Area Chambers have Strong Working Relationships

Last Friday, the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced the hiring of a new president to replace Sarah MacQuiddy, who is retiring next month.

That got me thinking about both Sarah and the relationships between the area chambers of commerce.

First, Sarah is leaving well and on her own terms after a successful career at the Greeley Chamber- first as the tourism director and for the last 15 years as the chamber’s chief executive. In a business where the average tenure of the top person is about seven years, staying 15 means you’re adding value. A big ‘thank you’ to Sarah and well wishes to her for the next chapter.

Regarding the relationships between the chambers in Northern Colorado, it comes up in conversations a surprising number of times every year. I get asked about it by individual members, by members of civic groups when I’m presenting, and by our big investors.

I’m never quite sure of the reason for the question, but at the heart of it, I think, is curiosity about how we’re getting along to get things done for the region and about how are we using the business community’s resources.

In my opinion, we have good working relationships and do a lot of good work together. Here are a few examples:

  • Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA): NCLA is the joint state and federal issues committee of the Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland chambers of commerce and two economic development groups – UpState Colorado Economic Development and One NoCo. This partnership was created in 1992. Together the five entities monitor and evaluate proposed legislation and communicate business views to the administration and state legislators. Together, we pool resources to hire a Denver-based lobbyist to represent our interests.
  • Fix North I-25 Business Alliance (Fix I-25): Fix I-25 is tucked under the aegis of NCLA. I chair the group and a significant part of the funding is provided by the investors of our chamber’s Northern Colorado Prospers (NorthernColoradoProspers) investors. Fix I-25 meets via phone every week, with an in-person meeting monthly or more often if necessary. We engage a lobbyist, pollsters, and media relation consultants. At this writing, leaders in Northern Colorado have helped secure $927.5 Million for North I-25. The Greeley and Loveland Chambers are engaged on this project.
  • Regional Issues Summit: Under the aegis of NCLA, each fall the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland chambers and the two economic development groups hold a regional summit to discuss the big issues facing the region.
  • Talent 2.0 Workforce Development Initiative: The Loveland and Fort Collins Chambers are leaders in a coalition to help employers in Larimer County meet their labor needs.
  • Annual Talent Summit: Under Talent 2.0 the Loveland and Fort Collins chambers team up with other partners to produce an annual workforce development confab.
  • Leadership Northern Colorado (LNC): Now it’s 9th year, LNC was founded by the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland chambers and the community foundations in Larimer and Weld counties.
  • Business Retention & Expansion: On the Larimer side of the region, the Loveland and Fort Collins Chambers are active in a partnership to interview area primary employers to determine and serve their needs.
  • Regional Business After Hours. A couple of times per year chambers of commerce from Longmont to Cheyenne and Laramie hold a major after-hours networking event.
  • North Front Range Electricity Task Force. The Longmont, Loveland, and Fort Collins chambers have banded together to provide the business perspective on public policy that impacts the reliability and cost of electricity.

None of the above includes the routine contacts between various staff members on a myriad of things that come up during the course of our work.

So, yes, we do work together on a lot of issues important to our region.