October 17th – 19th, marked the Economic Development Council of Colorado’s (EDCC) annual conference held in the beautiful setting of the Town of Vail. Focused on the theme of “Back to Basics,” the organizers of the three-day conference offered a program focused on some of the core principles of economic development.
Presentations and breakout sessions included topics such as: Preparing a Community and its Workforce for Disruptive Change; Driving Effective Partnerships to Meet Statewide Preparedness Goals; Talent – Development, Attraction and Retention; Educate and Train the Workforce of the Future; Cultivate Innovation and Technology; Dynamics of Economic Development Today; Essentials of Strategy; Measuring Success; Marketing; Talent Attraction and Retention; and Growing from Within.
Experts in the fields of unmanned air systems and energy also presented in two plenary sessions aimed at evaluating the economic impact of these rapidly changing sectors of the economy.
With Colorado already home to numerous Aerospace companies including those operating here in Broomfield, the topic of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) seemed very relevant, particularly given the growth in this sector. The Consumer Technology Association reports, “U.S. drone sales are expected to top 2.4 million aircraft this year .” In an economic impact study done by AUVSI in March 2013, in the first three years of UAS integration in the U.S., the industry is expected to create 70,000 jobs and have a $13.6 billion economic impact. By 2025 its expected job growth will increase to 100,000 with an $82 billion economic impact.
In the UAS presentation business leaders explained how the industry was already having a significant impact here in Colorado including in the fields of: agriculture, forestry, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, real estate and more. We learned that this is a disruptive industry with the potential to offer companies considerable savings over more traditional solutions which in turn offers great entrepreneurial potential.
The second plenary session was focused on the evolving energy market. Key drivers of energy demand are changing, creating a very different energy future than what we’re familiar with today. These changes present significant challenges to our energy suppliers and producers. Representatives from Xcel Energy and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, discussed the importance of economic development officials and local leader’s involvement, in helping communities and businesses make the transition into new forms of energy output. Xcel Energy is looking into “Our Energy Future,” and how energy consumers can choose their energy sources and how they will use it. “While the electric grid has been a trusted backbone to our community and has reliably powered our homes and businesses. It has also evolved into a platform to provide growth for emerging technologies, products, and services which have contributed to new industry development, job growth, and innovation,” said Rob Osborn, director of strategic revenue initiatives.
Overall, the conference was a great opportunity for representatives from economic development organizations across the state, elected officials, and local business leaders to gather, network and learn with the overall goal of growing the Colorado economy.
Please click here to read more about all the speakers and to download various presentations.
About the EDCC:
The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) is a state-wide, nonprofit organization dedicated to successful, responsible economic development. EDCC professionally represents the collective economic development interests of both the private and public sectors. Our mission is to be the premier state-wide organization for strengthening Colorado’s economy by promoting the highest standards of knowledge and skill for ED professionals, educating local and state leaders about the realities of economic growth, and advocating public policies that enhance economic opportunity for all of Colorado.