Clark's Cone of Silence

A unique look at economic development in the region

Denver featured in McKnight Foundation's "A Tale of Three Cities"

Tom Clark is on vacation this week, so it's a perfect time to recognize him for his leadership efforts in regional cooperation. In fact, he's quoted extensively in "A Tale of Three Cities," an essay written by Jay Walljasper for The McKnight Foundation.

You see,Tale of Three Cities Cover Denver is one of the cities highlighted in this essay, which is part of McKnight's Region and Communities program. The purpose: a look at cities that might either serve as "competitors or inspiration for Minneapolis-St. Paul."

The other two cities Walljasper put under the regional microscope were Seattle and Toronto. The impetus: to find urban centers with various similarities to Minneapolis-St. Paul for "fresh ideas and inspiration."

In the Denver profile, Tom says that Denver's regional nature came out of hard times from the 1980s economic downturn. "The urban center is the shop window for the whole region—even people in the suburbs see the advantage of making it strong."

Denver's 6 1/2 lessons:

  • Invest Heavily Downtown
  • Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.
  • Think Big About Rail
  • Welcome Newcomers
  • Create City Districts from Scratch
  • Boost Public Education
  • Vitalize Public Housing

Tom summarized the Metro Denver's business credo simply: "You can’t steal from other communities, and you can’t speak ill of your neighbors.”


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About Tom Clark

Tom has over 30 years of economic development experience at the state, regional, and local levels, spanning from Illinois to Colorado. He is known both for his quips and his candor. Often quoted in the local and national press on Metro Denver’s economy, his iPhone is his most valued possession next to his Les Paul guitar. He is also famous for writing parody songs, maintaining an orderly office, and funding the office swear jar. Tom says that if wasn’t an economic developer, his dream would be to work in a chocolate factory.

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About The Cone of Silence

Invented by Professor Cone from TV’s "Get Smart," the Cone of Silence was designed to protect the most secret of conversations by enshrouding its users within a transparent sound-proof shield. Unfortunately, from experience, we have also learned that it never works properly. This blog offers those outside our “Cone of Silence” a unique look at economic development in the region.

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