January 19, 2014 Updated: January 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm
Here's what some local business leaders have to say about economic development in Colorado Springs:
President, Pikes Peak National Bank
"We need to focus on two areas: improve the support provided to our entrepreneurs and celebrate their successes. This will lead to more activity in that sector. Military members leaving the service are a big opportunity. A robust transition assistance program that includes mentorship from the business community can be instrumental in their decision to open a business here or back home."
Vice president, BBVA Compass
"Colorado Springs needs to define its identity as a business community and look to attract, retain and invest in those businesses that fit within that vision. We have had various focuses from the sports industry to green business to technology. Focusing on so many areas has left our resources stretched and has not allowed Colorado Springs to establish itself as a hub for specific industry and in turn boost job growth."
CEO, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau
"To invest our dollars and knowledge into our own community will create new, exciting projects that generate more employment opportunities and ultimately attract young professionals as well as more visitors. The City for Champions proposal is this type of investment that could ultimately mean 1,000 new jobs to the area."
CEO, Qualtek Manufacturing
"We the citizens of the community, not just elected officials, need to say we want more jobs here in Colorado Springs. We have to commit to and welcome whatever it takes to create a business-friendly environment. Colorado Springs, with its medical ties to the U.S. Olympic Training Center and academic medicine, is uniquely positioned to brand itself as a premier health care destination. There is arguably no bigger economic driver than that. Health care ranks among the top industries in the U.S. for job creation. Not only does it generate high-paying jobs, but top-quality care is essential for any new business looking to come here."
CEO, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
"We're extremely fortunate to live, work and play in such a beautiful community. The steps we're taking to enhance the downtown area - in addition to creating high-end mass transportation - will pay huge dividends for job growth. It's also imperative that we embrace sustainability in lowering our carbon footprint as we grow."
President, Pikes Peak Community College
"The most economically successful American cities are also the best educated. Through education, these cities support growth and entrepreneurialism. If we support a culture of educational excellence, it can spark a local renaissance of innovation and collaboration. This educational investment isn't a quick fix but is a certain fix."
Chief marketer, Magneti Marketing
"Since I'm a marketing guy, I think in terms of target markets and what story we are telling to them. We need to focus on the type of job growth we want, then put resources into quality communications to those markets. Great storytelling is a bottom-line investment."
President, Colorado College
"In today's economy, jobs are created by great ideas. Creativity has replaced physical capital and natural resources as the fuel of economic growth. The most important step that Colorado Springs needs to take to boost job growth is to create an environment where the most talented people want to come and stay."
President and CEO, Intelligent Software Solutions
"For our industry, investing in the expansion of UCCS and reversing the decline of the airport are two good areas for the city to focus on. Both will pay strong dividends but will take patience and time to recognize the benefits."
Executive director, Pikes Peak Country Attractions
"Colorado Springs needs to think long term about programs and opportunities that can create sustainable job growth and come together to produce lasting opportunities for growth in our area. Tourism employs thousands of people, and we need more ideas like City for Champions to grow the Pikes Peak region's tourism opportunities."
President and CEO, Boecore
"The biggest thing we can do as a community is attract young professionals to Colorado Springs and revitalize and replenish the baby boomer generation (workers) as they retire. Ultimately, this will create a more robust local economy and reduce unemployment overall. Incentives for attracting companies to the community should be considered if a prudent return on investment is determined. In the short term, we need to focus on bringing another low-cost air service carrier, which will increase our tourism revenue and increase jobs while exposing future employers and employees to our great city."
President and CEO, Bal Seal Engineering
"Looking at this issue from our perspective as a manufacturer, the biggest challenge we face in increasing the number of employees we hire in Colorado Springs is workforce development. Increasing the availability of educational opportunities for people to learn the science, technology, engineering and math skills we depend on would be our top priority."