Site Selection Conference Creates Opportunity and Friendships

by Tom Clark

In the midst of strong economic growth along Colorado’s Front Range, it’s easy to complain about increased congestion, longer waits in-line at concerts, and having to call ahead to get a table at our favorite restaurant.

There is some truth to that. But as humans, our memory of economic downturns fades quickly. As growth returns to our lives we enjoy increased wages and increased spending. But for all of us, continuing to create a strong economy requires vigilance and continued adaptation.

As we all sense the changes of growth - or heaven forbid, downturn - the Metro Denver EDC and its 70-plus partners continue to look forward to the next big thing. And starting this Wednesday, Sept, 14, we will be listening to the experts and learning about new ideas coming from other parts of the nation, incentives other states provide for new company locations, and their opinion of how our unique regional economic development process stacks up against our chief competitor cities – Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.

During the Metro Denver Site Selection Conference this week, nine visiting site selection consultants will get an up-close look at our economy, our infrastructure, our laboratories, and the quality of our workers. For three days on the ground (and in helicopters) they’ll have stops at research centers in Boulder and a live view of Charles Schwab’s Lone Tree campus construction. They’ll be briefed, queried, networked, and will speak to 400 Metro Denver and Northern Colorado leaders on Friday morning at the Grand Hyatt Denver. We will all be listening attentively.

Stocked full of great information and drained of their best advice, we’ll give them a taste of Colorado’s mountains in the peak autumn days of golden aspens. When they leave us, we hope they will remember this extraordinary place we have all built together: a global community looking forward to better lives, a quality environment, and increasing opportunities for our children and grandchildren.

Do these types of events work for us? Our goal has always been to make friends with site selectors, hoping the make this time together a friendship that lasts for our lives. The friendships we make these five days create a bond of trust that can last. These professionals live on airplanes, consume enormous amounts of data in their analyses, and need short turnarounds on incentives, electric rates, taxes, water – you name it. Having a trusted friend at the other end of the line or fiber optic cable increases our contact with site selectors and ultimately increases the opportunities they bring to us.

Tom Clark

Former CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Council

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