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EDIE Awards

EDCC’s Annual EDIE Award recognizes outstanding economic development achievements by our members, organization volunteers, communities, companies and legislators.

EDIE Awards Criteria

Please review EDIE Awards Criteria prior to submitting your nomination.

Nominate Today!

Do you know someone who should be recognized for excellence in your community and economic development.

Deadline for nominations is
September 10, 2021

Past Winner’s Circle

Meet our past winner’s going back to the inception of the EDIE Awards.

Thanks goes to our 2020 EDIE Awards Title Sponsor! 

Congratulate the 2020 Winners

Click a category below to learn more about this year’s winners.

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SMALL COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR

West End Montrose and San Miguel County

The award for ‘Small Community of the Year’ was presented to the West End Montrose and San Miguel County for their persistence in preserving their culture and independent spirit. Once built to support the primary mining industries of Uranium and Coal, the West End once again was facing the grim realities of a major employer leaving their community.

With the help from a grant from the Economic Development Administration, the West End Economic Development Corp (WEEDC) was born. Their mission in helping develop the local economy is broken into three focus areas: Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Value Added Agriculture and Kitchen MakerSpace, and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.

Since 2018, the grant funded a co-working space outfitted with the latest conferencing equipment, two commercial kitchens, a grain mill used to create value-added flour, and a regional Fresh Food Hub. As a product of the infrastructure that has been placed, the West End became a Certified Small Business Community counseling 43 clients through the SBDC in its first year. Eight new businesses have opened in the region, creating approximately 22 new jobs. And finally, a new branding effort, “Find Your Wild,” has launched at westendcolorado.com to help market the area to tourists. 

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Large Community of the Year

City of Colorado Springs

The award for ‘Large Community of the Year’ was presented to the City of Colorado Springs for their long-term commitment to strengthening their economy through strategy, leadership, and collaboration with their local government, economic development partners, and their community at-large. 

The strategy to target the industries that Colorado Springs is well known for became the catalyst to several iconic and unique projects that are coming online. Southwest Downtown is among the growing momentum of a strong and vibrant sports and tourism industry, due in part by the State’s four-pronged Regional Tourism Act called the ‘City of Champions.’ Over $220M has been invested in these economic drivers catching national attention from Architectural Digest, Conde Nast Traveler, Smithsonian magazine, and The New Your Times.

According to the Brookings Institution, Colorado Springs is among the fastest-growing cities for millennials. Downtown Colorado Springs has seen strong economic growth, despite the pandemic, and several new downtown living options are either under construction or have been completed. By 2022, four hotel projects will be completed. This activity has spurred a multitude of new eateries, breweries, food halls and boutique shopping.  

Peak Innovation Park, adjacent to and owned by the Colorado Springs Airport, is sparking strong economic development activity. Over $376M has been invested into the Park by Amazon with two distribution facilities and a $100M expansion R&D project that Aerospace Corporation has announced. An estimated 1500 jobs will be associated with these projects.

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Company of the Year

Altia, Inc.

The award for ‘Company of the Year’ was presented to Altia, Inc. Altia Inc., founded in 1991 in Colorado Springs and an international leader in user interface design tools and GUI software, moved its global headquarters two years ago to a newly designed tech space in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs, showing its commitment to making Colorado Springs a better place to live, work, and grow their company.  

Altia’s GUI technologies are in products that you see and use every day. They range from electronic products with touch screens to highly sophisticated automotive dashboards. Their customers include original automotive equipment manufacturers (OEM’) and Tier 1 suppliers like Continental Automotive, Denso, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Renault, Magneti Marelli, Nippon Seiki, Valeo, Visteon and more – plus leading consumer device manufacturers like Electrolux, Whirlpool, NordicTrack and many others. 

Mike Juran, CEO and co-founder, is a leading spokesperson for Colorado Springs, helping economic development partners promote the city to expanding or relocating businesses. His advocacy efforts have aided in building a business-friendly environment for businesses to thrive and grow. Business leaders, like Juran, play an integral role in creating the momentum communities need to attract, retain, and grow businesses and the local job base.  

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CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE AWARD

Colorado Springs Airport

The award for ‘Economic Development Partnership’ was presented to the Colorado Springs Airport for their collaboration with key economic development stakeholders to bring connectivity and economic vitality to southern Colorado.

After being designated an Opportunity Zone, the Peak Innovation Park master plan spun off, sparking strong economic development activity including Amazon’s more than $376M capital investment in two distribution facilities, spanning over 71 acres in the park. In addition to Aerospace Corporation’s $100M expansion project of a state-of-the-art R&D space warfighting facility. Significant infrastructure improvements and financial commitments were required from the Airport to meet the goals of these projects. By laying the necessary groundwork and collaborating with the local economic development and community partners, this will prove to be transformational as more projects in the area come online. 

The airport itself has seen significant updates and improvements to the terminal and runways. The Colorado Springs Airport has been awarded a $10M grant for runway improvements due in part by lobbying efforts of Congressman Doug Lamborn. This capital improvement will ensure the return of Airstrip Attach tourism. The civil-military airport, on average, sees 35 commercial flights a day, not including military and cargo traffic, and serves approximately 1.7M commercial passengers per year. And finally, after years of courting Southwest Airlines, the airline just announced their commitment to begin service in March 2021. This decision was the result of strong collaboration, strategy and partnership with key community leaders including the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, VisitCOS, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and was led by the team at Colorado Springs Airport. 

