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Colorado Concern
Join us Wednesday, July 29 for a Membership Networking Lunch hosted by Pat Hamill.  Kelly Leid, Project Manager for the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, will be our guest speaker.

 Click here for details and to register.


Colorado Concern Board of Directors

Blair Richardson


John Ikard


Steve Farber

Tim Gill

Pat Hamill

A. Barry Hirschfeld 

Bill Hybl

Walter Isenberg

David McReynolds

Larry A. Mizel 

Chip Rimer

Dan Ritchie 

Rick Sapkin

Sylvia Young 



Colorado Concern's Richardson: State's economy 'very good and getting better'

The Colorado Statesman

There's not much about Colorado's economy that Blair Richardson isn't able to discuss.

 As chairman of the board at Colorado 

Concern, Richardson leads the alliance of more than 100 of the state's top executives, who work to advance the interests of the business community.


And he is excited about the state 

of Colorado's economy.


"I think it's very good and getting better," Richardson told The Colorado Statesman this week.


A key indicator, he said, is the influx of millennials from around the country who are starting new businesses in Colorado.


"We're the 22nd largest state, but we have the sixth most active business formation, and I find it very exciting," he said, adding many of those start-ups are in the service industry. "Service businesses are the most exciting because service businesses don't take as much capital, they're not generally manufacturing plants and steel mills and other things."

Over the next decade, he predicted, there might be be more American companies going into bankruptcy than in the previous 50 years, but there will be twice that number of new companies starting up.


People in their late 20s and early 30s are finding Colorado's labor force to be very attractive, and they are moving to the state in droves, he said.


Richardson is a managing partner of Bow River Capital Partners. He's worked in private equity and securities for 25 years.


"I get calls all the time, most of them, I must admit, from the East Coast, where people have come to Colorado from a holiday point of view or have traveled through," he said. "It's not just the beauty, but the excitement. They can figure out that people on the streets of Denver and Fort Collins and Pueblo are young, and they're movers. So it's exciting."


Looking at the state's economy, he said the biggest void is in science, technology, engineering and math education. Several fast-growing companies are looking for engineers and employees with technology backgrounds.


"Colorado doesn't educate enough people who have STEM backgrounds," he said "We are a net importer from other states. If we want to continue to grow this economy, we want to spend more focus on STEM education.


"Richardson's wife, Kristin, serves on the board of the Smithsonian Institution, working with its education program. She's working with Colorado's public schools to bring the Smithsonian's STEM research to students.


"They have the best science in America," Richardson said. "I really believe that education and STEM education is very important. I want it to be cool to be an engineer; I want it to be cool to be a scientist; I want it to be cool to be a mathematician."


Richardson, who has lived in Asia, said STEM education is essential if America wants to compete with countries that already have a deep focus on that type of education.


"So much of this education is family-based," he said. "I would like to have mothers and fathers say to their kids, 'Technology, engineering, science is really where you want to focus.' So that it starts at a very early level, and it becomes sexy and cool to follow paths of STEM."


Education reform is a top priority for Colorado Concern. 


Each fall, the group polls its 116 members about what issues they feel the organization should focus on for the upcoming year.


"One of the things I like about Colorado Concern is there's 15 of us on the board, and about half of us are Democrats and half are Republicans," he said.


During the 2015 legislative session, the organization supported construction defects and transparency legislation and stayed "on guard" against any legislation restricting the oil and gas industry.


"We got two of the three accomplished," Richardson said. "I think we're on the right side of construction defects. I feel very strongly about it."


Part of the reason rents for the young millennials coming into the Denver metro area are so high is there are no condos for sale, and there haven't been any large condo projects built since 2007, he noted.


"Part of that is clearly the economy," he said. "But part of it is, builders are not going to take on risk that has a seven-year look back on it. It's just not logical."


Richardson said he hopes that construction defects reform returns as one of the issues for Colorado Concern to focus on in the next legislative session.


Another issue he predicts will be on the organization's agenda in 2016 is state constitutional reform, including term limits, disclosure and, potentially, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.


Richardson spoke with The Statesman as the New York Stock Exchange was recovering from a technical glitch that shut down trading for several hours. While the event wasn't thought to be the result of a malicious attack, Richardson said that cybersecurity is a serious concern.


"Things that sort of keep me up at night, I would say those two things are the top of my list," he said, pointing to the data breaches to Target's credit card system and the IRS. "You've got a lot of very smart people with a lot of time on their hands with criminal intent. That's a bad combination."


American consumers need to accept that this type of crime is "as serious as going to a 7-Eleven with a gun," Richardson said.


"I think prosecution - and active global prosecution - of people who violate these banks and stock exchanges, I think is going to be more and more common," he said. "It's just a form of white collar crime. I think it should be treated very severely."

Colorado Concern Upcoming Events

Below is a list of upcoming Colorado Concern events.  Click here for more information or to register to attend events.


