Making Our Future

Jun 6, 2017 | Uncategorized

This morning I had an interesting conversation with a member who owns a manufacturing business. He came in to talk about the future of the region and how the various communities and economic development-type organizations in the area work together to promote Northern Colorado.

During our discussion, he made a point similar to one that I’ve made in the past: it’s great to be us, meaning Northern Colorado. Our robust economy is reflected in employment statistics. At 2.6% Colorado has the lowest unemployment of any state in the nation, and three Colorado counties have the lowest unemployment in America at 1.3%: Summit, Yuma and Baca. Fort Collins-Loveland sits at 1.9% and Greeley-Weld at 2.1%.

Of course, success brings its own challenges like finding qualified, affordable talent and housing affordability. And, complacency. He dialed into this last issue like few people ever do. Instinctively, he understands that today’s successes in business, your personal life and as a community are the seeds of your undoing, if you let them be. Once you arrive at a certain level of earned success, it’s an easy mistake to conclude you have arrived instead of seeing it as mile marker and temporary resting place, if that.

Essentially the conversation was about how communities, arguably successful ones, stay hungry enough to aspire to create their preferred future rather than coast.

That is why the Chamber’s Northern Colorado Prospers 5-year key strategic initiative campaign is noteworthy. It is an intentional acknowledgement of our successes to-date while declaring we have things to work on like the growing congestion on I-25, available labor and housing affordability, and a climate that respects and supports business.

As of this time, 79 businesses and organizations have invested just over $3 million into Northern Colorado Prospects.

We also discussed the need for area leaders to begin talking strategically about the big trends and macro-issues that will positively or negatively impact the livability of Northern Colorado and set plans accordingly. When things are going well, it’s hard to motivate people to think about such things, but it’s exactly the time when we should. It’s a conversation to be continued.

For now, it is reassuring to know some of our members are pondering these big issues, too.