Facebook Brings Community Boost Event To Denver

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Guest column from Facebook

This week we hosted our sixth Facebook Community Boost in Denver at The Cable Center. We brought this program to the region to help equip local businesses, entrepreneurs and job seekers with digital skills training to grow their business and be more competitive.  

It is no surprise that Denver was chosen for this innovative program. The city has a strong talent pool, a vibrant small business community and a quality of life that attracts top tier talent to the region.  

But our work in Denver won’t stop when Community Boost ends. We recently announced that Facebook will train 1 million small businesses and individuals in digital skills by 2020. Through our #BoostTogether effort, we want to help small businesses and people acquire more digital skills, so they can grow their companies and find new jobs. 

According to research conducted over the summer by Morning Consult and co-sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce and Facebook, small businesses' use of Facebook’s services translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country.  In fact, one in three US small and medium sized businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform; and 42% say they've hired more people due to growth since joining Facebook.

In Denver small businesses indicated that when looking to hire, more than 8 in 10 said that digital skills were important. They also see social media as critical to their success. Nearly 79% said that creating a social media presence is important to growing their business but less than 17% said their skills in this area were excellent. It is clear our region wants more training.

Our training goal will focus on a few key areas:

Expanding our in-person programs and creating more local partnerships. Here in Denver that means identifying local organizations who can help us providing training locally.

More online curriculum and a new online e-learning platform. Through Facebook Blueprint, we have nearly 80 online courses allowing people to learn at their own pace.

Later this year we will also launch, Learn with Facebook, a free online resource to provide additional training tools.

We know that we can’t achieve this goal alone. It is why we look forward to working with local Denver organizations, policymakers and others to #BoostTogether.  

Parisa Zagat leads digital skills partnerships at Facebook.

19 - Frac Gel - Now Available at Your Local Grocery Store

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“We’ll perfect our chemistry”, A Common Goal for the Beach Boys and Liberty Oilfield Services

One common misconception of current frac fluids used in shale is that they contain hundreds of chemicals.  While this was maybe true for exotic frac fluids used decades ago on an occasional high-pressure high-temperature job, the economics of the Shale Revolution have dramatically simplified frac fluids. 

As a matter of fact, you can take just four grocery store products from Whole Foods and Walgreens and create your own frac gel.  A basic crosslinked guar system can be made with water and four simple items (see title photo):

·       Red Mill Premium Guar Gum – Thickener

·       Milk of Magnesia – High pH buffer

·       Visine Original Eyedrops – Crosslinker

·       Distilled White Vinegar – “Breaker” or low pH buffer

Warning! All the above frac fluid components are designed for either human indigestion or application into the human eye.  Please read product labels for proper use.

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In the photo above, our Lab Manager Joel Siegel demonstrates an early crosslink of this fluid system.  He has just dissolved some guar gum powder in water.  Guar gum is powder from the grinded endosperm of a guar seed, and consists of ultra-long organic molecules.  These long molecules are ideal as a healthy thickening agent in food like yoghurt or products like toothpaste.  Joel then added some Milk of Magnesia (used to help an “upset tummy”) to get to a slightly alkaline pH level.  He then added a few drops of Visine Eyedrops, which contains Boron as a preservative.  Boron doubles up as a crosslinker, tying together the long guar molecules to thicken the fluid system even more than before.  Joel mixes this in a blender for about 30 seconds, and you can see in the photo how the crosslinked gel is becoming thicker.  You can continue to mix and develop more viscosity by pouring the fluid from one cup into another while the fluid develops the characteristic fluid “lip” showing the proper fluid potential as a carrier system for proppant. 

To “break” the fluid back into a low-viscosity base gel you can now add vinegar to lower the pH to stop the effect of the crosslinker.  More Milk of Magnesia can be added to get the pH into crosslinking territory again, while more vinegar can be added to stop the crosslinking process.  And so on and so forth – we never get enough of playing with gel.

Shale Revolution Economics

Shale Revolution economics have largely driven the current industry change to slickwater fluid systems.  This was accelerated through the 2015-2016 industry downturn.

The last three years have seen an innovative march toward fewer chemicals and lower additive quantities to place a pound of proppant.  As our Engineering Manager Ben Poppel often explains, successful proppant placement used to be done with “viscosity” from frac fluid systems, but is gradually replaced by “velocity” through pump rate.  In the graph below, we see a gradual industry movement toward the fluid systems on the left.

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Slickwater is the go-to fluid for tight shales, but not all shales are the same. Some shales have higher permeabilities, possibly requiring higher proppant concentrations that generate more fracture conductivity. While higher velocities / pump rates can help place these higher proppant concentrations (or larger mesh sizes), proppant placement may still require higher viscosity for placement without screen-out risk. In other cases, water may be expensive, and the economics of the job require the use of higher proppant concentration tales with new high-visc FR systems, ultimately reducing water volumes.

Slickwater initiated the shale gas revolution in the Barnett Shale.  To make shale oil work, the early industry consensus was that higher viscosity fluids were needed to make it work.  Liberty pioneered 100% slickwater jobs in horizontal wells in the Williston Central Basin in 2011.  In the higher-permeability Niobrara in the DJ Basin we believed viscosities higher than provided by slickwater fluid was needed for enhanced proppant placement.  As such, Liberty’s Spirit system (SPE 181457 or paper summary #8 here) provided a cheaper fluid alternative in the DJ Basin than the high-cost Zirconate CMHPG system that was pumped in the basin before we arrived.  For a while during the downturn, our low-concentration Borate guar systems became more prevalent. Now, however, DJ designs have kept moving on from this transitional fluid system to mostly slickwater pumped at even higher rates.  As shown in the graph below, we now use a 10 – 12 ppt Spirit fluid system about 15% of the time we pump in the DJ Basin.

As a company, we are pumping more slickwater than ever. While there are some holdouts in the Eagle Ford and DJ, more than 85% of all the fluid we pump is slickwater – water with FR (friction reducer). In the Eagle Ford, the preference of gel system is most likely related to higher pressures and rate restrictions.

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Frac gel from Whole Foods is still too expensive to pump in bulk. However, we will continue to pump proppant with fewer additives and find greener, cheaper and cleaner additives to further perfect our chemistry.

Thank You…

To Joel Siegel and Ben Poppel for engineering our Spirit System and a 100% grocery-supplied frac gel and to Liz Wright for taking pictures.

Pinnacol Assurance Partners with Colorado Apprenticeship Program to Build Workforce of the Future

By Lori Ella Miller

While enjoying a healthy, robust economy and low unemployment, Colorado faces a challenging paradox. According to the Colorado Talent 2016 Pipeline Report, by 2020 nearly 74 percent of all jobs within the state will require some type of postsecondary education. At the same time, only 23 percent of Colorado’s graduating high schoolers are earning a college degree. This gap in career-readiness is putting local students at a severe disadvantage as they enter the workforce. At the same time, it’s making it difficult for area employers to attract qualified workers, as well as create a pipeline of steady recruits for the thousands of job opportunities in the state.

