Recently, I had the privilege to speak at the Western Colorado Economic Summit (WCES) with a panel of industry experts who all shared their own experiences with economic development in our region. Focusing on revitalizing the region and ensuring we learn from past success and mistakes, we are focused on the best method for retaining and growing businesses in this area.
Most importantly – collaboration. You hear it on repeat around our community “it takes a village”, “it’s a team sport”, “our economic development partnerships”. All true, but it is important to remember that in this team sport we are all on the SAME team. Our successes are built with strong collaborative efforts from community partners, private business, elected officials, and stakeholders. Our failures had common themes demonstrating the lack of continuity, division of agenda and ego, and lack of desire to put community first.
How do we grow and innovate? How can we become a tech hub under the CHIPS act? First, when we grow and innovate, this does not entail a loss of community or character. We can have both. Change does not have to come with the feared negative impacts. We can grow in ways that are thoughtful, productive, and consistent. Through a clear and transparent process of growth we will continue to turn critics into advocates, welcoming diverse perspectives that will shape our future for increasing success.
Past mistakes are a gift to learn from. Take the mistake and learn from it applying those lessons to the next time. We have an opportunity to learn, evolve, and move forward and we are always striving to make Grand Junction the strongest community it can be. When I look at the new leadership stepping up throughout our community, I know I walked away from the Economic Summit with a stronger confidence that we are in good hands to build the future we WANT – not the future we settle for.