Metro Denver EDC event highlights economic 'rays of light'


The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) hosted its Seventh Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 7, 2011 to celebrate the past year's economic accomplishments as well as regional cooperation in the business community. The luncheon took place at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

John Beeble, co-chair of the Metro Denver EDC and president of Saunders Construction, welcomed the more than 500 attendees and called for business leaders to actively engage in economic development endeavors within the region.

"We are privileged to have local and state governments as crucial partners in our efforts," Beeble stated. "But for the region and state to succeed, the private sector must do its share. It must play a prominent and equal role and be at the table with government as a political and financial partner."

Beeble also ticked through the economic successes-and challenges-of the previous year as the Metro Denver region worked its way out of the recession.

"While we lost two notable corporate headquarters operations last year-First Data and Qwest-we have also been successful in recruiting other high-profile headquarters including DaVIta, TriZetto Group, and juwi," said Beeble. "The Metro Denver EDC finished 2010 with a record number of prospect companies. Volume is up and 2011 is starting strong."

The Metro Denver EDC's Executive Vice President Tom Clark told the audience of business leaders that in trying economic times comes unexpected opportunity.

"This year we'll add $2 billion in new healthcare facilities to the region, DaVita's $90 million headquarters will rise from the Platte Valley, and a new rail line will emerge connecting DIA to Union Station. These investments help advance the region's recovery," noted Clark.

The Metro Denver EDC's initiatives to expand the economy would not have been possible without the energy and support of investors and economic development partners. The Metro Denver EDC presented four awards at the luncheon for outstanding contributions to the region's economy: 

  • The Deal of the Year Award, recognizing a company that has created the largest economic impact to the region through new job creation and capital investment, was awarded to DaVita. The Metro Denver EDC recognized the Fortune 500 provider of kidney care services for investing more than $90 million in a new 15-story, 270,000-square foot headquarters under construction near Union Station in Denver. DaVita, which moved its corporate headquarters from El Segundo, CA in 2009, already employs more than 300 people here with the potential to grow to 900 team members once the facility is completed.

    The new building, to be completed in 2012, will also serve as the site for DaVita University, where thousands of the company's staff will train annually.

    "It is especially exciting to honor DaVita for its investment in the region as well as the values it places on honoring one another and its customers," said Beeble.
  • The Chairs' Award for Outstanding Efforts in Economic Development honored several area business and civic leaders for their role in rallying statewide efforts to defeat anti-business legislation-Amendments 60, 61, and Proposition 101-on the November 2010 ballot.

    Awardees who contributed their time and energy to Coloradans for Responsible Reform for the No on 60, 61, and 101 political campaign included: Steve Farber, Kelly Brough, Lynn Mason, Anne Warhover, Tony Milo, Michael Gifford, Dave Davia, Ted Trimpa, Rachel Nance, and Doug Houston.

    "Their heroic acts literally kept our business climate from slipping into the abyss," said Todd Munson, President and Colorado Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Chase and co-chair of the Metro Denver EDC."
  • The chairs of the Metro Denver EDC presented the Special Recognition Award for dedicated service and achievement to the economic development profession to Bill Becker, the former president and CEO of the Adams County Economic Development. Prior to his retirement in late 2010, Becker led the organization for 10 years.

    Becker was recognized as a "champion" of regional cooperation at work, bringing together the political leadership of Adams County and Denver to collaborate on important initiatives related to Denver International Airport.

    "All of Metro Denver is indebted to Bill not only for his efforts on behalf of his county, but also his region," stated Beeble.
  • The Metropolitan Cooperation Award recognizes an individual or organization that promotes the success of the entire Metro Denver region in its practices and actions.

    The Metro Denver EDC presented this award to CO-LABS, a consortium that educates community leaders and the public about the economic, scientific, and civic benefits of Colorado's 24 federal labs.

    Beeble noted that the significant presence of federal laboratories is coveted by many states.

    "CO-LABS works to not only retain these assets, but to also promote cooperation among the laboratories, create joint projects, and provide a collective voice for these incredible research institutes," Beeble commented.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Bill Vidal provided brief comments to the business community at the luncheon.

Joel Kotkin, an internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political, and social trends was the luncheon keynote speaker. Kotkin is the author of "THE NEXT HUNDRED MILLION: America in 2050," a recently published book on how our nation will evolve in the next four decades.

A highly respected speaker and futurist, Kotkin consults for many leading economic development organizations, private companies, regions, and cities, and frequently contributes to Forbes, Inc., and other leading business publications.

"America's future is brighter than most 'experts' predict. Relatively youthful demographics, ample land, massive energy resources, immigrant and other entrepreneurs all make for a winning combination-and the Front Range should have among the best orchestra seats," said Kotkin.