In an effort to solve the ongoing problem, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper led a contingent of community and business leaders on a trip to Switzerland to learn about that country’s successful youth apprenticeship system. The visit inspired the launch of Colorado’s first modern apprenticeship program: CareerWise Colorado. This program offers high school students real-world work experience and debt-free postsecondary education.

One of the business leaders accompanying the governor to Switzerland was Phil Kalin, president and CEO of Pinnacol Assurance, a workers’ compensation insurer headquartered in Denver that has been ranked as a Top Workplace by The Denver Post for both 2017 and 2018. At the time, Pinnacol Assurance was evaluating its own workforce development objectives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey, nearly one half of employees in the insurance industry are nearing retirement within the next decade. An analysis of Pinnacol’s own workforce demographics suggests that nearly one-third of its employees will be eligible for retirement by 2019.

Kalin and Pinnacol’s executive team see the CareerWise program as a win-win. By participating in this important public-private partnership, the company supports the community and helps build a strong workforce for its future.

“By hiring apprentices, we can continue to fill our workforce with talented employees who will bring the enthusiasm and innovation required for Pinnacol to thrive,” said Kalin.

Pinnacol Assurance is one of 44 companies partnering with CareerWise Colorado. Statewide, about 100 students have begun apprenticeships and Pinnacol hoststhe largest cohort in the program. Unlike other pilot programs, Pinnacol’s is directed by dedicated staffers who are responsible for communications between internal team stakeholders, apprenticeship recruitment, and advocating for the apprentices—therefore contributing to the success of the larger-scaled program.

One of the staff members is Apprenticeship Program Lead Julie Wilmes. Prior to joining Pinnacol, Wilmes taught public school for 10 years before going on to become an instructional designer.

“I knew this was the perfect fit for me, as I wanted to be a part of workforce development in Colorado,” said Wilmes. “Youth apprenticeships empower young people, their families, and will have a lasting impact on future generations.”

Some 50 Denver-area students threw their proverbial hats into the ring and applied to the Pinnacol Apprenticeship Program, and 20 were selected. According to Wilmes, Pinnacol hired a diverse group of students. Approximately 80 percent of the participants are students of color, which is consistent with the demographics of participating Denver schools. She added that the group is also equally split between genders. Pinnacol has already committed to onboarding up to 10 additional apprentices in 2019.

One of the best parts of the apprenticeship model is that it is accessible to all students on track to graduate from high school, regardless of socio-economic status.

“CareerWise’s modern youth apprenticeship program benefits students from any background. Regardless of demographics, students learn better when they have a real world environment in which they can apply their classroom lessons,” said CareerWise Colorado Director of Human Resources Strategy & Implementation Kathleen Brenk. “Through this business-led, student-centered model, any high school student can benefit from debt-free college credit and be career-ready when they decide to work full time in their field—whether that’s immediately after the apprenticeship or after further education.”

Over the next few years, the apprentices will rotate through Pinnacol’s departments, engage with guest speakers, shadow employees, perform productive hands-on work, and hone skills needed for a career in the insurance industry — ideally at Pinnacol.

In addition, the students earn an apprentice wage, receive retirement benefits and time-off, participate in the company’s bonus program, and are eligible for performance-based raises. Pinnacol also covers tuition costs for some postsecondary education and an insurance industry certification.

The CareerWise Colorado model is mutually beneficial for both the apprentices, as well as the businesses. Companies realize a positive return on their investment not only from the value of the apprentices’ work, but also from the impact it has on employees. That is certainly the case for Pinnacol.

According to Wilmes, “The program is a having a positive effect on morale. Our team members are growing as leaders and mentors. They feel needed, and love sharing their expertise and knowledge.”

The Pinnacol staffers, who serve as subject matter experts, train and coach the apprentices who acquire new proficiencies in team work, operations, business practices and accountability. It’s real hands-on work. The apprentices are involved in facilitating projects, developing high-level communications, planning events, and assisting operations in the Underwriting and Claims departments.

“They are taking on roles and responsibilities that free up full-time, salaried staff to focus on the more technical aspects of their jobs,” remarked Pinnacol Apprenticeship Program Manager Mark Tapy. 

High school junior and CareerWise Colorado apprentice Byonce Reyna is currently working in Pinnacol’s Communications department. Reyna pens a monthly blog for Pinnacol’s intranet that has become one of the most read articles by company employees.

Eric Miller, a high school junior on the Continuous Improvement and Lean team is gaining the skills to facilitate team meetings and help team members reach their goals. He is actively working on a project to enhance the efficiency of communications between CareerWise, schools, and businesses. His work on the evaluation of the communication process will have an impact on Pinnacol, as well as other participating companies.

Wilmes believes the CareerWise model could have a profound impact on all industries in Colorado and nationwide. “Businesses must get involved in workforce development – it’s crucial,” she said. “Companies can get apprentices in the door and train them for what your company needs now and in the future.”

At the completion of their apprenticeships, these students will finish high school with transferable college credits, at least one postsecondary credential, three years of work experience, and in many cases, an associate degree.

“I would recommend this program to my fellow students because working in a professional environment helps you to see and understand the complexity and struggles in not only the business world, but how business integrates itself into our everyday lives,” said Isabelle Benton, a 17-year-old apprentice in Pinnacol’s Special Investigations Unit. “It teaches you a sense of responsibility that you don’t really get to understand until you have the freedom to do so. In an apprenticeship, you start doing things on your own and away from the classroom environment…you are doing a job with adults and you have to think and understand things like they do. This program has changed my life.”

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Get Informed: Interactive Business Guide for education & the gubernatorial race

Colorado Business Roundtable has joined forces with 19 statewide groups and the Denver Business Journal to ask: What if Colorado students obtained the levels of education needed to compete in today’s economy?

In May, our coalition launched a new resource for Colorado employers, voters, and the gubernatorial candidates to make our state’s schools the best in the nation: A Business Guide for Colorado’s Next Governor. We are excited to present to you this interactive online tool for the convenience of making an informed decision on June 26th, our state primaries. This guide includes:

1.       New economic data showing the impact to Colorado’s economy if our state had the best schools in the country

2.       The impact of Colorado’s skills gap on employers

3.       The improvement strategies supported by Colorado voters and employers

4.       A gubernatorial candidate survey on key education issues

The findings are astounding. If Colorado students earned the levels education and training needed for Colorado jobs, after 10 years if would generate over $12 billion in increased GDP growth.

