Kurtis Minder to Keynote at the 2024 Western Colorado Economic Summit

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) is pleased to announce that Kurtis Minder, CEO & Co-Founder of GroupSense, will be this year’s keynote speaker for the highly anticipated 2024 Western Colorado Economic Summit. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16th at Colorado Mesa University.

Kurtis Minder has built a robust cyber reconnaissance operation protecting some of the largest enterprises and government organizations. His company, GroupSense, is a leading provider of digital risk solutions. Minder has successfully navigated and negotiated some of the largest ransomware, breach and data extortion cases worldwide. With over 20 years in the information security industry, Minder will bring a unique blend of technical, sales and executive leadership experience to his keynote presentation.

READ: How to Protect Your Business Against a Data Breach in 2024

In an era where cyber-attacks pose a formidable threat to our global economy, Minder’s keynote will shed light on cybersecurity’s pivotal role in safeguarding both overarching economic interests and the operational integrity of individual entities. In his keynote presentation, Minder will address the unique role of cybersecurity, leadership essentials and why a Tech Hub in Mesa County is crucial to hardening our critical infrastructure through cyber protection.

“The economic impact of cyber-attacks is escalating. The larger public needs to be better informed on how to protect themselves. Further, these attacks are impacting critical infrastructure. I am honored to take the stage and discuss how the Western Slope and the Grand Junction community can make a difference,” stated Kurtis Minder.

Kurtis Minder is known for leading conversations about digital protection and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Fortune, CNN, and BBC.

In 2023, Minder partnered with a local cohort, including the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Colorado Mesa University, to apply to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the Tech Hubs Program as part of the CHIPS and Science Act. While this application did not receive tech hub designation for the Grand Junction area, its work uncovered the need to protect critical infrastructure, such as the Colorado River, through cybersecurity measures, a vision this local cohort intends to continue pursuing.

“We are honored to have Kurtis Minder speak at this year’s Western Colorado Economic Summit. His unparalleled expertise and visionary leadership will be invaluable in informing our community on the importance of cybersecurity and ways leaders can protect their organization from potential threats,” stated Curtis Englehart, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

The 2024 WCES will also feature a breakfast keynote presentation from Dr. Nathan Perry, an Economics Professor at Colorado Mesa University, sharing a comprehensive look at Mesa County’s economic landscape. The agenda will include conversations with our community’s civic leadership, discussions on the future of education and workforce
development, agriculture, tourism, healthcare and more.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership will also provide its annual update detailing the organization’s economic impact, recent wins for our community through business relocations or expansions, and upcoming goals. Englehart shared, “2023 was a record year for the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. We are very eager to share our year-end numbers with the community as we look to build on that success for 2024.”

The Western Colorado Economic Summit is made possible through the support of its sponsors, including Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties and Coldwell Banker Commercial Prime Properties, Intermountain Health St. Mary’s Regional Hospital, FCI Constructors, Colorado Mesa University, and Conquest Development.

Tickets and sponsored tables are now on sale. Please visit www.gjep.org/wces for more information on this year’s Western Colorado Economic Summit.

 

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) works to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the Grand Junction area by supporting high-impact capital investment and job creation. GJEP is a single stop for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the Town of Palisade, and surrounding communities in Mesa County. Operating as a 501(c)3, GJEP offers free services that help businesses navigate incentives and opportunity zones and connect with realtors and developers, the workforce, local leadership, and more. Visit www.gjep.org for more information.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership launched the Western Colorado Economic Summit in 2016 with founding partner Coldwell Banker. The event is the premier economic development conference for western Colorado. It serves as a forum for regional business leaders, policy makers, and community leaders to learn about the key topics impacting the region. Visit www.gjep.org/wces for more information.

Grand Junction Economic Partnership Unveils Captivating Video Highlighting Opportunity Zones & Riverfront at Las Colonias

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) has released its latest video highlighting the Grand Junction area produced in partnership with the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT). The video, titled Opportunity Awaits in Grand Junction, highlights the region as a place for investment through its seven federally designated Opportunity Zones.

The video puts the spotlight on the picturesque Riverfront at Las Colonias business park and showcases the area’s potential for economic growth and new development. Featuring several local businesses and community stakeholders including Bonsai Design, Camp Eddy, City of Grand Junction and Colorado Mesa University, the video tells the story of development within the region and areas of opportunity for new investment and business development.

