Jeff Wasden, PresidentColorado Business Roundtable
Economic Development in my own words…
To me, economic development is fostering a culture, an environment and thought processes that are centered around a healthy, vibrant, and strong economy. Scaled down, it’s the utilization and application of resources in a manner that creates increased business activity and opportunities, employment and sustainability. It is getting an infrastructure in place that allows you to attract the right mix of jobs and workforce opportunities.
ICOSA: Where are we at with economic development in Colorado?
I am extremely encouraged about where Denver and Colorado are in terms of economic development. We have incredible resources, recreational activities, and a remarkable quality of life. We have had some leaders guide us through some difficult economic times with bold, courageous guidance that has seen us not only survive but, in many cases, thrive. While we still have some challenges ahead, I am very optimistic about what local communities and counties are doing, as well as the regional cooperation we see manifested in our state.
ICOSA: Where do you think the most effort is being directed currently?
We are seeing three major efforts currently being undertaken. One is the I-70 corridor. The second is continued growth around the airport with new flights that have opened up access to new regions, as well as business opportunities in other parts of the world that we are not in currently, and finally, our work around this states precious and scare water resources.
ICOSA: Where should we be focusing more?
We need to create a conservative, workable transportation and infrastructure plan that utilizes shared resources across jurisdictions, public private partnerships that include a long-range vision. We will soon see additional overpasses and bridges that are deemed unsafe, roads that will deteriorate past patchwork, and congestion that will threaten our movement of goods and services. We need to be open to out-of-the-box, creative plans and make tough decisions on allocation of resources.
ICOSA: Where does economic development start for you?
Economic development for me starts in the same place that everything I do stems from - my core belief that collaboration and partnerships make us stronger. We as leaders need to understand that people are our greatest resources. We need to involve others, listen, and work together. Traits I strive for are a strong work ethic, coupled with an open mind and a servant’s heart. My hope is to then take these traits to get the experts in the room, create a vision and a plan and make things happen!
Jeff Wasden is with the Colorado Business Roundtable, an organization that works with leaders of great groups who work towards sound public policy and a thriving economy for Colorado and its neighbors. You can contact Jeff via email at email@example.com.