We encourage you to explore this resource before the June 26th primaries and ask that you share it with your network. Below are suggested social media posts to can use to spread the word:


This Business Guide for Colorado’s Next Governor shows the economic impact to CO if our schools were #1 nationally, as well as the improvement strategies voters & employers support: BestSchoolsCO.org #BestSchoolsCO #COpolitics #edcolo


Get Informed: A new interactive guide for the gubernatorial race shows the impact to Colorado’s economy if our state had the best schools in the nation, as well as the improvement strategies supported by CO voters and employers. Know where your gubernatorial candidates, employers, and your fellow Coloradans stand on education in the state by the June 26th primaries. Check it out www.BestSchoolsCO.org #BestSchoolsCO #COpolitics #edcolo

For Astronaut Safety NASA Should Look To Colorado

Author: Jeff Wasden

Colorado doesn’t always come to mind when people think of America’s space legacy. After all, no one ever said, “Denver, we have a problem.” Meanwhile, our researchers and aerospace manufacturers are quietly shaping the state’s economy, America’s space future, and astronaut safety. 

Employees from eight of the country’s top aerospace manufacturers are hard at work right here in Colorado preparing NASA for 21st century spaceflight. One of those companies, Denver-based United Launch Alliance, has nearly 130 successful launches – a remarkable accomplishment in contrast to some recent flame-outs on the launch pads. Independently, Boeing is working to build the Space Launch System for NASA, to begin the journey to Mars.

Amidst this friendly competition, it is easy to forget about the safety of the astronauts who put their lives in the hands of Colorado’s engineers amongst others.

It is shocking to many to learn that SpaceX plans to fuel their rocket with the astronauts already onboard. This ‘load and go’ method needlessly risks astronaut lives in an effort to cut corners and eke out power from an undersized platform. SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 exploded on the launch pad in 2016 using this exact same fueling technique and a NASA safety panel has urged this risky proposal be reconsidered.

It’s not the first safety question mark to be raised about SpaceX’s hurry up approach to development.  The company lost a Falcon 9 rocket and (thankfully unmanned) Dragon capsule in 2015 and one of its Merlin rockets exploded during testing late last year.

Elon Musk recently stated in “The Verge” that, “We certainly could load propellants and then have the astronauts board Dragon.”  If SpaceX can do this, why don’t they eliminate the high-risk operation?  In this case it appears the SpaceX ideology of risk taking is prioritized over safety.  

NASA’s requirements demand that the odds of dying can be no greater than 1 in 270 flights. Counting the 2016 explosion and another in 2015 with the Falcon 9, SpaceX does not meet that criteria if they intend to carry our most precious cargo, America’s astronauts. Space travel will never be completely safe, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

And given Colorado’s central role in America’s leadership in space, this is a discussion our state need to be leading. After all, Colorado boasts the country’s 2nd largest aerospace economy, with nearly 190,000 space related jobs which puts us number one in the nation per capita.

And our universities in Colorado are a key driver for cutting-edge space research. In fact, there are twenty former NASA astronauts affiliated with the University of Colorado and two are currently on staff. This commitment to space education explains why CU receives more NASA research funding than any other public university. And just down the road at the U.S. Air Force Academy you will find the nation’s 2nd ranked aerospace program. 

Thankfully, Colorado companies, like Boeing, and ULA, our researchers, and our students understand this, and are committed to putting men and women in space and bringing them safely home. When NASA calibrated the chance of a fatal incident on the historic Shuttle flights, it came in at 1 in 12. While some cargo like Facebook’s communications satellite can be insured, human life is far too valuable to leave up to chance.

Source: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/01/for-...

Get Used To Low Unemployment Rates - Thanks To The Federal Tax Cuts

Author: Jeff Wasden

Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the national unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, the lowest rate this century. Colorado’s is even better at 2.9 percent. Even the best forecasters couldn’t have predicted such a strong labor market six years ago when the unemployment rate was twice this level. Currently there are 6.6 million unfilled jobs across the nation, suggesting the unemployment rate could fall even further.

This strong labor market is largely a result of the current economic expansion. Economic growth in recent quarters has finally been near the 3 percent level this country is used to, following many years in the 2 percent range. Again, Colorado’s economic growth is even better —  at 3.6 percent last year. But solid economic growth alone can’t account for this historically low unemployment rate. For that, we should thank the recent Republican tax cuts, which have added fuel to the economic fire.

The tax cuts included a new 20 percent small-business tax deduction — the biggest small-business tax cut in the nation’s history. Like me, you probably know of several small businesses just barely hanging on in today’s competitive economy. This tax relief will allow them to protect one-fifth of their earnings from taxes. These saving can then be directed to the expansion, capital expenditures, and hiring they need to become more competitive and stay in business.

This deduction should also help address the historically low small-business startup rate. In contrast to nearly all other economic indicators, the startup rate has not recovered from the Great Recession. The new small-business tax cut will give potential entrepreneurs extra incentive to follow their dreams. Because these small firms account for two-thirds of all new jobs created, such a small business expansion will help the labor market even more.

No wonder small businesses support the tax cuts by a 10-to-1 margin, according to a recent survey conducted by the Job Creators Network.

The tax cuts also brought the nation’s corporate tax rate in line with international standards. This allows American businesses to better compete with their foreign counterparts, which ironically have often been in a better position to invest in the U.S. because their home governments tax away less of their earnings.

Instead of American companies “investing” abroad to try to better compete in today’s global marketplace, companies are now returning to — and expanding in — the U.S. because the tax climate is finally fair again. These include major employers such as Bayer, Amazon, Ford, and Broadcom.

In these conditions, it’s easy to see how the unemployment rate has fallen to a historic low. But it’s not only jobs that these businesses are providing with their tax cuts. They’re also delivering higher wages. Over 500 businesses, including some of the nation’s biggest employers such as Walmart (1.5 million U.S. employees) AT&T (200,000 employees) and Starbucks (250,000 employees), have directed part of their tax cut savings to increased employee compensation. As a result, median wages are growing at their fastest pace in a decade after many years of stagnating.

Congressional Democrats — led by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis — have promised to repeal these tax cuts if they retake power on Election Day this fall. They complain these are merely tax cuts for the rich. That is not true. The share of taxes paid by the rich actually increases under this law. Not only are ordinary Americans benefiting from reductions in their individual income tax, but they are also benefiting from the greater prosperity, more job opportunities, and higher wages spurred by tax cuts.

An unemployment rate below four percent may be an anomaly. But as long as the tax cuts remain in place, stimulating the economy, expect to see this far more frequently in the future.

Source: https://coloradopolitics.com/get-used-to-l...

How Companies Can Boost Their Employee Well-being Programs

5 tips to help drive employee engagement and satisfaction 

By Sandra Crews, Health Strategist, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado

An increasing number of companies are implementing well-being programs to help their employees live healthier lives, reduce health care costs, and improve employee productivity and satisfaction.

A recent employer survey by Willis Towers Watson found that 72 percent of U.S. companies “aim to improve their health and well-being strategies and programs over the next three years to differentiate themselves from organizations with which they compete for talent.”

In fact, more than half (53 percent) of employees with access to a company well-being program say the initiative has made a positive impact on their health, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey. Among those, 88 percent said the programs motivated them to pay more attention to their health, 67 percent said the initiatives helped them reduce their bodyweight, and 30 percent said the resources helped detect a disease or medical condition.

May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, an ideal time for employers to research, assess and enhance well-being programs. To help employers support their employees’ health goals, here are five “Cs” that may drive engagement and create a successful well-being program.