“Our community has experienced tremendous momentum over the past few years and many of the new investments we’re seeing are from the Opportunity Zone perspective. These designated Opportunity Zones provide a unique chance for visionary businesses to thrive and flourish”, stated Curtis Englehart, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “This video really tells the story of who we are as a community and highlights many of our shared values. We are thankful for the support of OEDIT and the opportunity to produce this asset that will be utilized as a focal point within our marketing efforts.”

The Opportunity Zone program is a federal incentive encouraging long-term private investment in historically low-income communities by giving investors tax benefits for investing in real estate projects and operating businesses. Investors can receive incentives through deferral and elimination of state and federal capital gains taxes. Over the past five years, the program has garnered much success throughout Colorado and amassed over $1 billion in new investment throughout the state.

“We are excited to see the Grand Junction area celebrated in this video. The Opportunity Zone incentive has driven over a billion dollars of needed investment into workforce housing, outdoor recreation and businesses across Colorado. We have seen all three investment types in Grand Junction, which has exemplified best practices by identifying Opportunity Zone projects and businesses and working directly with investors to multiply investments in businesses and create new housing. This video continues the great work we’ve seen in Grand Junction since the program began in 2018,” stated Jack Tiebout, Senior Program Manager for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

There are seven Colorado Opportunity Zones in the Grand Junction area, primarily located near Downtown Grand Junction, Powderhorn Mountain Resort and Grand Mesa. One of the most notable properties ready for investment is the Riverfront at Las Colonias business park.

The Riverfront at Las Colonias is a 140-acre mixed-use space; and includes a 15-acre business park with seven shovel-ready pad sites along the Colorado River near Downtown Grand Junction. This development began as a public-private partnership to turn the City of Grand Junction’s blighted riverfront into a beloved community asset. The property is now home to 6 local businesses, the development of 322 housing units. It features attractive nearby amenities, including a 4,000-person capacity amphitheater, a botanical garden, a river park and a zip line opening this summer.

As the Opportunity Zone (OZ) program nears its 2026 sunset, now is the time to take advantage of investment opportunities within these designated zones. This program aids in spurring economic growth and job creation in historically lower-income communities while providing tax benefits to investors. Investors can defer tax on any prior eligible gain to the extent that a corresponding amount is invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). The last day that investors can realize a capital gain that can be put into a QOF is December 31, 2026, but investors can hold an OZ investment as long as 2046 to realize its full 10+ year benefit, including the elimination of capital gains tax on the appreciation of the OZ investment itself.

For businesses seeking to relocate or expand into the region, GJEP offers a range of support services, including assistance with site selection, access to business resources and incentives and introduction to local and state networks.

To view the captivating video and discover the potential of the Grand Junction area’s Opportunity Zones and development opportunities through the Riverfront at Las Colonias, please visit www.gjep.org/opportunity.

Grand Junction Economic Partnership Announces the 7th Annual Western Colorado Economic Summit

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership has announced the return of the Western Colorado Economic Summit (WCES) with its founding partner, Coldwell Banker. The event will take place on Thursday, April 27 at Colorado Mesa University.

GJEP’s Executive Director, Curtis Englehart, stated, “We are thrilled to be bringing back the WCES in April! This year’s event will be on the campus of Colorado Mesa University. CMU has been a great partner and does incredible work in workforce and economic development. it is very fitting to bring this great event back to CMU.”

The 2023 WCES will include multiple breakout sessions surrounding key economic development topics impacting the region. The day will contain insightful discussions with local leaders on topics including workforce development, housing, mobility, legislation, industry-specific panels and more. Among the sessions will be a discussion on current workforce challenges and strategies for attracting and retaining talent and a session on the CHIPS and Science Act and its potential to drive innovation in Western Colorado. The full agenda will be announced within the coming weeks.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership will also provide its annual update detailing the organization’s economic impact, recent wins in the form of business relocations or expansions within the region and upcoming goals. Englehart stated, “We have seen great momentum over the last several months, and we are optimistic that it will continue. The WCES allows us to celebrate our collaborative success and inform attendees about key economic development topics that affect us all.”

Each year, the event recognizes a local company and an individual that has significantly impacted economic development within the western slope. Nominations for the Spirit of Economic Development Award and the Joseph C. Prinster Award will be accepted through March 31st.

The Western Colorado Economic Summit is made possible through the support of its sponsors. Managing Director of Coldwell Banker Commercial Prime Properties, Brandon Shuette, stated, “We are very excited to partner with GJEP again for the WCES. It’s a great opportunity to bring local business leaders together to discuss the current state of our market across several industries. We look forward to this event every year.”

