The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation celebrates region’s accomplishments

March 22, 2018

DENVER – March 22,2018 – Today, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) celebrated Metro Denver’s mission of economic vibrancy for the region at its 14th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

More than 500 business leaders also paid tribute to Gov. John Hickenlooper with a special recognition award. “Long before he was ever elected to office, he was an entrepreneur, he helped transform LoDo into the bustling business center it is today, he understood and promoted economic development amenities like sports stadiums and international flights. And that experience has made him an invaluable partner for us these last eight years,” said Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Brough.

Metro Denver EDC’s unique and nationally recognized approach to economic development has lead continued growth for the region.  “I’m enormously proud of our community, team, and process, which has led to our amazing accomplishments for 2017. We are just getting started and look forward to continuing smart growth for our region,” said Metro Denver EDC CEO J. J. Ament. In 2017, the Metro Denver EDC and its partners contributed to more than 6,800 primary jobs, $400 million in capital investment, 11 new nonstop international flights from Denver International Airport, and 20 companies won.

“Today is not only about our economy, but about our community,” Ament said. “We celebrate a 32-year partnership that has held us together in tough times, kept our eyes on the horizon, built great infrastructure, and together tackled our regional problems time and time again.”

The Metro Denver EDC’s regional initiatives to expand the area economy are funded by its investors and supported by its economic development partners. Leadership from the organization’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors presented several awards at the luncheon to highlight extraordinary efforts in regional cooperation and recognize investment in the region’s economy:

  • The Metropolitan Cooperation Award honored the Colorado Amazon HQ2 team: Josh Birks from the City of Fort Collins, Frank Gray from Castle Rock EDC, Richard Werner from Upstate Colorado Economic Development in Weld County and Stephanie Copeland and Michelle Hadwiger from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. With the continued collaboration of these groups, plus many more, Colorado was a step ahead and had the infrastructure in place to produce a thoughtful and measured response to Amazon which lead to Colorado’s bid landing in the top 20 of proposals for Amazon HQ2.
  • The Special Recognition Award touted a company who has reshaped the Denver skyline. Hines, an international real estate firm, building at 1144 15th St. adds 700,000 square feet of what the Colorado Real Estate Journal calls “shape-shifting splendor” to the regional skyline. 1144 15th St. is the tallest tower to be built in the region since the 1980s.  Jay Despard, Senior Managing Director for Hines, accepted the award.
  • The Chairs’ Choice Award celebrated one of the Metro Denver EDC’s most important partners and regional assets - Denver International Airport (DEN). DEN is our “port” to the rest of the world. DEN’s addition of 11 new, international non-stop routes has made Denver more globally competitive and will continue to be a strong asset for the region. Patrick Heck, DEN’s Chief Commercial Officer, and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock accepted the award on behalf of DEN.
  • The Deal of the Year Award for significant economic impact in the region through new job creation and capital investment went to Vista Equity Partners, celebrating its commitment to Denver; by adding over 2,000 jobs last year with its portfolio companies: Granicus, Marketo, Ping Identity and Vertafore – which recently relocated its headquarters to Denver – and Xactly. Accepting the award for Vista Equity Partners: Amy Zupon, CEO of Vertafore.

Corporate sponsors of the luncheon were: Presenting SponsorJP Morgan Chase; Gold SponsorsCigna, Land Title Guarantee Company, SCL Health, and Xcel Energy, and; Silver Sponsors, the Associated General Contractors of Colorado/Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors/Colorado Contractors Association, Denver International Airport, Fidelity Investments, L.C. Fulenwider, Jacobs, Mortenson Construction, and Workplace Resource.

Photos >> Flickr Gallery

Media contactSam Bailey – Vice President of Economic Development, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, 303.620.8025.

About the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation 
The Metro Denver EDC is the nation’s first regional economic development organization and the largest privately funded economic development organization in Colorado. The Metro Denver EDC focuses on six areas to expand the economy in the nine-county region: national marketing, new and existing business, mobility, DEN/international air travel, tax reform and special opportunities. The organization also leads four industry-focused affiliates: the Colorado Energy Coalition, the Colorado Investment Services Coalition, the Colorado Space Coalition and the Metro Denver Aviation Coalition. The Metro Denver EDC is affiliate of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. For more information, see or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To get involved visit us at, or email at