·       Commitment – Executive leadership must make wellness a priority by leading the program and creating a culture of well-being. It is important to set the tone for your organization and serve as “CEO of Well-being” by passionately and visibly supporting, participating in and communicating the importance of wellness. Also, mid-level managers and direct supervisors should also set the tone for their departments by informing, educating and motivating employees.  

·       Communication – When it comes to well-being programs, don’t “launch it and leave it.” Establish communication touch-points throughout the year that reintroduce employees to the program and remind them about the value of participating. Show what’s in it for them, from the intrinsic perspective (their health) to the extrinsic perspective (available incentives). To support those efforts, consider forming a “Wellness Champion Network” composed of a group of volunteer employees who help in planning, communicating and implementing the program. Also, a well-being program website or intranet site can provide information and enable employees to get their questions answered.

·       Culture Employees spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else, so it makes sense that creating a healthier environment would help support positive behavior changes. Some examples include providing stress-related educational information, creating indoor/outdoor walking paths, installing bike racks and on-site exercise equipment or yoga classes, a lunchtime walking club or a “Take the Stairs” campaign, and providing healthier vending options.

·       Cash – Research shows that valued incentives drive participation, which can ultimately lead to engagement. Incentives must resonate with your unique workforce. For example, merchant gift cards and premium credits resonate well with most employees. But incentives are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The value and appeal of a particular incentive varies among employees, making the right incentive selection important.

·       Contribute – A well-being program cannot be billed as “employee–focused” if employee input is not solicited and applied. By giving employees an opportunity to share their feedback, they can provide key information to structure the program to help meet their needs and interests, and give employees a sense of ownership. Remember to solicit and give open and honest feedback to further identify what is working and what needs to change to increase engagement and satisfaction.

These five Cs can help improve your company’s well-being program and earn an A+ in employee engagement. For more information about well-being programs, visit UHC.com.


Teledyne Brown Engineering and DLR: Expanding the Possibilities of Earth Observation

Teledyne Brown Engineering has partnered with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) to host the International Space Station’s (ISS) first commercial hyperspectral sensor.  The DESIS-30 (DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer) is scheduled to be hosted aboard Teledyne’s ISS-based Multi User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) platform in June of 2018.  The DESIS-30 is an Offner spectrometer with a spectral range of 400 to 1000 nm (VIS-NIR).  With 2.55nm sampling and 235 spectral channels, it will be the highest-fidelity hyperspectral sensor in operation.   DLR will use the acquired hyperspectral imagery for scientific investigations while Teledyne will make it available for commercial applications. 

Teledyne’s MUSES platform was launched to the ISS in June of 2017 and achieved full operating capability in September of the same year.   The platform was developed as part of a cooperative agreement with NASA to create opportunities for both Government and commercial applications such as imaging, technology demonstration and space qualification payloads supporting research, scientific studies and humanitarian efforts.  Once DESIS-30 is in place, the platform will have remaining capacity for three additional payloads to support other imagers, technology demonstrations and space qualification missions.

“The differentiator of the MUSES platform is that by leveraging the ISS infrastructure; time to orbit is significantly reduced, mission length is adjusted to meet the needs of the customer, and the payload can be returned to earth for analysis or reuse.”, stated Jack Ickes, Senior Vice President of Geospatial Solutions at Teledyne Brown Engineering.  “We are providing companies and researchers a path to low-earth orbit where their hardware can be deployed and returned for a fraction of the cost and effort otherwise incurred by satellite deployment.”

The MUSES pointing capability of 5o/45o cross track and +/- 25o along track significantly improves the revisit time of the DESIS-30 imager over the baseline ISS Orbit. Teledyne’s Amazon-Cloud based Data Management System will process and make acquired imagery available within hours. This high degree of agility and processing speed makes it possible to provide information for disaster response in near real time.

DLR and Teledyne want to leverage the data from DESIS and future MUSES instruments to further improve Earth observation and to expand the use of hyperspectral sensing in commercial applications. The ISS circles the earth 16 times per day, giving the platform and its instruments frequent and broad coverage of its surfaces. Once operational, images from DESIS-30 will be available for access via Amazon Cloud for research purposes around the globe.  

Relieving Some Of The Burden

As a former operating small business owner, I know firsthand the challenges that face Colorado's 611,000 small businesses on a day-to-day basis. And it can be very overwhelming.

But luckily for them - as well as for the other 29 million small businesses across the country - the current administration in Washington is relieving some of that burden. Not only are costly regulations being slashed, but the tax relief package that was passed and signed into law late last year is giving small businesses some budgetary wiggle room to hire more people, raise wages, and expand.

The results have been impressive. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals the lowest unemployment rate since 2000. And to build off that, the unemployment rate for minority Americans has hit an all-time low.

While many seek to downplay the positive impacts of Tax Reform and Jobs Act, as well as other pro-business policies enacted by the Trump administration, they are having a significant impact for small business owners across Colorado and the nation.

Jeff Wasden, Colorado Business Roundtable

Highlands Ranch

How To Make An Impact With Your Investments

With Earth Day fresh in our rearview mirrors, it’s an opportune time to think about how to best incorporate sustainable investments into your portfolio. Let’s look at the numbers. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to increase by as much as 33 percent.  This means in a few decades, there could be two and a half billion more consumers utilizing resources that are already limited. As living standards rise for people across the world, the global need for food, water and energy will increase at an even faster rate. It’s no wonder that more and more investors are voicing their environmental sustainability beliefs or dissention via socially responsible investments - a trend that has surged in the past decade.

What is Sustainable and Impact Investing?

Sustainable and Impact Investing means investors are considering what’s called environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as part of their investment process. Whether their focus is on advancing environmental causes, building healthy communities or promoting corporate ethics, investors feel they can make a difference in the world through their investment choices.

Growth of Sustainable and Impact Investment Funds

According to US SIF (The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment), assets in professionally managed sustainable, responsible and impact investments in the United States totaled $8.1 trillion in 2016 – up 33 percent from 1995. Furthermore, Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing says this type of investing has experienced a 135 percent increase in assets under management since 2012

How to Find Socially Responsible Investments

With more than 1,000 distinct funds, representing $2.6 trillion in assets that incorporated ESG criteria into their investment decision-making in 2016, there are many opportunities for individual investors to find suitable impact investment funds. A full spectrum of approaches is now available for all investors.

The Performance Question

Proponents of sustainable and impact investments have always had to combat the notion that these investment funds underperform when compared to the broader universe of investments. But there is a growing body of evidence that suggests otherwise.

Morgan Stanley conducted a proprietary study in 2015 to examine performance of more than 10,000 mutual funds and 2,800 Separately Managed Accounts over a seven-year period. The results showed that sustainable strategies often perform in line with, or better than, their traditional counterparts.

We, as investors, can all help drive positive environmental, social and governance outcomes by “voting” with our investment dollars.  In order to create a successful sustainable investing plan, it is important for you to understand your personal financial goals and social motivations.  Working with a financial advisor can help you understand and align these goals into a personalized investment plan that could have a real social impact.