Sponsored tables are now on sale. To reserve your table, submit a nomination, or learn more about the event, please visit www.WestCoEconomicSummit.org.

Individual tickets will go on sale starting March 1st.

 

About the Grand Junction Economic Partnership:
The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) works to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the Grand Junction area by supporting high-impact capital investment and job creation. GJEP is a single stop for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the Town of Palisade, and surrounding communities in Mesa County. Operating as a 501(c)3, GJEP offers free services that help businesses navigate incentives and opportunity zones and connect with realtors and developers, the workforce, local leadership, and more. Visit www.gjep.org for more information.

Grand Junction Economic Partnership Releases Economic Impact Report

While the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) has experienced staff turnover over the past year, it has maintained a focus on supporting the greater community and now experiences increased stability with new leadership at its helm.

In August 2022, Curtis Englehart accepted the role of GJEP’s Executive Director. Curtis Englehart was previously the Director of the Mesa County Workforce Center for more than fivee years and was the driving force behind Mesa County’s Work Ready Community Initiative.

Deputy Director, Steve Jozefczyk who served as the organization’s Interim Director for one year, stated, “With support from the GJEP Board and staff, our team was striving for a seamless transition during our search for a new Executive Director. Curtis hit the ground running by picking up existing projects and moving forward with new initiatives he envisioned for GJEP.”

Since taking on the role, Englehart has hired two additional staff members, including a Director of Marketing & Communications and an Office Manager. He has worked to facilitate new strategic planning and goal-setting initiatives with GJEP’s internal team and Board of Directors while strengthening relationships with key stakeholders and leadership throughout the community

He stated, “We are very pleased with our end-of-year numbers and are excited to share our economic impact and return on investment with our community. 2022 was a very successful year, and we have great momentum as we start 2023! We are proud to say that for every $1.00 invested in GJEP in 2022, we generated $20.00 in economic impact.”

With a fully staffed team, GJEP focused its efforts on ending the year strong, citing five out of their seven wins happening toward the end of 2022. The report calls out a total economic impact of $15,690,242 for 2022, resulting from business attraction and expansion efforts. This economic impact includes:

  • 7 wins (business expansions and/or relocation).
  • 9 local assists.
  • 83 actual jobs created and 333 potential jobs in 2022.
  • $8,920,062 in economic impact from job creation.
  • $4,025,000 total capital expenditure.
  • $6,770,180 economic impact of capital expenditures.

The year’s wins include EquipmentShare, Spares in Motion, and MotoMinded. EquipmentShare, a nationwide construction technology company, expanded into the Grand Junction area. Their presence in the area created 13 new jobs with an average salary of $50,000 and a total capital expenditure of $3,000,000 into our community through the purchase of their building. Spares in Motion, the largest international e-business platform for wind turbines, selected Grand Junction as its first North American location and became the 26th company for Mesa County accepted into the Rural Jump Start Program. Additionally, motorcycle parts manufacturer, MotoMinded, worked closely with GJEP during their relocation from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction in 2022.

As our community continues building momentum together, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership anticipates more wins for Mesa County in 2023. Englehart stated, “It is great to see the attention our community is garnering. Our marketing efforts are seeing record engagement levels and it is also great to see additional projects and stories that highlight our local area, like Grand Junction appearing in the New York Times’ 52 Best Places to Visit in 2023. It remains an exciting time for this great community.”

GJEP will secure more wins as it works closely with several prospects in its pipeline from various industries, including outdoor recreation, manufacturing, and technology. In 2023, new leads will be generated through expanding its marketing efforts and attending meaningful tradeshows, including the upcoming AVALON Australian International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition. Additionally, GJEP plans to promote several powerful tools for attracting new business, such as Opportunity Zones within the Grand Junction area, the Riverfront at Las Colonias business park, and the Rural Jump Start Program.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership will continue building strong relationships with its fellow economic development partners, including the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Business Incubator Center, as well as our local and state governments. GJEP will soon announce the return of the 2023 Western Colorado Economic Summit.

To view the Grand Junction Economic Partnership’s 2022 Annual Report, please visit www.gjep.org/annual-report-2022.

 

About the Grand Junction Economic Partnership

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) works to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the Grand Junction area by supporting high-impact capital investment and job creation. GJEP is a single stop for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the Town of Palisade, and surrounding communities in Mesa County. Operating as a 501(c)3, GJEP offers free services that help businesses navigate incentives and opportunity zones and connect with realtors and developers, the workforce, local leadership, and more. Visit www.gjep.org for more information.