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Volunteer of the Year

John Wells | Leadville Lake County EDC

The award for ‘Volunteer of the Year’ was presented to the John Wells, Board President, Leadville Lake County EDC. John, a Colorado native and one of the original founders of the Leadville Lake County EDC, has donated countless hours to the community and organization over the past eight years. Under John’s leadership, key stakeholders took the necessary steps to elevate the organization by articulating its vision, goals, and challenges. While searching for their next executive director, John assumed the organization’s operations by conducting business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts, met with elected officials on project leads, worked with major providers to enhance infrastructure, and created a grant program for small business owners during the beginning months of the pandemic. John is a humble steward of his community, working tirelessly behind the scenes. And did we mention that he’s retired? 

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Legislator of the Year – Urban

Rep. Shannon Bird (D-35)

Rep. Shannon Bird (D-35) has a background in business and finance and knows the value of building and investing in better communities. She has been a champion for supporting workforce development and attainable housing initiatives at the Capitol, and this year sponsored HB20-1413 which creates the Colorado Loans Increasing Mainstreet Business Economic Recovery fund (or CLIMBER). This program provides capital for small businesses over the next two years to preserve thousands of at-risk jobs in the hardest hit sectors and fuel small business recovery efforts due to the pandemic.

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Legislator of the Year – Rural

Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-46)

Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-46) served as Chair on the Joint Budget Committee and Vice Chair on the Appropriations Committee during the 2020 legislative session and as such has a clear understanding of the fiscal impacts from public policy. Rep Esgar’s legislative highlights include sponsoring HB20-1298 which extends a program to allow businesses who make a $100M strategic capital investment in the state to transfer their tax credits – this program has been vital to retaining primary employers in the state – and sponsoring SCR20-001 which placed the Gallagher Repeal (Amendment B) on the ballot. The EDCC supported repealing the Gallagher Amendment because business owners are forced to pay a significantly larger portion of property taxes. 

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Legislator Lifetime Achievement

Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-5) 

The award for ‘Legislator Lifetime Achievement’ was presented to Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-5) for her commitment to the economic vitality of Colorado. 

In her six years in the legislature, Sen. Donovan has been a rural champion for the seven West Slope counties she represents ever since she was elected to office. Knowing broadband access and connectivity is important to business operations, the senator passed SB18-104 to remove a barrier from state entities to apply for federal funding for broadband deployment in rural areas. She has sponsored several bills to bring economic development and job creation to rural areas, including SB20-002 to create a Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Grant Program to bring much needed funds to communities having economic hardship, while also leading the way on HB20-1003 which extends and expands the Rural Jump Start Tax Credit program to incentive business development in rural areas. She serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources committee where she regularly champions economic development initiatives for the agriculture industry.  

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Rookie of the Year

Alex Rugoff | City of Durango

The award for ‘Rookie of the Year’ was presented to Alex Rugoff with the City of Durango. Alex is the Business Development and Redevelopment Coordinator. Being on the job for only 14 months, Alex’s ability to communicate effectively complex ideas and collaborate with key stakeholders, has led to Durango’s first Urban Renewal Authority (URA), a sophisticated redevelopment and economic development tool which passed with unanimous City Council support. He has effective relationship building skills, willingness to serve in volunteer roles for organizations like EDCC and demonstrates his commitment to professional development and statewide advocacy for economic development. 

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Economic Development Achievement

Jessica Erickson | Longmont Economic Development Partnership

The award for ‘Economic Development Achievement’ was presented to Jessica Erickson, president and CEO for the Longmont EDP. Jessica has overseen the complete re-design and re-branding of the organization, focusing its efforts on a collective impact strategy that champions growth, prosperity, and inclusion. The organization has spearheaded projects that have led to the attraction and expansion of more than 150 businesses, resulting in $1B in new capital investment and the creation of more than 2,000 primary jobs.

Prior to Jessica’s current position, as a senior industry development manager for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), she focused on retention, expansion, and recruitment for businesses specializing in advanced manufacturing, infrastructure engineering, electronics, financial services, technology, and information. She is a designated Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) achieving the pinnacle of excellence in the economic development field. She has most recently been named the vice chair of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation’s Economic Development Professionals Group. 

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CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE AWARD

Preston Gibson | former Area Manager | Xcel Energy

The award for the ‘Chairman’s Choice’ was presented to Preston Gibson formerly with Xcel Energy. Preston has been an active member of the economic development community since his arrival in Colorado. Preston has played a vital role in Colorado’s economy through his work at Jefferson County EDC, Xcel Energy, and EDCC. It was under his leadership that the EDCC’s public policy committee developed its reputation for insightful legislation input and guidance. His work at Xcel Energy helped shape how Xcel Energy collaborates with the Economic Development community. He is masterful in developing and maintaining highly effective and lasting relationships. EDCC is proud to award Preston this honor and thanks him for his service and his commitment to Colorado.