Madison Carter is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. She can be reached at 303-316-5169. Email her at Madison.anne.carter@morganstanley.com or visit her website: https://fa.morganstanley.com/thecherrycreekgroup/.

The Positive Contributions Of Immigrants In Colorado

With Tax Day fresh in our rearview mirror, it’s a good time to reflect on the contributions immigrants make to our economy. Nationally, immigrants earned $1.4 trillion in 2016 and contributed more than $117 billion in state and local taxes, as well as almost $262 billion in federal taxes. This left them with more than $1.0 billion in spending power. Immigrants in Colorado play an important role in contributing to the state’s economy both as consumer and as taxpayers.

According to research, there are more than half a million immigrant residents in Colorado, representing 10 percent of Colorado’s population. They pay almost $4 billion in taxes and hold over $12 billion in spending power. There are 36,354 immigrant entrepreneurs in Colorado and 83,794 people employed by immigrant-owned firms in Colorado.

Immigrants are people with big dreams and big plans, who are willing to take risks and make sacrifices for the betterment of their families and their adopted countries. These are also some of the very characteristics that are valuable in business, particularly in states like Colorado with booming startup and tech communities.

That’s why it is so important that we give young immigrants an opportunity to learn and use the skills needed to become the next generation of entrepreneurs in our country. Both the immigrants who dream of coming here and those who are already here. Dreamers are the young adults who were brought here illegally as children and through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been granted the opportunity to study, work, and start businesses here.

Our economy is fueled by immigrants, and, in Denver alone, 22 percent of ‘main street’ businesses are owned by immigrants. In fact, modernizing our outdated and burdensome immigration system could create upwards of 4,700 new jobs and add $2.7 billion to Colorado’s economy. Instead, we have laws on the books that prevent skilled immigrants from actively participating in our economy. This is a disservice to our state.

Providing an earned pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. would increase their wages and spending power, U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion over 10 years, generate $184 billion in additional state and local and federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants, and add more than 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy.

We should protect current immigration levels and work to pass immigration reform that makes it safer, faster and more efficient for prospective immigrants to enter the U.S. and begin contributing to our society.

Kaytia King

FWD.us Colorado Organizing Manager

A look at ethanol and our environment during Earth Month

As we mark Earth month, it’s more important than ever to stress the importance of renewable fuels and the role ethanol plays in our air quality. We should take every step possible to protect our environment, and supporting ethanol is a large part of that. It’s time we remind folks about the benefits of corn-based ethanol.

Compared to gasoline, ethanol significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality.  Based on studies conducted for the USDA, corn-based ethanol has the potential to help us reach a reduction in greenhouse gasses of nearly 75% in the next five years. Ethanol contains 35% oxygen to assist in more complete fuel combustion, which means less harmful tailpipe emissions.

We all have a choice when we fuel up; why not choose an American-produced, renewable fuel, and cleaner air? E15 is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Currently, almost every gas station in America sells a 10 percent blend, but many more are starting to offer E15. E15 is approved for any vehicle manufactured since 2001 – nearly 9 out of 10 cars on the road today – and it contains more ethanol, which means lower prices, cleaner air and better performance.

Stimulating growth in ethanol demand is not just good for our environment. It is a benefit to our nation by providing consumers with better, homegrown, less expensive fuel which increases our energy independence and provides nearly 360,000 industry jobs.

Agriculture is a critically important facet of our nation’s food security, our nation’s economy, as well as our nation’s energy independence. Farmers are stewards of the land and environment; they practice sustainability through land conservation and preservation, and with the help of technology and science are able to produce more with less.  The techniques available to farmers today are amazing.

Globally, coarse grains used for ethanol production have increased, while the amount of land used to grow these grains has decreased 6.7 percent between 1980 and 2015, according to the USDA.

During this time period, grain production more than doubled in the U.S. on fewer acres and best of all, producers cut nutrient use (i.e. nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) in half.

Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. It requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels.

Most gasoline used in the United States is blended to E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol. A change in the RFS in 2015 created incentives to make greater use of E85 and E15, which contain more ethanol.

The RFS as it stands now is working and is important to economic resurgence for rural Colorado, and ultimately, our nation. It’s encouraging that President Trump stated earlier this month he is committed to supporting the RFS and year-round E15. We are now asking Congress to do the same.

Increasing the use of ethanol benefits our nation and our citizenry because ethanol is a homegrown, less expensive fuel, resulting in cleaner air. And that’s something we should all get behind for Earth Month and every month of the year.

Mark Sponsler

Chief Executive Officer

Colorado Corn Growers Assn/Colorado Corn Administrative Committee

Transportation Statement by Jeff Wasden

Colorado Business Roundtable understands the importance of an efficient, integrated transportation system to our business community. Our infrastructure is the platform for a modern, competitive economy, one that allows for productivity, innovation, safe movement of goods, and supports a high quality of life.

Colorado, like the United States, has failed to make adequate investments in transportation. Disagreements among business groups mirrors the challenges legislators have faced on finding the right strategy to fund our $9 billion dollar shortfall. Priorities should center on statewide solutions, accelerating our permitting process, attracting private investment, and allows for local input on pressing priorities.

Thanks to the leadership of many in and out of the Capitol, a compromise version of SB1 passed unanimously out of the State Senate and has become the consensus choice among Colorado’s leading business organizations. The two key components that business groups are rallying behind is the $495 million from this year’s budget surplus, and a long-term commitment of funding towards transportation. If SB1 passes, it will represent the largest commitment towards transportation in over 20 years.

A large and growing coalition of business groups have begun rallying around SB1, urging the House to pass the Senate’s bill. The coalition is particularly notable as it includes groups that have disagreed in the past on transportation funding, and still may disagree about future steps towards a solution, but they all agree that SB1 is the most important first step.

Colorado Business Roundtable stands in support of SB1 and encourages leadership in the House to pass this key piece of legislation that is critical to our economic future, safety of our workforce and residents, and the quality of life we enjoy in Colorado.

SB1 Coalition Members

  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Business Roundtable
  • Colorado Concern
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Motor Carriers Association
  • Colorado Contractors Association
  • Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation
  • Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
  • Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Denver South Economic Development Partnership
  • Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors

Statement on Tariffs - Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA



Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA

April 2018

The Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA (CBL4NAFTA) strongly encourage President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and other Administration officials to extend the steel and aluminum exemptions placed on our neighbors and NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, and make them permanent.

The U.S. Administration is not wrong that bad faith actors have sought to undermine U.S. metals manufacturing, dumping their product into our markets at unfair rates to drive competitors out of business. However, Canada and Mexico have not been bad actors. Indeed, U.S. domestic manufacturing markets are deeply entwined with those of our North American partners. For example: American steelworkers share the same union representation with their Canadian counterparts, and the majority of steel firms have long-established cross-border operations that employ thousands. Moreover, thanks to rigorous monitoring about which products may enter their borders, neither Canada nor Mexico may be used as a “back door” for illegally dumped materials to enter into the United States.

