Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Q&A with Tatiana Bailey, new director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Updated: July 8, 2014 at 11:55 am 0

Tatiana Bailey took over in late June as director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. It's an economic research organization in the College of Business at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which presents an annual look at the Colorado Springs area economy each fall.

Bailey also operates a health care consulting business and will continue to do so.

She previously was an instructor at the University of Michigan and Walsh College in economics, health economics and health policy and finance, and she also spent four years as a business administrator for the University of Michigan Health System, where she wrote grants and directed studies on worksite wellness and access to health care. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and received a master's degree in public health and economics and doctoral degree in public health from the University of Michigan.

Bailey will be the forum's first full-time director, and she also is teaching a course in health policy this summer at UCCS for master's degree candidates.

Question: What attracted you to this job?

Answer: I sensed from the beginning that the people who were hiring for this position were looking for an outsider's perspective and someone to be active in the community promoting economic growth. The position is unique because you use both a quantitative background in economics in the research and people skills in meeting and recruiting sponsors. I like to do both. Once you get to a certain professional level, you are in positions where you do one or the other. I like that this position combines both skills.

Q: Do you plan many changes in the forum's program or direction?

A: One thing I want to do is take the forum's theme this year of entrepreneurship and run with it after the event. I don't want to just present information; I also want to be a catalyst to do positive things in the community with the expertise and conclusions of our panel. I also want to dedicate the next several months to meeting people and listening to what the community wants from the forum. I will use that to inform any further changes I may pursue.

Q: What opportunities does the forum have to expand its programs?

A: I believe we should use economic data and feedback from the community to drive economic growth. I believe there are also opportunities for synergies with the College of Business in executive and continuing education, especially in helping the community retain more young professionals. There is a tremendous opportunity working with other economic development organizations and collaborating with them throughout the year.

Q: How might you apply your background in health care policy at the forum?

A: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the greatest labor force growth in coming years will be in the health care field. Colorado Springs already has a reputation and strength in the area. One of the reasons I was brought into this position was my health care background. One of the high-technology sectors that remained strong in this region is the medical device industry. That tells me there is more opportunity for those types of companies in the region. If you have health care business and jobs here, you will have economic growth.

Q: What is your initial impression of the local economy?

A: I haven't been here long enough to form an opinion, but I am struck how welcoming and friendly people here are. This is not a closed community, and I believe I will learn a lot in short period of time. I am in the process of studying the economic data compiled by the forum and the state. There is evidence of a lot of opportunity for positive growth in the local economy. I believe the boom in Denver and Boulder that has helped the area rank fifth in migration of young professionals will spread to Colorado Springs.

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Edited for clarity and brevity.

Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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