November 18, 2011

Boulder sporting multiple brands

BOULDER – Boulder has the iconic Flatirons, the University of Colorado, the federal labs, open space and the Pearl Street Mall.

But what, exactly, is the Boulder brand, if there is one?  The Boulder County Business Report asked leaders from around the Boulder Valley to answer that question in a lightning round of PowerPoint presentations Thursday at the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference.

Here’s what they said:

K.C. Becker, Boulder City Council member – City officials want ideas from the public to figure out what to build as the next piece of the Boulder brand. They want your help in choosing which idea to support – with plans to ask voters to potentially approve a capital bond measure in 2012 to pay to build whatever top idea is chosen. So far, the Boulder City Council has heard ideas to create a permanent farmer’s market, an arts district, a new convention center and a new, permanent events space, among others.

Morgan Rogers, civic forum director, Community Foundation Serving Boulder County – The Community Foundation is calling on you to give back to your community. Mentor a child. Invest in other ways to support work force development. Boulder residents are known nationally as the smartest in America, the healthiest, the happiest, the foodiest, the greenest and the fittest, among other things. But we can’t rest on our laurels. If we do, we’ll see our quality of life go down.

Julie Herman, executive director, Boulder Green Building Guild – We need to focus on creating sustainable solutions. Our green building brand is protected by enhancing the best of Boulder Valley with policies and practices. (Green building is generally seen as building practices that save energy and use recycled or renewable resources.) Sustainability in the Boulder Green Building Guild world means focusing on the triple bottom line to promote green building in the economic, environmental and social realms. Realtors are critical players to support the green building industry.

John Cody, president/ chief executive/Longmont Area Economic Council – Boulder Valley’s work force is the most important piece of its brand, from an economic perspective. We need to focus on building the quality of our work force. Our quality of life counts in attracting and retaining the educated workforce. Smart people are attracted here.

George Gerstle, 36 Commuting Solutions – A coalition of businesses and communities working together to improve transportation along the U.S. 36 corridor has some new plans. First, a new managed lane for buses and carpool cars will be extended from its current end near the intersection of Pecos Street and U.S. 36 to the main Broomfield exit on U.S. 36. The 36 Commuting Solutions coalition has been involved with putting together $305 million to pay to extend those lanes, with completion expected in three or four years. The coalition also is working on completing a bike path along the corridor and on building more pedestrian connections to bus stops along the corridor.

Lynda Gibbons, founder/president, Gibbons-White Inc. – Fresh blood is needed in the commercial real estate buildings in the Boulder Valley, but let’s build on what we have. Wide open vistas that face Boulder’s striking natural features to the west are important to emphasize, as are the city’s historic buildings. European-style plazas can be a focus, along with things like bicycle share programs, electric car share programs and bicycle storage areas near businesses. Timeless fresh architecture will help the techno crowd feel at home in their offices while retaining the natural wildness that is Boulder.

Jen Jones, managing director, Sterling-Rice Group – Great cities and great brands are ones that inspire us. New York City is about success – fame and fortune. San Francisco’s tagline is Only in San Francisco, which focuses on its industry, its technology and its culture. We have the outdoors and we’re foodies. What more can we do to be on the cutting edge of environmental concerns here? If we’re the happiest, how to we bring that to the children that we want to take care of here, or focus on arts and culture?

Boulder is more than the Flatirons and the (CU) Buffaloes. Our symbols include Pearl Street, our farm-to-table restaurants, our bike paths and our (CU) Center for Innovation and Creativity. New York is the Big Apple, San Francisco has Apple – what is Boulder’s apple?

Barry Siff, health/sports entrepreneur – Boulder is known as a sports mecca, so let’s lobby to get the finish stage of the 2012 U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge bike race here next year. This year, the inaugural year of the seven-day bike race, it brought an estimated $80 million or so to the Colorado economy. A picture postcard of Colorado was broadcast live across the world. We have the support of the city council and the city manager’s office to lobby to get a race stage here next year. We have more than 100 recreational and sports companies in Boulder now, and while we haven’t put together a formal group yet, Active Boulder will be the place to look to get involved.

Arron Mansika, director, Naturally Boulder – Yes, we are a foodie town and our natural foods industry is alive and well. Our mission is to solidify Boulder as an industry leader with both education and events. We now have 2,000 subscribers, including 450 paying members and 65 sponsoring members. Companies such as Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Silk Soymilk, Horizon Organic Dairy, Cocolove and Celestial Seasonings all started here. We’re now looking at new companies looking to grow. We’re also focusing on a campaign to get genetically modified organisms not to be grown on publicly owned open space. It’s a timely issue, and a decision is expected in the next two weeks.

Clif Harald, executive director, Boulder Economic Council – We have a significant diversity in industries such as aerospace, biotechnology, clean technology, software, Internet and information technology and our university and federal labs, and they require technical talent. These industries are the competitive advantage we have a place to live and a place to work.

Talent sourcing and recruitment is important for industry job growth. We sell the Boulder job brand, and we recruit top talent from across the country. We are relatively or comparatively well-off, we have good quality of life and economic diversification, and that gives us incredible strength on the global scale. But we also have challenges – a shallow talent pool in the region and some degree of challenge in national awareness and in encouraging people to relocate here.

The daylong conference was presented by the Boulder County Business Report.

BOULDER – Boulder has the iconic Flatirons, the University of Colorado, the federal labs, open space and the Pearl Street Mall.

But what, exactly, is the Boulder brand, if there is one?  The Boulder County Business Report asked leaders from around the Boulder Valley to answer that question in a lightning round of PowerPoint presentations Thursday at the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference.

Here’s what they said:

K.C. Becker, Boulder City Council member – City officials want ideas from the public to figure out what to build as the next piece of the Boulder brand. They want your help in choosing which idea…

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