2018 was a Successful Year, 2019 should be ‘Interesting’

Happy New Year! Hopefully you’re recharging by enjoying some time off with friends and family during the holidays.

2018: Year of Successes

Everywhere you looked in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado you saw activity: commercial, office, and industrial buildings being renovated or built; orange cones for a multitude of street, highway and sidewalk projects; and scads of residential housing construction, landscaping and renovation projects.

Representative of the good news stories:

  • Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) purchased LumaSense Technologies Holdings Inc., based in Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Front Range Community College announced it plans to build a new $8 million Center for Integrated Manufacturing in Longmont. The renovation of a 27,000 square foot industrial space will be done August 2019.
  • UCHealth released a new price estimator tool that provides patients with approximate out-of-pocket costs for more than 150 services at five facilities and hospital officials.
  • Boulder, Fort Collins-Loveland and Greeley were ranked in the top 25 most innovative cities in the U.S. by 24/7 Wall Street. The ratings look at number of patents issued for 100,000 residents. Boulder ranks No. 4. Fort Collins-Loveland ranked No. 18 with 117.5 patents filed per 100,000 residents. Greeley is 25th.
  • Woodward Inc. (Nasdaq: WWD) announced it would bring an additional 300 jobs to Northern Colorado by relocating a Duarte, California operation.
  • Innosphere, the Fort Collins-based technology and science incubator, celebrated its 20th
  • Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association won the 2018 SEPA Power Players Electric Cooperative Utility of the Year award at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) awards dinner in Washington, D.C.
  • Banner Health announced a collaboration between its North Colorado Medical Center and Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. NCMC’s cancer care unit is now called Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at North Colorado Medical Center.
  • City of Fort Collins earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
  • Fort Collins ranks 9th in the nation as fitness-friendly by SmartAsset.
  • Fort Collins was ranked by Livability.com as the #4 best place to raise a family and the 14th best place in the country to live.
  • Fort Collins ranks #2 in the nation for Brain Concentration (S. metro- and micropolitan areas with 90,000 population or more were assessed on their concentration of STEM workforce, advanced degree or Science & Engineering undergraduate degree holders, and net business formation).

There are dozens more headlines like these. In short, 2018 was a good year for the area.

The same can be said for the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce:

  • We launched the Bringing Business Home campaign (BringingBusinessHome.org) to help the public connect the quality of life we enjoy with the vibrancy of the local economy and its businesses.
  • Through the work of Chamber-backed by the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and allied partners there is now $615M committed to improvements on North I-25. Work started this fall on an additional lane each way between Loveland and Highway 14 in Fort Collins. This work will be done by early 2021.
  • The Chamber weighed in on the issue of maintaining affordable and reliable electricity for area primary employers.
  • The Chamber-convened Talent 2.0 Steering Committee held a Talent Summit on May 8.
  • Talent 2.0 produced 12 downloadable PDFs for recruiters to use. They can be found at NoCoTalent2.com.
  • We piloted EMSI, a talent identification database tool.
  • The Chamber and partners interviewed nearly 50 primary employers to determine needs and expansion opportunities.
  • We conducted a highly successful annual Moving Fort Collins Forward! campaign co-chaired by Deb Kelly of Guaranty Bank and Mat Dinsmore of Wilbur’s.
  • At 1,287 members, the Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the state. (I think we are #2 behind only the Denver Metro Chamber.)

The Chamber:

  • grew its staff this year
  • installed an Investors Recognition Wall in the lobby
  • graduated a class of Leadership Fort Collins in May
  • graduated a class of Leadership Northern Colorado in June
  • won ‘Outstanding Program Award’ from Western Association of Chamber Executives for Northern Colorado Prospers Campaign
  • won the 2018 Award for Communications Excellence ‘Grand Award: Publications’ from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
  • held networking and education events: Business After Hours, 12@12 Luncheons, Leads Groups, Red Carpet, Envision
  • represented business at dozens of government meetings – state, county, city hall
  • celebrated small business at the May 24 Small Business of the Year Breakfast

2019 Will be ‘Interesting’

This is a topic that needs a deeper review, but here are a few things on the horizon for 2019:

  • City Council elections. One vacancy will be temporarily filled in January, then 5 of 7 seats will be up for election in April.
  • Keep Fort Collins Great tax. The Council is deciding whether to place renewal of an expiring tax on the ballot in April, November or not at all.
  • Ballot measure in Fort Collins will determine whether to retain the current citizen-volunteer model for City Council members or put them on the payroll as full-time legislators.
  • A decision on the Northern Integrated Supply Project which includes building a new reservoir northwest of Fort Collins will be announced by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2019.
  • Work will continue on the additional lane each way on I-25 between Fort Collins and Loveland.
  • The state legislature could be a tough environment for business with a flood of workplace, labor, and environmental laws being teed up.
  • The Chamber will launch a new talent / workforce recruitment portal at the end of Q1 2019. The new site will be called WorkingInNorthernColorado.com.
  • The economy has a lot of momentum. It should remain in positive territory during most of the year with a mild recession late…but, but, but who knows.

Short version: It has been and continues to be great to be us! 2018 was a good year for the community and Chamber and we anticipate more of the same for 2019.

Happy New Year!