Our markets need to be made secure, and our North American allies are a part of the solution.

CBL4NAFTA condemns any attempt by the Administration or other influencers to use tariffs as a leveraging tool in NAFTA renegotiations, as has been speculated in the media. These two issues are separate. Neither Canada nor Mexico presents a national security threat – as defined under Section 232 – to the United States. Indeed, as a NORAD and NATO partner, Canada would be considered America’s strongest and most loyal ally, having stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. in every major conflict since World War One.

CBL4NAFTA supports any effort that will bring jobs and economic prosperity to American workers. It is our belief that a unified and outward-facing North American bloc is the best way to ensure the prosperity for our people, our businesses, and our communities – in Colorado and across the continent – both now and into the future.

The United States should be clear in word and deed: America First does not mean America Alone. Our NAFTA partners are our allies as we look to make the global marketplace a more fair and robust system where industry can compete. Making these tariff exemptions permanent would be a clear signal to the world that the United States remains open for business.

Colorado Business Leaders for NAFTA

Karen Gerwitz, Co-Chair                                                        Jeff Wasden, Co-Chair

World Trade Center Denver                                                   Colorado Business Roundtable

New Study Shows Pension Reform Can Generate Billions of Dollars for Schools, Roads and Other Pressing Budget Needs in Colorado

Lawmakers Can Save Taxpayers $2 Billion to $4 Billion Over 10 Years with Modest Changes to PERA and Hickenlooper Plans

CSPR Chairman Earl Wright: “A plan that eliminates the unfunded liability by forcing school districts, state agencies and local governments to pay even more would be no real victory at all.”

DENVER, CO – A small number of targeted changes to existing pension reform plans could save billions of dollars for school districts, local governments and other public institutions over the next decade in Colorado, according to a new study released by the REMI Partnership.

The savings – measured against proposals from the Colorado Public Employee Retirees’ Association (PERA) and the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper – could free up $2 billion to $4 billion over 10 years for transportation, education, public safety and other worthy budget demands.

“The PERA Board and the Hickenlooper Administration deserve credit for producing serious and thoughtful proposals for eliminating the state pension system’s $32 billion unfunded liability,” said Chris Brown, Director of Policy and Research for the partnership and the lead author of the study. “Additional changes to the benefit structure will not only eliminate PERA’s $32 billion unfunded liability, they would also lessen the burden on taxpayers and state and local government.”

“Annual pension costs for school districts, cities, counties and other public institutions have doubled over the past decade to roughly $1.6 billion per year,” Brown said. “There are ways to ease the heavy burden of these annual pension costs and eliminate the long-term $32 billion unfunded liability at the same time. And it can be done with a few adjustments to the plans already put forward by the PERA Board and Hickenlooper Administration, without undermining retirement security for our public workforce,” Brown concluded. 

“A plan that eliminates the unfunded liability by forcing school districts, state agencies and local governments to pay even more would be no real victory at all,” said Earl Wright, Chairman of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR) Board of Directors. “Annual pension costs are crushing state, local and school district budgets and crowding out badly needed investments in roads, schools and other essential public services.”

“The research also shows average retirement benefits are growing faster than average paychecks for public employees who are still in the workforce, as rising pension costs reduce the funds available for raises,” Wright said. 

“This study does not support or oppose any one reform plan, but instead puts the concerns of Colorado taxpayers front and center. The $32 billion unfunded liability must be eliminated, of course, and we urge all stakeholders to find a solution this year. But whatever solution is found, the rising annual cost of PERA contributions to school boards, local governments, the state budget and ultimately taxpayers must be a key consideration throughout the debate. It shouldn’t be swept under the rug or treated as an afterthought,” Wright concluded.

The study, released today, is titled “One Step Further on PERA Reform: How to build on proposals from Colorado PERA and Governor Hickenlooper to eliminate unfunded liabilities and reduce burdens on state, local and school district budgets.” To foster a comprehensive and productive debate over public pension reforms in Colorado, the REMI Partnership closely examined the PERA and Hickenlooper Administration proposals, and then built a series of alternative scenarios for policy makers to consider.

Like the PERA and Hickenlooper plans, the alternative scenarios presented – dubbed “Hickenlooper Plus” – would raise the retirement age for new public employees, increase the number of years used in the Highest Average Salary calculation of base retirement benefits, and temporarily suspend the automatic Annual Increase in benefit levels.

But unlike the PERA and Hickenlooper plans, which would increase or maintain today’s high taxpayer contribution rates, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios would make a modest reduction in order to provide some budget relief to school districts, local governments and state agencies. On the benefits side, to further manage costs, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios would also reset the Annual Increase at lower levels than the 1.5 percent and 1.25 percent proposed by PERA and the Hickenlooper Administration respectively. 

On the issue of the assumed rate of return, the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios examine a range of options between 6.5 percent and 7 percent, compared to PERA’s current 7.25 percent. In developing the Hickenlooper Plus scenarios, the REMI Partnership was granted permission to view PERA’s forecasting tools, and therefore we believe each scenario has a similar amortization timetable as the PERA and Hickenlooper reform proposals, i.e. 30 years.

“For more than a decade, state lawmakers have approved major increases in taxpayer-funded PERA contributions to pay off the pension system’s unfunded liability, and yet the unfunded liability has continued to grow,” said Simon Lomax, an adviser to CSPR and a co-author of the “One Step Further on PERA Reform” study.

“We don’t have to look at the unfunded liability in isolation. We can take a whole-of-government approach to pension reform that recognizes all the other services state, local and school district officials are expected to provide within their limited budgets. Common sense demands that we fully examine the alternatives before throwing more money at the problem,” Lomax concluded.

About the REMI Partnership: Common Sense Policy Roundtable, Colorado Concern, Colorado Association of REALTORS®, Colorado Bankers Association, and Denver South Economic Development Partnership have partnered to develop independent, fact-based analysis that quantifies the broader economic impacts associated with policy changes. The partnership has provided Colorado lawmakers, policy makers, business leaders, and citizens with greater insight into the economic impact of public policy decisions that face the state and surrounding regions. 

What Colorado Local Governments Need to Know About Small Cells

Wireless technology continues to play a more integral role in our lives. Smartphones and other connected devices – from navigation systems to fitness trackers – allow us to stream videos, get directions, monitor our activity, conduct business, and stay in touch with our loved ones. They also keep us safe. In the U.S., nearly 80% of adults own smartphones and more than 80% of 911 calls are made with wireless devices. Access to mobile technology is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity for citizens and first responders as well as local government officials, who all depend on wireless connectivity daily.

A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that over 50% of American households are wireless only, and of households with landlines, 38% report receiving all or almost all calls on wireless devices. Additionally, Cisco predicts that mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021, which is due largely in part to the “Internet of Things” (IoT). As our world becomes increasingly connected, it is critical for local governments in Colorado and across the country to understand how wireless technology – specifically, “small cell” solutions – will expand cellular coverage and network capacity, and serve as the backbone for 5G and IoT.

