Rich Werner, the new CEO of Upstate Colorado began his Colorado career doing economic development for Governor Bill Owens. He says that company recruitment is only 20 percent of the job, contrary to popular belief. K-12 education is a huge priority because companies will not locate in regions that lack programs to provide quality schools to educate future employees. He believes the Weld County Promise, which awards $12,000 four-year college scholarships for local students, is a great recruiting tool.
Werner also argued that political certainty is important. Change can be good for business, but companies need to know how much development will cost. He explained that economic development organizations typically work very well together and he thinks all the groups working in Northern Colorado will have a positive, cooperative relationship.