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Energy, drive push Springs to excellence

By: TED RAYBURN ted.rayburn@gazette.com
December 27, 2015
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photo - Ted Rayburn 11/19/15. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Ted Rayburn 11/19/15. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

This column is about energy.

Not the kind that heats and lights your home or powers your car, although that's not out of place on these pages. It's about energy of mind and of purpose.

I touched on this in my previous column (Dec. 20) in finding the Colorado Springs business community to be vibrant and hard-working, but there is more to be said.

The reason that I am so bullish on this city's business community is its overall energy and enthusiasm. Numerous studies of the U.S. economy cite the fact that when industries simply do things the way they have always done, they decline, rather than grow or stay in place. The technology revolution of the past 30 years, along with increased competition from emerging foreign economies have only heightened this truism.

Companies that take advantage of new best practices and keep abreast of trends in customer satisfaction tend to prosper, whether they produce traditional goods and services or the newest gadget. In the Springs, business leaders seem to understand this and are unafraid of change, or are at least willing to embrace it as a fact of modern life.

A perfect example of this attitude and drive is embodied by Boecore Inc., a local company profiled by Gazette writer Wayne Heilman in Tuesday's Business section. Boecore has been around for years as a defense contractor, but it is not resting on its successes.

Its latest strategy is, as Heilman wrote, "to create a new type of engineer" trained in both cybersecurity and software development. The goal: to win more government contracts without necessarily having to become a larger company.

The cross-training within its workforce is the sort of change that in some industries makes veteran employees cringe. But the hard work pays off in two ways: It leads to innovative thinking that helps the company succeed in a competitive field like cybersecurity, and it helps ensure employee retention.

Stories like Boecore's can be found throughout the Colorado Springs community, and there is a similar effort going on at the local government level, with Mayor John Suthers' and the Regional Business Alliance's aggressive recruiting of new businesses and exciting new projects.

For example, the announcement this month of a $750,000 grant awarded the Catalyst Campus for Technology & Innovation from the Colorado Economic Development Commission. The grant will be used to build out IT infrastructure and a cyber- and space-based research and development laboratory/operations center to support commercial applications for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

This level of activity and collaboration is not typical among U.S. cities. Here, there is a real zeal to succeed and to show the rest of the state and the country just what we can accomplish.

No matter what we do, the world around us is going to continue to change. Why not harness our collective energy as a city to make the most of change instead of fighting it?

-

Tennessee native Ted Rayburn joined The Gazette as business editor in October. Send him your observations and ideas on business and the southern Colorado economy. Reach him at 719-636-0194 or ted.rayburn@gazette.com.

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