Economic development in the Grand Valley is top of mind these days and visible on a number of fronts as new businesses and even a major government agency look to the area to locate.
Two organizations at the leading edge of the local economic development effort were recognized for their efforts this past week, during the annual conference of the influential International Economic Development Council in Indianapolis.
The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce was the recipient of a Gold level award, for communities of 25,000 to 200,000 people, in a category called Innovation in Economic Development Week.
The week focused on the topic of economic development — held in May each year — most recently featured a campaign by the chamber entitled "We Are Champions," and the award recognized the group's focus on a diverse set of partners.
"We have always chosen to emphasize that it's a team sport — and that everybody has a role to play in economic development," said Diane Scwhenke, chamber CEO, reached while in Indianapolis to accept the award.
"So we featured a lot of activities and did some videos with some people who are not always necessarily considered to be economic developers," she said, highlighting the Grand Junction City Council's effort to put a transportation question before voters this election as an example.
"We are all champions of economic development," she said.
At the same conference, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Executive Director Robin Brown were recognized with a Silver level award.
The partnership award was in the general printed materials category for similarly sized communities.
The recognition was connected to a high-level and ultimately successful campaign to attract the new headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction.
The controversial decision to move the agency's headquarters out of Washington, D.C., garnered national headlines and also heated competition by Western cities to land the agency.
After much speculation about the move and its actual local impact, the agency announced in July that 27 administrative jobs with the BLM would be headquartered in Grand Junction, and a deal to lease office space for those employees at 760 Horizon Drive was also announced.
"The recipients of IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day," said 2019 Board Chairwoman Tracye McDaniel of the international council, in a press release.