Henry David Thoreau once said, “Only the traveling is good, which reveals to me the value of home and enables me to enjoy it better.”
No organization enables the spirit of that statement better than the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, with its year-old Colorado Experience program. Later this month, 150 emerging and established leaders from across the metro Denver region will travel to Fort Collins, led by co-chairs Greg Bante of Jones Lang LaSalle and Landri Taylor of Urban League of Metro Denver, to explore Colorado’s regional issues and to strengthen collective vision and collaboration in our communities.
While in the hometown of Colorado State University, the group will study higher education and its impact on the economy, as well as entrepreneurship, sustainability, technology, renewable and clean energy and agriculture – all important issues affecting not only this part of Colorado, but the state as a whole.
Colorado is a hotspot for innovation in energy and many other industries. The metro area ranks sixth for both fossil energy and cleantech employment concentration out of the 50 largest metros in the country. Meanwhile, the livestock, milk, grain, fruits and vegetables produced on agricultural lands across our state contribute $20 billion to our economy annually and support nearly 110,000 jobs.
The travelers are scheduled to visit labs and schools at the university as well as the New Belgium Brewery – which earlier this month launched its new canning line, capable of filling 360 cans of beer every minute – and OtterBox, a manufacturer of protective cases for handheld electronics. The delegation will also take a walking tour of a number of landmarks in the heart of Fort Collins.
Bringing together the business community, our higher education institutions, civic leaders and others will facilitate the kind of intrastate dialogue that is incredibly important as we work together toward a better future for Colorado.
Last year’s trip to Colorado Springs proved to be a wonderful prototype, with 96 percent of the returning delegates reporting that Colorado Experience inspired them to engage more actively in statewide issues. This feedback makes evident how a trip down the road can be just as valuable as crossing state lines.
If you haven’t yet applied to participate in Colorado Experience, I encourage you to do so. Apply here.