New Belgium reaffirms commitment to GLBT rights, N.C. brewery

Aside from the national debate, the fight over gay rights has made big headlines in Colorado and North Carolina in particular in recent days.

There’s little these states have in common with one exception: New Belgium Brewing.

You’ll recall that Fort Collins’ largest brewer announced last month it would open a second brewery in Asheville, N.C., after a months-long search for an East Coast location.

It’s no secret that New Belgium is a supporter of equal rights for members of the GLBT community, extending company benefits to same-sex partners as readily as heterosexual couples.

So, not surprisingly, it was watching carefully as voters in North Carolina went to the polls to determine the fate of a constitutional amendment declaring that a marriage is between one man and woman.

The measure won handily, with 60 percent of voters approving it.

Was New Belgium having second thoughts about North Carolina?

Nope.

Instead, in response to the vote, the company reaffirmed on its Facebook page that it would proceed with its plans for Asheville.

“Thanks for everyone’s thoughts on the recent vote on Amendment 1 regarding gay marriage in North Carolina.

“While that vote in no way reflects the values and ethos of New Belgium Brewing, (we happily extend benefits to same-sex partners), we are not reconsidering building a second facility in Asheville.

“It has been our experience that the best way to effect change is to work within a system rather than to turn away from it,” said the post.

Sounds good, but The Eye bets it’ll take more than a few beers before North Carolina’s Bible Belt voters change their thinking on same-sex marriage.

CAMT CEO steps down

Elaine Thorndike, the CEO of the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology, who made a few friends and probably a few frenemies, has stepped down after six years on the job.

“It got to the point where I think it was time for somebody else to step in,” she said. “It’s very demanding trying to manage a public-private partnership.”

Thorndike’s resignation last month follows CAMT’s surprise withdrawal of the Aerospace and Clean Energy Project from Loveland in March. Cumberland & Western Resources, the owner of the old Agilent Technologies campus where ACE was supposed to be located, was moving in a direction that didn’t fit the project, CAMT said.

CAMT plans to seek a new home for the project in the Denver or Boulder area.

The ACE Project will continue regardless of Thorndike’s departure. CAMT plans to work closely with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office to bring the project to fruition, she said.

Efforts are under way to name a new CAMT head, a spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Thorndike’s “guidance and organizational oversight as CAMT has grown has been invaluable, and we wish her the best,” the spokeswoman said.

Thorndike also recently left her post as a University of Colorado professional research assistant, which involved managing the institution’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. She held that position for 13 years while serving as CAMT chief executive since 2006.

She plans to work as an independent consultant for tech companies to help them find funding, develop strategy and identify markets in the region.

A gig with Loveland, however, isn’t likely.

Mr. Devereaux goes
to Washington

Jamie Dimon is in hot water with federal regulators and that is not helping Home State Bank President Harry Devereaux one bit.

Devereaux this spring spent a bit of time in Washington, D.C., to underscore the challenges faced by community banks.

Representing the Independent Bankers of Colorado, Devereaux met with Colorado’s congressional representatives to discuss, among other items, new legislation relating to credit unions’ lending limits, and old legislation, namely the Dodd-Frank Act.

Devereaux expressed his concerns that the Dodd-Frank legislation, which was intended to reign in big banks that engaged in many of the activities that led to the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, would trickle down to community banks.

Most of the rules imposed by Dodd-Frank, Devereaux said, were meant to keep the massive banks, including Dimon’s recently-disgraced J.P. Morgan, from getting into risky business, making bad trades or loans and losing billions. The $2 billion that J.P. Morgan has lost could grow even higher, according to Devereaux.

The impact of new regulations are already being felt by community banks, some of whom, including Home State, have had to hire additional employees to deal with compliance issues.

Devereaux told the Eye he believes the lawmakers he met heard him loud and clear.

“They’re sympathetic to community banks, and we were very warmly received,” Devereaux said.

In particular, he said, Sen. Michael Bennet, who recently took a seat in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, told Devereaux he’ll be paying close attention to the issues that impact small banks.

Bennet, for the record, voted in favor of Dodd-Frank.

Report: States ill-equipped for energy development

The oil and natural-gas industry has another PR scrap on its hands.

Researchers from Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West and Research Center, in collaboration with journalists from media nationwide, have produced an in-depth report that plays right into the hands of opposition forces.

The report raises questions about the preparedness of rural communities in Western states as they confront large new energy plays. It contends that states are struggling to keep pace with critical infrastructure and revenue policies tied to oil and gas development.

The report combines an economic and policy analysis with a half-hour interactive video documentary called “An Unquiet Landscape: The American West’s New Energy Frontier.”

Want to check it out? Go to RuralWest.Stanford.edu/energy.

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