Small cell solutions are smaller than traditional towers or rooftop installations and are often installed on existing right-of-way infrastructure like street signs, telephone poles, or streetlights. They are being deployed successfully all over Colorado. Many cities and counties have collaborative relationships and signed agreements in place to ensure a streamlined deployment process. When local governments understand the public benefits of working collaboratively with infrastructure providers, deployment is swift and the outcome is a more connected, safer community.

One example of a successful collaboration between a local government and an infrastructure provider is when Crown Castle, the nation’s largest communications infrastructure company, deployed small cells in support of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championship in Vail, CO. Public safety officials and other stakeholders, led by the state of Colorado FirstNet team, wanted a wireless infrastructure solution that was capable of supporting 4G LTE applications to monitor activities during the event. Crown Castle worked closely with the state of Colorado to set up a public safety network demonstration that enabled officials to test applications in practical situations, including real-time video, push-to-talk, Voice over IP (VoIP), situational awareness, and others. The network was designed to improve wireless coverage and provide much needed data capacity while preserving the beauty of Vail.

As part of a larger, nationwide small cell deployment effort, Crown Castle is currently upgrading Denver’s existing wireless infrastructure by deploying a robust small cell network and over 130 new miles of lightning-fast fiber optic cable that will pave the way for next-generation networks such as 5G, which promise to turn innovations including autonomous vehicles and citywide data sharing into reality. Working closely in partnership with city staff, Crown Castle intends to enable improved wireless broadband service while keeping Denver’s character intact.

Scott Harry is the West Region Government Relations Manager for Crown Castle.

Transportation Solutions

Transportation is front and center in the minds of our legislators, business leaders, workforce, and families all across the state. A robust and well-maintained surface transportation network- including roads and bridges, public transit and rail systems- has been essential to America’s economic success and dynamism. Growing frustration continues to mount as bipartisan solutions have been elusive. Colorado’s population continues to swell and our congestion woes mount. Studies estimate traffic congestion cost Americans $124 billion, a number projected to rise to $185 billion by 2030. By 2030, the average American household is expected to incur traffic-related costs of $2,301 per year, a 33% increase compared to 2013.

Solutions have been caught up in partisan politics and differing interests. Various stakeholders have advanced ideas from specific ownership taxes, raising the gas tax, an increase in sales tax, and bonding among others. A bipartisan approach didn’t have the support of enough legislators last year to make it out of the legislature and on to voters. This year, SB-1 has been introduced, and once again, it appears to be destined to a similar partisan demise.

Colin Powell once stated, “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” There is a solution, a path forward that will create a win for business, workers, and communities all across Colorado.

Industry and associations aligning ourselves behind competing measures have dampened our ability to ensure a successful solution with Colorado voters. Taking multiple initiatives to the ballot will create confusion, doubt and not generate the critical buy-in and support necessary for a successful answer to Colorado’s transit needs.

As leaders, we need to put forth the types of solutions that can be successful and help move Colorado forward. We owe it our constituents, members, workforce, and future generations to craft a solution that will garner bipartisan support and also voter enthusiasm -and votes-in November. While other solutions may exist, the Colorado Business Roundtable is putting forth the following proposal that combines the various stakeholder interests, addresses Colorado’s pressing issues, and provides a new, sustainable, and long-term funding source. 

Colorado’s transportation solution should incorporate a two-pronged approach. First, pass SB-1 and use the benefits of bonding general fund dollars to provide direct relief for some of Colorado’s most urgent needs. Bonding will allow us to take advantage of low interest rates and today’s construction costs. While an important first step, it only addresses the 35% of the state’s transportation shortfall, necessitating a second step. At the appropriate time, we put forth a new, dedicated funding source that will provide critical O&M dollars and money for local transit projects, and communities. Coordinating the timing of ballot questions, combing resources and building a successful coalition should be the focus of a successful transportation system for Coloradans.

We have the leadership to get this accomplished. Unifying around a common, coordinated plan is not only the right approach, it is the only winning approach to provide Coloradans with an efficient, safe, and reliable transportation system. Fix Colorado Roads, with the support of ALL coalition stakeholders, can take the lead on bonding and the Denver Chamber and Coloradans for Coloradans collation, with support of ALL coalition stakeholders can continue to lead on new, sustainable funding source. We must align efforts, present a united front, and work together. That is indeed the Colorado way, and the right formula for this critical, economic imperative.

With thanks,
Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable

The Internet Remains Open and Free

Author: Roberta Robinette, AT&T Colorado President

If you are like me and follow news about the internet, you have no doubt seen the screaming headlines about net neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission. Contrary to what made those headlines so clickable, the FCC did not radically change how the internet operates.  Rather, the FCC did right by consumers by returning to the light-touch regulatory framework that allowed the internet to thrive from 1996-2015.  That bipartisan light touch framework successfully protected consumers and governed the internet from its inception more than 20 years ago until 2015.  Over the decades, the internet grew, innovation exploded, and the nation witnessed unprecedented investment.

In 2015, then-Chairman Wheeler’s FCC took the radical and unprecedented step of subjecting the internet for the first time to 80 year old public utility regulations that were written for the technology and the marketplace from a bygone era that the internet has largely replaced – monopoly telephone service.  These rules slowed broadband deployment nationwide, especially in rural and underserved communities.  Additionally, the application of these decades-old common carrier reporting requirements and the specter of further regulatory micromanagement overwhelmed small internet service providers and reduced their longer-term incentives to invest in the next generation broadband technologies necessary for a 21st century economy. Overall broadband investment has dropped by billions of dollars since 2015 – a first in the absence of a recession.

With so much emotion and hyperbole surrounding the net neutrality issue, it’s important to be aware of the existing consumer protections and antitrust laws that continue to keep the internet open and free:

·       Federal regulators have ample authority to police and enforce compliance with the FCC’s rules, including the requirement for ISPs to accurately disclose any blocking, throttling, and/or prioritization practices. The FCC has authority to bring enforcement actions – and impose significant penalties – if it were to find a provider’s blocking, throttling or prioritization practices to be inconsistent with the provider’s disclosures.

·       The FCC also monitors the broadband market and identifies market entry barriers by, among other activities, reviewing informal complaints filed by consumers, and will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate with respect to failures to comply with the Internet Freedom Order.

·       Antitrust laws protect competition in all sectors of the economy where the antitrust agencies have jurisdiction. Application of these strong, enforceable antitrust laws would address any of the hypothetical harms, should any ever materialize. If internet service providers were, contrary to the history of the internet and their own business interests, to enter into agreements to unfairly block, throttle, or discriminate against internet conduct or applications, they could be subject to enforcement under anti-trust laws. Applying the same body of law to internet service providers, edge providers, and all internet actors avoids regulatory distortions.

·       State attorneys general also have authority in appropriate cases to enforce state unfair competition and consumer protection laws against internet service providers.

