OneNOCO responds to BizWest editorial on failed merger

The board of directors of OneNOCO, the newly named Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, responded to a BizWest editorial that appeared in the May edition of the newspaper. The editorial lamented the collapse of merger talks between two economic development groups in Northern Colorado and encouraged the groups to return to discussions.

The text of the letter appears here:

OneNOCO embraces regionalism, cooperation

To the editor:

BizWest recently wrote an editorial “Economic development groups should resume merger talks.” The board of directors of OneNOCO couldn’t agree more.

Northern Colorado has a very timely, unique opportunity to brand itself as one region, which exemplifies our numerous shared values. It is precisely why the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance recently became OneNOCO — to create one central repository and proactive effort to compete effectively for jobs, continued growth and affordable living.

OneNOCO is a non-partisan, agnostic collective of private and hopefully soon public sector officials who exemplify the very best in all of us, while still remembering our roots and those Colorado attributes we all have come to know and love. It is modeled after the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., of which Tom Clark spearheaded and maintained for several years, encompassing towns and cities up and down the Front Range, totaling 33. Further, the Colorado Springs area follows the same model and is quite successful.

With the Northern Colorado region expected to grow exponentially over the next 20 years, it is so vital we embrace true regionalism successfully now. We must have both responsible and fair private and public sector representatives actively working together, speaking on behalf of the entire region, cooperatively. We need collaboration, not competition, among our economic development organizations.

As BizWest pointed out, Tom Clark has strongly encouraged our groups to work together. We agree. He recently came and spoke at an open invitation OneNOCO event at the Elizabeth Hotel to talk about embracing regionalism.

Our door is open. Economic development shouldn’t be a private versus public debate. We acutely understand that the private business community needs to partner with local and county governments to create a “One NOCO” approach to economic development. Northern Colorado needs to present a united front to the world about who we are and what we offer.

BizWest is right: We are better off together than apart.

Signed, OneNOCO board of directors: Scott Ehrlich, chairman; Tom Gendron, vice chairman; John Pawlikowski, secretary/treasurer; Royal Lovell, Margo Karsten, Mark Driscoll, Roger Knoph, Troy McWhinney, Charlie Monfort, Ed Holloway, Alison Larsen, Kevin Unger, Evan Hyatt, David Yowell, Dan Sanders.