Regional chambers work closely together

In mid-July, the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced the hiring of a new president to replace Sarah MacQuiddy, who is retiring in August.

That got me thinking about both Sarah and the relationships between the area chambers of commerce.

First, Sarah is leaving well and on her own terms after a successful career at the Greeley Chamber, beginning as the tourism director and for the last 15 years as the chamber’s chief executive. In a business where the average tenure of the top person is generally much shorter, staying that long means you’re adding value. A big “thank you” to Sarah and well wishes to her for the next chapter.

Regarding the relationships between the chambers in Northern Colorado, it comes up in conversations a surprising number of times every year. I get asked about it by individual members, by members of civic groups, when I’m presenting and by our big investors.

I’m never quite sure of the reason for the question, but at the heart of it, I think, is curiosity about how we’re getting along in order to get things done for the region, and about how we are using the business community’s resources.

In my opinion, we have good working relationships and do a lot of great work together. Here are a few examples:

Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA): NCLA is the joint state and federal issues committee of the Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland chambers of commerce and two economic development groups — UpState Colorado Economic Development and One NoCo. This partnership was created in 1992. Together the five entities monitor and evaluate proposed legislation and communicate business views to the administration and state legislators. We also collectively pool resources to hire a Denver-based lobbyist to represent our interests.

Fix North I-25 Business Alliance (Fix I-25): Fix I-25 is tucked under the aegis of NCLA. I chair the group and a significant part of the funding is provided by the investors of our chamber’s Northern Colorado Prospers initiative (www.NorthernColoradoProspers). Fix I-25 meets via phone every week, with an in-person meeting monthly or more often if necessary. We engage a lobbyist, pollsters and media relation consultants. The Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland chambers are all engaged in this effort.

Regional Issues Summit: Under the aegis of NCLA, each fall the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland chambers and the two economic development groups hold a regional summit to discuss the big issues facing the region.

Talent 2.0 Workforce Development Initiative: The Loveland and Fort Collins Chambers serve on the Talent 2.0 Steering Committee to help employers in Larimer County meet their labor needs.

Annual Talent Summit: Under Talent 2.0 the Loveland and Fort Collins chambers team up with other partners to produce an annual workforce development confab. The next one will be Oct. 4.

Leadership Northern Colorado (LNC): About to begin its 11th year, LNC was founded by the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland chambers and the community foundations in Larimer and Weld counties.

Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E): On the Larimer side of the region, the Loveland and Fort Collins chambers are active in the Larimer County BR&E Partnership to interview area primary employers to determine and serve their needs.

Regional Business After Hours: A couple of times per year, a dozen chambers of commerce from Longmont to Cheyenne and Laramie hold major after-hours networking events.

North Front Range Electricity Task Force. The Longmont, Loveland, and Fort Collins chambers have banded together to provide the business perspective on public policy that impacts the reliability and cost of electricity.

In addition to the above, there are a myriad of routine contacts between staff members of the various chambers on all sorts of issues. 

In short, area chambers have figured out that the best way to keep our respective areas and the region competitive is through cooperation.

David May is the president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. Reach him at dmay@fcchamber.org.

In mid-July, the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced the hiring of a new president to replace Sarah MacQuiddy, who is retiring in August.

That got me thinking about both Sarah and the relationships between the area chambers of commerce.

First, Sarah is leaving well and on her own terms after a successful career at the Greeley Chamber, beginning as the tourism director and for the last 15 years as the chamber’s chief executive. In a business where the average tenure of the top person is generally much shorter, staying that long means you’re adding value. A big “thank you” to Sarah and well wishes to her for the next chapter.

Regarding the relationships between the chambers in Northern Colorado, it comes up in conversations a surprising number of times every year. I get asked about it by individual members, by members of civic groups, when I’m presenting and by our big investors.

I’m never quite sure of the reason for the question, but at the heart of it, I think, is curiosity about how we’re getting along in order to get things done for the region, and about how we are using the business community’s resources.

In my opinion, we have good working relationships and do a lot of great work together. Here are a few examples:

Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA): NCLA is the joint state and federal issues committee of the Fort Collins, Greeley,…