Despite these existing protections, some people are pushing for legislation that would regulate the internet at the state and local level.  But the internet does not stop at the state line or city limit.  State and local laws to regulate the internet are not only unnecessary, they would also do more harm than good by discouraging investment and putting a drag on the economy.   It’s not hard to imagine how a patchwork of inconsistent regulations – from potentially 50 different states and countless municipalities – would fracture the internet, confuse consumers, and harm competition. And, just like the burdensome 2015 FCC Order, such regulation would stifle investment—investment that we know is a key component to a thriving Colorado economy. 

The internet is too important to our lives, our economy and our future to be subject to ever-changing political winds.  AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson recently emphasized that, ultimately, congressional action is needed to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.  Federal legislation would not only ensure consumers' rights are protected, but it would provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications.

In the very near future, technological advances like self-driving cars, remote surgery and augmented reality will demand even greater performance from the internet. Without predictable rules for how the internet works, it will be difficult to meet the demands of these new technology advances.

3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll


This is the first in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

Most Americans Say They Are on Track to Realize Their Financial Goals – Are You One of Them?

Americans are confident they are on track to achieve their long-term financial goals, according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll. The poll surveyed 1,000 U.S. households of high net worth individuals, a third of which had investible assets of $1 million or more.

Ninety-one percent of those polled believe they are on the right path to achieve their long-term financial goals, the top three being saving for retirement, transitioning wealth to the next generation, and paying off a mortgage.

Among those ages 40+ and more secure vs. 20s

Among those ages 30+

While nearly every high net worth investor is somewhat, if not very, happy with their financial situation today, they, too, have financial concerns like the rest of us. What keeps them up at night? Maintaining wealth throughout their lifetime with the same standard of living, having money for retirement and unexpected medical costs were some of high net worth investors’ top concerns. Nearly 90 percent of middle-aged or older investors wish they would have started saving for their goals sooner— with about half of that pointing to retirement in particular.

The state of the economy and the investment climate

The survey also gauged investors’ sentiment toward the broader economy, especially given we are experiencing fairly strong economic growth in the U.S. and globally. With the market highs and milestones we’ve crossed lately, investors are watching closely to see if the steady growth will change any time soon. Based on Morgan Stanley’s projections, we expect 2018 could be another good year for our economy, though investor sentiment is split.

The Investor Pulse Poll shows investors are almost evenly divided between those believing it will be a good time to invest and those who are neutral, with only a minority predicting this year will be bad for investments.

Erring on the side of caution, Morgan Stanley is advising investors to consider classic performers such as energy, industrials and tech. These sectors have been working well lately thanks, in part, to the return of capital spending and higher oil prices.

Stocks or equities are expected to comprise the biggest part of high net worth investors’ portfolios in 2018, especially in the tech industry. Technology is seen as the leading investment sector of 2018, followed by bio-tech and energy.

Investors continue to rely on and leverage these insights from financial professionals to build out their ideal portfolios.



This is the second in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

The Importance of Financial Planning – Do You Have a Plan?

More than half of high net worth investors in the U.S. currently work with a financial professional. This is according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. households of high net worth individuals, a third of which had investible assets of $1 million or more.

Planning is a critical component of reaching your financial goals. To plan for the rest of 2018, start by asking yourself a few questions:

·       Did you meet your 2017 financial goals? Were they feasible? Did anything major distract you from sticking to them that could still be at play?

·       Have you had any major financial changes recently (like a new job or a new home) that would impact your financial plan for 2018? How might you need to adjust your planning to accommodate those changes?

Answering these types of questions will help you see where you can make improvements this year. After reviewing your 2017 goals and identifying changes you want to make in 2018, meet with a financial advisor to discuss adjusting your financial plan. Be sure to write down your 2018 goals so you can reevaluate your progress at the end of the year.

More than half of investors polled want a comprehensive financial plan to help them achieve their financial goals, and professional help to create that plan. They also want advice that supplements any information they may receive from online financial planning tools.

Guidance on asset allocation and retirement is most sought out by those working with a financial professional. However, unmet needs remain around topics such as developing a comprehensive financial plan and wealth transfer. Though often overlooked when seeking professional guidance, investors should consider discussing these topics with a financial advisor as well. Granted, they may be less complicated, yet they are equally important to overall financial success.



This is the third in a 3-part series on the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll.

High Net Worth Millennials Confident About Reaching Their Short-Term Financial Goals – What Are They Optimistic About?

While most Americans report they are on track to achieving their long-term financial goals according to the latest Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll, one group is particularly focused on their short-term financial success – Millennials.

There are more than 80 million millennials in the U.S., making them a large and significant cohort. As for their financial confidence, to a greater degree than high net worth investors overall, high net worth Millennials between the ages of 25 and 35 strongly agree they are on track to reach their short-term goals. However, they are a bit less confident when it comes to achieving their long-term goals. A majority of millennials who were polled cite a range of concerns—from savings and risk levels, to costs associated with aging parents and education for future generations.

Interestingly, the survey showed roughly two in three Millennials currently leverage the insight of a financial professional—more so than investors overall. These Millennials are most interested in market analysis and asset allocation. While interested in digital planning tools, they are even more likely to enlist the support of a certified financial planner to supplement online tools.

High net worth Millennials have far more optimistic expectations for global, national, state, and local economies—roughly 20 or more percentage points higher than high net worth investors across the board on expecting improvement in the next 12 months.

Indeed, Millennials are influential themselves. More so than other generations, Millennials believe in their ability to change the world and are demonstrating this credence through their commitment to giving back and their strong desire to make an impact. In fact, they are driving the sustainable investing movement.

Important information about your relationship with your Financial Advisor and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC when using a Financial Planning tool. When your Financial Advisor prepares a Financial Plan, they will be acting in an investment advisory capacity with respect to the delivery of your Financial Plan. To understand the differences between brokerage and advisory relationships, you should consult your Financial Advisor, or review our Understanding Your Brokerage and Investment Advisory Relationships brochure available at www.morganstanley.com/ourcommitment/.

You have sole responsibility for making all investment decisions with respect to the implementation of a Financial Plan. You may implement the Financial Plan at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC or at another firm. If you engage or have engaged Morgan Stanley, it will act as your broker, unless you ask it, in writing, to act as your investment adviser on any particular account.

The Investor Pulse Poll was conducted by GfK Public Communications and Social Science using the GfK KnowledgePanel. In order to qualify for this study, respondents were required to have $100,000 or more in household liquid investable assets, be between the ages of 25 and 75 years old, and be one of the primary decision makers in the household for financial matters. The Investor Pulse Poll surveyed 1,001 investors between August 15, 2017 and September 7, 2017. An oversample of 202 Millennial investors between the ages of 25-35 was also conducted during this timeframe using a blend of samples from the GfK KnowledgePanel and other online panels. High net worth investors account for 95 percent of total U.S. household investable assets by value, according to Federal Reserve data.


Todd Hauer is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Denver. The information contained in this interview is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives.  Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC. CRC 2005043 1/18