing cultural scene with a multitude of cultural experiences to nourish most every interest.
  2. In addition, the small investment by taxpayers provides enormous returns. The SCFD has a huge impact on the region’s economy: it generates $1.85 billion annually in economic activity; creates 10,205 jobs; spurs $520 million in tourism.


Contact EDCC                                    Legislative Prospective

“Economic Development: Back to Basics”

— In other words paying attention to the little things can make BIG things happen!

The 2016 EDCC Drive | Lead | Succeed Conference is less than two weeks away, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Town of Vail for this premier gathering of economic development, education, and business leaders from across Colorado!

The annual Drive | Lead | Succeed Conference is aimed at providing the knowledge, tools and connections necessary to foster a growing Colorado economy. This year’s conference will take attendees back to the fundamentals; those key elementary principals that if mastered and applied consistently, will lead to huge wins for our local communities and our state’s economy.

We’ll explore the evolution of Colorado’s Energy and Unmanned Air Systems industries, whose rapidly-changing dynamics have large and growing implications for many communities and businesses across the state.

From there, we’ll dive into a compelling lineup of topics and panelists that will provide foundational insights into adapting to change, planning for the future, and effectively leveraging community assets, collaborations, and relationships to the benefit of your community. Learn more: agenda

We’ll conclude on Wednesday with an intensive workshop on current trends and economic development fundamentals presented by Avalanche Consulting. John Wooden, UCLA’s famed basketball coach, would’ve been proud to see that we’re getting Back to Basics. As he said, “When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare,” and no statement could be more appropriate in the context of community economic development.

To learn more, please take a look at our agenda to see our exciting lineup of speakers, panelists, and key topics! Then register! Don’t miss this great opportunity to network with like-minded professionals, learn some new tricks, and importantly, get back to the basics that are sure to drive strong returns for your community.

We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Vail on October 17th!

Jeremy Rietmann
Economic Development Director, Town of Gypsum
Chair, Drive | Lead | Succeed Conference