Of the 73 businesses hunting for locations in northern Colorado last year, 10 eventually located in Weld County, bringing with them more than 800 jobs.
Five existing companies beefed up their staffing by another 1,000 jobs.
Those are some of the successes that officials at Upstate Colorado Economic Development see when they evaluate 2012 and look to their upcoming work this year.
In an interview Thursday before the group’s annual meeting, CEO and president Eric Berglund discussed the successes, especially with the new jobs in the area, and what to expect this year.
“It’s a whole variety of industries, that’s the nice thing about it,” said Berglund, of the industries that have helped grow jobs in Weld. “It’s everything from administrative office to dairy to oil and gas to various types of manufacturing from metal to electronic devices to film.”
Upstate’s membership reviewed those 2012 highlights at its partner celebration and annual meeting Thursday night at the Greeley County Club. At the meeting, the membership recognized the Broe Companies as a Development Champion and officials from the city of Fort Lupton for their efforts in retaining and attracting industry to the small town in southern Weld.
The Broe Companies, Berglund said, has seen continued success for its shovel-ready Great Western Industrial Park.
“They’ve been a huge driver of the economy from the manufacturing perspective,” Berglund said. “It’s a unique property from the perspective that it’s rail served. In our world it’s shovel-ready. They have an industrial park that was ready to go, and they’ve been very aggressive in securing companies over the last two to three to four years, and they have had great success.”
Berglund said the city of Fort Lupton has worked hard to attract industry to town, with its business-friendly attitude and great “speed-to-market,” meaning a faster process to get town approval to locate new businesses to town.
Looking to this year, Berglund said the organization will refocus energies on its development corridors from Interstate 76, to the U.S. 85 energy corridor, U.S. 34, to Interstate 25 and Colo. 14.
“We’re focused on having a community conversation to discover the next big things for Weld and our five corridors,” Berglund said. “With each corridor, the goal is to make sure we have great information on what industry exists … and really break down some of our demographic information, so it’s more meaningful.”
Berglund said 2013 may be another successful year in terms of company attraction, retention and job creation.
“We’re already working on an awful lot of projects, and there will be some announcements that will come through,” Berglund said.
Concern this year will come with water, and finding places to locate companies, as available buildings are running slim, Berglund said.
“We’re blessed and cursed because we don’t have lot of empty buildings,” Berglund said. “That’s one of our impediments for companies with speed-to-market issues. We’ll have to have a dialogue on how to address the needs of companies if we don’t have buildings for them.”