Upstate Colorado stresses regional approach to economic development

WINDSOR — Greeley-based Upstate Colorado Economic Development is in the process of an information gathering and data compilation campaign aimed at emphasizing the importance of regional economic development cooperation throughout Weld and Larimer counties.

“Over the past year, I’ve been working with [Loveland economic development director] Kelly Peters-Jones, [Fort Collins economic health and redevelopment director] Josh Birks and [Larimer County economic development director] Jacob Castillo,” Richard Werner, president and CEO of Upstate Colorado, said Thursday during a meeting with business leaders in Windsor. “One of the things economic developers realize pretty quickly is that this is all one region when it comes to our labor shed, when it comes to our businesses.”

Leaders of chambers of commerce in Greeley, Fort Collins and Loveland, along with stakeholders at both Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado, are “now sitting and talking together about how their partnerships and programs can complement each other and the alignment with industry,” Werner said.

“It is no longer Larimer County versus Weld County or Fort Collins against Greeley,” he said. “ …We are spending time breaking down these divides, and we are doing it through a process of data. We have actually formed a regional data group between Larimer and Weld counties.”

The goal is to provide comprehensive data sets to support messaging that highlights regional economic development opportunities throughout Larimer and Weld counties. Economic development groups and chambers of commerce would have access to this data and messaging and would be free to use it to help attract new business and foster economic development.

“This isn’t about Upstate being the one organization” performing economic development work in Larimer and Weld counties,” Werner said. “It’s about inviting organizations and communities to come into this process on any node and be able to access our resources. We want to help create these regional mechanisms that no one group owns and that everyone has access to.”

Werner said Upstate’s commitment to supporting regional economic development is not a signal that his organization is reconsidering the possibility of merging with the Loveland-based Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, also known as OneNoCo. Upstate and NCEA had considered a merger last year before negotiations collapsed in April as a result of differing visions for how to market the region and on the structure of the combined organization.

“What they are doing or not doing, I can’t really comment on that,” he said.

Economic development leaders must also take a macro view of regionalism, speakers at Thursday’s event stressed. The economies of all of the Front Range regions are connected to a certain degree.

“We need to continue to work together on that regional collaboration,” Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. CEO J. J. Ament said. “We know that you can’t have an awesome Weld County while Jefferson County is in distress; we can’t have Douglas County in distress while Larimer County is doing great. We have to work together.”

 

WINDSOR — Greeley-based Upstate Colorado Economic Development is in the process of an information gathering and data compilation campaign aimed at emphasizing the importance of regional economic development cooperation throughout Weld and Larimer counties.

“Over the past year, I’ve been working with [Loveland economic development director] Kelly Peters-Jones, [Fort Collins economic health and redevelopment director] Josh Birks and [Larimer County economic development director] Jacob Castillo,” Richard Werner, president and CEO of Upstate Colorado, said Thursday during a meeting with business leaders in Windsor. “One of the things economic developers realize pretty quickly is that this is all one region when it comes to our labor shed, when it comes to our businesses.”

Leaders of chambers of commerce in Greeley, Fort Collins and Loveland, along with stakeholders at both Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado, are “now sitting and talking together about how their partnerships and programs can complement each other and the alignment with industry,” Werner said.

“It is no longer Larimer County versus Weld County or Fort Collins against Greeley,” he said. “ …We are spending time breaking down these divides, and we are doing it through a process of data. We have actually formed a regional data group between Larimer and Weld counties.”

The goal is to provide comprehensive data sets to support messaging that highlights regional economic development opportunities throughout Larimer and Weld counties. Economic development groups and chambers of commerce would have access to this data and messaging and would…