National site selectors share pros and cons of business in northern Colorado after two-day tour | MyWindsorNow.com
Katarina Velazquez
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National site selectors share pros and cons of business in northern Colorado after two-day tour

Scott Ehrlich, chairman of the NCEA, introduces five corporate site selectors at a luncheon Friday afternoon at the University of Northern Colorado.

Five corporate site selectors from across the United States were in consensus after two days of touring northern Colorado: the region needs to be better marketed as a place to do business.

The Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, with some help from community officials and the Upstate Colorado Economic Development, hosted the site selectors as a way to expose companies to northern Colorado's diverse and growing economic conditions. The site selectors spoke about their experience to a group of about 50 people, ranging from county officials to business leaders, Friday afternoon during a luncheon at the University of Northern Colorado.

Andy Montgomery, CEO of Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, said the biggest takeaway from hosting the site selectors was the need to get northern Colorado's name out there as a place to do business. Most of the selectors were unaware of the region's success, he said, with some admitting they saw northern Colorado as merely a suburb of Denver instead of a place with its own individuality.

Montgomery said regional officials must try a more aggressive approach when recruiting companies to the area to grow. And despite the lack of awareness, he said the site selectors found the region attractive for a variety of companies for which they work.

"(The companies) have a big West coast presence and are at a breaking point with the cost, and this area makes sense to them," he said.

Rolf Jourgensen of Transwestern Consulting, who works in the San Francisco Bay Area, said companies and workers in California and larger cities are being priced out of the market. He said it costs an average of about $110,000 per person to live in the bay area of California, making it harder to find workers. That's why affordable markets such as northern Colorado's are more appealing. However, he suggested infrastructure for office space needs to grow to attract companies from the technology industry.

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Betty McIntosh, site selector for Chicago-headquartered Cushman & Wakefield, said higher education in northern Colorado is an especially appealing aspect when companies consider moving into the area. If the region can capitalize on that and market the retention rate of students staying in the area to work here post-schooling, companies would be more likely to move into the area.

Brandon Talbert of Austin Consulting said he had never been in northern Colorado before and was surprised by the area's diverse economy. From industrial business to agriculture to oil and gas, he said the region is attractive to a variety of industries.

"It shows stability in the marketplace," he said, "and sometimes our clients are coming from places where that's not always the case."

Site selectors

The guests the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance hosted for the past two days were Dean Foote of Foote Consulting Group, LLC in Arizona; Brandon Talbert of Ohio-headquartered Austin Consulting; Betty McIntosh of Cushman & Wakefield in Chicago; Rolf Jourgensen of Texas’ Transwestern Consulting; and Terry Hansen of Hickey & Associates, which is headquartered in Minnesota.

For more information on NCEA, go to http://northerncolorado.com.