Wednesday, July 29: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Lunch Hosted by Pat Hamill and featuring a discussion with Kelly Leid, Executive Director of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

Tuesday, August 25: Colorado Concern Luncheon with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., RubinBrown, 1900 16th Street, Suite 300, Denver

Monday, August 31: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Lunch Hosted by John Ikard and Chip Rimer and featuring a discussion with Nate Easely and Cathey McClain Finlon w/ Denver Scholarship Foundation
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

Monday, September 21: Colorado Concern Membership Networking Breakfast Hosted by Walter Isenberg
7:30 to 9:00 a.m., Colorado Concern, 140 East 19th Avenue, Suite 400

Denver Business Journal: July 6

Features Linda Childears


Kelly Brough

Chamber kicks off campaign to boost healthy communities

Colorado Statesman: July 9

Features Kelly Brough


Tami Door

Cheaper housing, more cops and bicycle lanes for downtown Denver

Denver Business Journal: July 10

Features Tami Door


Colorado Concern News Clips

Development/Real Estate

Metro Denver mayors, homeless advocates offer affordable-rental incentives to landlords

Denver Post: July 6


Denver ranks No. 6 in green office building index

Denver Post: July 6


Reconstructing the Denver City Skyline with new skyscraper

Denver Post: July 6


Denver office rents jump; sixth-biggest leap in U.S.

Denver Business Journal: July 6


Signatures submitted in Wheat Ridge to put big urban renewal to voters

Denver Post: July 7


Denver home prices hit new high in June, but frenzy may be fading

Denver Post: July 7


Editorial: A voter revolt on urban renewal?

Denver Post: July 10


Metro Denver retail leases at 10-year high

Denver Business Journal: July 10


Economy/Economic Development

IT company looking at creating 1,750 jobs in Denver

Denver Business Journal: July 7


Business leaders' message to Colorado Springs City Council: Diversify local economy

Colorado Springs Gazette: July 11



Douglas County school voucher supporters eye bigger legal fight

Denver Post: July 6


Guest Commentary: School voucher decision stops discrimination in the name of religion

Denver Post: July 9


Wings Over the Rockies to open online charter academy this fall

Denver Post: July 9



Editorial: Supreme Court gives Colorado a green light to fix redistricting

Denver Post: July 6


Democrat Morgan Carroll's record offers some surprises

The Denver Post: July 7


State Sen. Morgan Carroll makes official her battle against Mike Coffman for Aurora' congressional seat  

Aurora Sentinel: July 7


Colorado ballot measure seeks to limit gay marriages as civil unions

Denver Post: July 7


Jeffco petition to recall school board members gets OK to collect signatures

Denver Post: July 8


Morgan Carroll stepping down as Colorado Senate minority leader

Denver Business Journal: July 10


Today's problems need 3-sector solutions

Denver Business Journal: July 10



Denver oil company to study "strategic alternatives'

Denver Business Journal: July 6


Window for Office of Surface Mining to appeal Colowyo ruling closes Tuesday

Steamboat Today: July 7


Interior Department will not pursue appeal of Colowyo ruling

Craig Daily Press: July 8


How big is too big for oil and gas operations in Colorado's urban areas?

Denver Business Journal: July 8


What oil and gas downturn? 2015 production could be highest in decades

Denver Business Journal: July 8


Denver a top city in U.S. for solar installations

Denver Business Journal: July 8


Colorado power cooperative looks again at rates after jump in solar customers

Denver Business Journal: July 9


Colowyo Ruling Could Now Affect Second Colorado Coal Mine

CPR: July 10


Guest Commentary: Front-porch victories in the age of street-level politics

Denver Post: July 10


Ballot Fight Over Fracking Could Be Shaping up in Colorado

ABC News: July 11


General Business

What you need to know to protect your business from patent trolls

Denver Business Journal: July 6


Denver, Planet Earth: The City Goes Global

Confluence Denver: July 9


Denver banks see growth potential in minority, women-owned businesses

Denver Business Journal: July 10


Fort Carson cuts fewer than 400 troops; Georgia, Texas and Alaska posts hit harder

Denver Post: July 10


Biennial of the Americas 2015: 5 things you should know to go

Denver Post: July 11


Denver Art Museum looks for hidden art at Capitol

9NEWS: July 12


Health Care

Colorado health insurance premium requests are too high, group says

Denver Post: July 8


Self-funded dental insurance? Delta Dental leaps into a new market

Denver Business Journal: July 8


University of Colorado study links education to lower mortality rates

Denver Post: July 9


Editorial: Ominous warning from VA official

Denver Post: July 9


In Denver, we get older better than the rest of the country

Denver Business Journal: July 9



Colorado drops to No. 7 on Forbes list of best states to make a living

Denver Post: July 7


Millennials least prepared for retirement, survey finds

Denver Business Journal: July 7


Federal overtime expansion would mean millions in new wages for Colorado workers

Boulder Daily Camera: July 10



Guns for marijuana users up in smoke

The Durango Herald: July 9


Poll shows support for Denver allowing more options for marijuana use

Denver Post: July 9


Bipartisan marijuana banking bill introduced in the U.S. Senate

Denver Post: July 10



Editorial: Longmont rail at any cost? No

Denver Post: July 6


Drainage project in I-70 deal aims to cut flooding in northeast Denver

Denver Post: July 6


Denver City Council approves I-70 cost deal after hearing from opponents

Denver Post: July 7


Denver, national airfares projected to drop this fall, report says

Denver Post: July 7


United Airlines system glitch results in lines, frustration at DIA

Denver Post: July 9


Colorado Springs City Council plans ask voters to approve tax to fix roads

Colorado Springs Gazette: Denver 10


General Assembly enacts changes affecting motorists

Colorado Springs Gazette: July 12



Colorado shies from big fix as proliferating people seek more water

Denver Post: July 10


Guest Commentary: Restoring the headwaters of the Colorado River

Denver Post: July 10