Denver poised as a 'beacon on a hill'

Among metro leaders there are many different opinions as to what issues should be at the forefront of the conversation on the future growth of Denver.

For 40 years, Leadership Denver, has equipped metro leaders with the knowledge, skills and perspectives they need to navigate the issues that have a strong impact on the community. The program, led by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, celebrates 40 years of civic leaders this summer.

Many metro area leaders believe that infrastructure improvements are crucial to the continued development of Denver and the state as a whole.

"I really think the future (of Denver) is capitalizing on infrastructure growth so that people from Denver can take advantage of everything the state has to offer, so that there can be a sense of being one state, instead of one city," said Eagle town councilman and Leadership Denver alumnus, Luis Benitez.

For Gov. Bill Ritter, another alumnus of Leadership Denver, a focus on sustainable energy is the key to growing the region. "I hope Denver can be a beacon on a hill, and improve livability in a way that helps us pay more attention to how we consume energy and consumer goods and model that for other areas of the country," said Ritter, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

The secret weapon of the Denver metro area is its smart, healthy and productive workforce. Coloradoans are the second most educated and the leanest workforce in the nation, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's Towards a More Competitive Colorado report.

The metro area's workforce spans diverse industries, backgrounds and perspectives, a trait of the city that is reflected in each Leadership Denver class. Leadership Denver participants use that diversity to find solutions to Denver's challenges that will catalyze the growth of the city and increase the quality of the workforce.

"My vision is for us to continue down the track of recruiting and retaining the most talented and creative people in the world," said Leadership Denver alumna Brittany Morris-Saunders, vice president of public affairs for the Downtown Denver Partnership. "I see a city that can compete on an international level."

The Governor's chief of staff and Leadership Denver alumna, Roxane White, echoes this belief: "Denver will continue to be a vibrant economy where people can have access to a better life and better way of being because the leaders of Denver are engaged, caring and strategic… The people and the kindness that I experience every day are what make for a vibrant city."

Article provided by Danielle Mellema.


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