The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC hosted the Pikes Peak Regional FAM Tour, August 7-9, 2019, with national site selection consultants from across the country to showcase the region’s economic and business opportunities, workforce and education initiatives, key industries, and unique quality of life. Over the course of the three day visit, site selectors had the opportunity to tour the city, visit local companies representing the region’s key industries, hear from over a dozen community and business leaders, and experience some of the livability assets that have consistently ranked Colorado Springs as one of the top cities to live in the country.
“We had the terrific opportunity to host a group of national site selection consultations in our community and show them firsthand the best of what Colorado Springs has to offer,” said Dirk Draper, president & CEO, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “From meeting with business leaders and startup founders to exploring Garden of the Gods and touring downtown’s vibrant culinary and cultural scene, we feel confident they will return home with a much richer understanding of the region and the many economic and lifestyle advantages that have made Colorado Springs a top destination for business and talent.”
As part of the visit, site selection consultants heard from academic and workforce industry leaders including Traci Marques, executive director and CEO of Pikes Peak Workforce Center, and Dr. Venkat Reddy, Chancellor of University of Colorado Colorado Springs, who spoke to the region’s world-class higher education institutions and workforce training programs that are producing a steady pipeline of skilled talent to meet the demands of our growing economy. They also connected with executives such as Kathy Boe, founder and CEO of Boecore, Inc., and toured companies like the high-tech, national security firm Parsons to learn about Colorado Springs’ rich legacy as a national hub for aerospace and defense, cybersecurity and information technology companies; where they heard from Jay Jesse, EVP, federal operations for Parsons. The site selectors also had the opportunity to learn about the region’s startup ecosystem through meetings with local entrepreneurs Dustin Sapp, COO of Formstack, and Conor McCluskey, CEO of BombBomb, and conversations with leaders from organizations such as Peak Startup and Exponential Impact that are supporting the next generation of emerging tech startups.
As the proud home of the nation’s Olympic movement and the epicenter of an extensive sport industry, no visit to Colorado Springs would be complete without a look at some of the facilities, companies, and assets that drive our local sports economy and support our growing reputation in healthcare and medical innovation. Visits included a tour to the nearly complete William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center and meetings with Steve Johnson, co-executive director of the center, and Christopher Liedel, CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which is set to open in spring 2020 in downtown Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region are known for the outdoors, so the tour included opportunities to explore the famous Garden of the Gods and surrounding area. The group experienced the vibrant outdoors and toured downtown as part of an art, food, and drink crawl. Susan Edmondson, president and CEO, Downtown Partnership, Jill Gaebler, City of Colorado Springs council member, and Mike Juran, CEO, Altia, joined the group.
Sponsors included Catalyst Campus For Technology & Innovation, Colorado Springs Olympic City USA, Colorado Springs Airport, GE Johnson Construction Company, Colorado Technical University, El Paso County ED, Housing Building Association of Colorado Springs, NUNN Construction, Peak Innovation Park, Pikes Peak Community College, Pikes Peak Realtor Service Corp., Red Noland, and UCHealth.
SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL SITE SELECTORS
Alison Benton, president of Aliquantus Consulting; Christopher D. Lloyd, senior vice president and director of infrastructure and economic development at McGuirewoods Consulting; Scott Pollock, senior vice president at Juniper Solutions; Lew Mollenkamp, president and CEO of ACLS; Eleanor Skinner, senior associate at Site Selection Group; Alexis Sowder, multistate project manager at KSM Location Advisors; Charlie Walker, site selection consultant at Ady Advantage and Conner Wisdorf, advisor at T3 Advisors.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE INNOVATION AND WORKFORCE PANEL
Jake Eichengreen, executive director at Quad Innovation Partnership; Samuel Elliott, chief revenue officer at Pineapple Labs; Kevin Kenney, strategy and innovation in national security and defense program manager at Air Force Cyberworx; Ethan Lavin, program director at Exponential Impact; Natasha Main, executive director at Peak Startup; Tatiana Bailey, Ph.D. director of UCCS Economic Forum in the College of Business and assistant professor attendant rank, University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Josh Baker, Ph.D. vice president for instructional services, Pikes Peak Community College; Beth Braaten, vice president of community relations, Colorado Technical University; Bob Gemignani, program director, workplace learning manager Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance and Traci Marques, executive director/CEO, Pikes Peak Workforce Center.