Friday, October 12, 2007

Springs falls in Best Peforming Cities rank

Colorado Springs fell to the middle of the pack in annual rankings by a California think tank of the ability of cities to create and sustain jobs.
The Springs ranked 96th in the rankings released last month, down from 71st in 2005, the last year the rankings had been produced by the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit economic think tank created by financier Michael Milken.
The city has ranked as high as 10th in 2000, but has declined every year but 2005 in rankings of the nation’s 200 largest metropolitan areas. That’s mostly because city’s weak job growth during the past five years, which included declines in 2002 and 2003. “This is not a surprise as the data looks back from one to six years and includes our recession years where our tech sector was hit hard,” said Mike Kazmierski, president of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., which helps attract industry to the city. Three Florida cities — Ocala, Orlando and Naples, ranked among the top six in the institute’s latest ranking, which was sponsored by Greenstreet Real Estate Partners. The rankings this year reflect the year the data is released; in past years they reflected the year the data was collected. Among other Colorado cities, Greeley ranked 29th, up from 31st in 2005; Fort Collins ranked 75th, down from 46th; Boulder ranked 93rd, down from 92nd; Denver ranked 106th, down from 105th. Among 179 smaller metro areas, Grand Junction ranked 18th, up from 37th, and Pueblo ranked 130th, unchanged. For more information, go to

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tourism conference - Thursday update

Lisa Amend, communications manager for Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, e-mailed this update on developments today at the Governor's 2007 Colorado Tourism Conference in Grand Junction:

"We had a great general session this morning with updates from the CTO (Colorado Tourism Office) and MMG on their plans for leveraging our marketing dollars in 2008. The goals are to increase visitor spending by 9.5%, increase overall visitation by 4%, and attract 30 million visitors by the end of 2008. Strategies to achieve these goals include:

  • Evolution of "Let's Talk Colorado" ad campaign
  • Addition of all-season messaging
  • Progression of segmented approach to focus on retention strategies
  • Increased use of emerging technologies (mapping, social media)
  • Advancement of partnership outreach
  • Continuing to integrate online and offline campaigns with public relations efforts

The T-shirt program implemented by MMG ( advertises free T-shirts for those who stop by Colorado Welcome Centers) has done exceptionally well. Over 15,000 people signed up for the T-shirts online and more than 12,500 have actually been picked up. People who visit the Welcome Centers stay in the region longer and they spend more money. A new Welcome Center will open in Alamosa in the summer of 2008.

International marketing efforts continue to focus on UK, Germany, France and Mexico, but the state is now also targeting Japan, Canada and Benelux.

The campaigns this year have performed very well. web sessions are up 148% and State Visitor Guide requests are up 216%.

Winners of the 2007 Governor's Tourism Industry Awards:

  • Outstanding Tourism Volunteer Award: Les Turner (posthumous), Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau
  • Outstanding Community Initiative Award: City of Manitou Springs Economic Development Council
  • Chairman's Award: Senator Jim Isgar
  • Outstanding Individual Contribution Award: Jeff Potter, CEO of Exclusive Resorts

Tourism conference - Wednesday update

Lisa Amend, communications manager for Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak Convention and Visitors Bureau, is attending this week's Governor's 2007 Colorado Tourism Conference, which started Wednesday. Here's what she had to say via an e-mail about Day One:

"Here we are at the 2007 Governor's Conference in Grand Junction. The Experience Colorado Springs team rose bright and early at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and were on the road by 5:45. It was a beautiful drive and fall colors are in full splendor out here!

The opening luncheon was well-attended by representatives from all over the state. There is even someone here from the Alligator Farm. He's carrying around a darling little baby tortise who has been a big hit with everyone so far.

Our speaker Wednesday was Dennis Snow, who used to work for the Walt Disney World Co. He was very dynamic and passed on lots of great tips about how to make a customer's experience unforgettable. He had some great methodology, like asking the crowd what they remember about the Disney World theme park. It was interesting to me that nobody who spoke up mentioned any of the rides. Instead, they said things like "The park was so clean!" or "Everyone is so friendly there!" Snow then mentioned that for the Tower of Terror ride alone, Disney spent over $100 million dollars... but it means nothing if the customer does not have a good experience in the park. He advised us all to take the time to experience a visit to our area through the lens of the customer (visitor) and to ensure that we were not doing things for our own convenience, but for theirs. He also condones empowering staff since "The best ideas can come from within. They can cost nothing and change everything!" He was a wonderful speaker.

The ECS team separated for the various breakout sessions Wednesday afternoon. I attended "The Trails of Colorado" since I've been working with Dan Cleveland from the Trails and Open Space Coalition to integrate trail maps into our new website when it launches next year. I'm also part of the Watershed Access Advisory Group (through Springs Utilities) to help drive the public process to form a policy that will accommodate recreational use of trails on the south slope of Pikes Peak while protecting the water supply. So Wednesday's trails session gave me some good background information on what types of visitors other trail systems are attracting and how to incorporate these visitors into our marketing plan."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lovebyrd flies to Disaboom

Disaboom, the new online community for people with disabilities, announced today it had acquired, an online dating and social networking service for disabled singles. It will rebrand under the Disaboom umbrella and offer it as a free service within The deal involved part cash, part stock in Disaboom; the price was not disclosed. Disaboom was founded by two Colorado Springs men, J.W. Roth and Dr. Glen House.

Veteran commercial brokers switch addresses

Michael Palmer and Peter Scoville, two longtime commercial brokers at NAI Highland Commercial Group LLC in Colorado Springs, have jumped to an expanded local office of Cushman & Wakefield of Colorado Inc. Palmer (top right), who had been with NAI Highland since March 1996, has closed more than $1 billion in real estate transactions including leasing assignments, land sales, office and research and development sales, according to a Cushman & Wakefield statement. He's past president of the Colorado chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and is a graduate of the University of Arizona. Scoville (bottom right), who had joined NAI Highland in spring 2000, has represented some of the region’s top landlords and tenants and has advised major corporate clients. Scoville currently serves as president of the Board of Realtors Commercial Industrial Society and is a graduate of The Colorado College. Cushman & Wakefield opened its Colorado Springs office in 1997 and focused primarily on property management. The office began offering brokerage services last year and currently has three senior brokerage professionals and plans to increase that number.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chuck Asay unplugged at the HBA

Former Gazette political cartoonist Chuck Asay will discuss the building industry and politics during a luncheon to benefit the political action committee of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs. Asay will speak at noon, Thursday, Nov. 1 at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, 3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, on Colorado Springs' southwest side. Attendees should RSVP to 592-1800, ext., 21. The cost is $50 per person. More information: 592-1800 or

Heart friendly parking

Take a few extra steps, help your heart. The Outlets of Colorado inaugurated “heart friendly parking” today at its three sites, Outlets at Castle Rock, Outlets at Loveland and Outlets at Silverthorne. Fifty-three parking spots at each outlet have been designated as heart friendly spaces. They encourage customers to park farther away and thus walk farther to the stores. Walking just 30 minutes a day has heart-health benefits, the American Heart Association says.

Tourism conference this week

The Governor’s 2007 Colorado Tourism Conference opens Wednesday in Grand Junction. Among those attending: a group of seven from Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak Convention and Visitors Bureau, headed by president and CEO Terry Sullivan. The annual event will showcase a diverse mix of travel industry experts. The Colorado Tourism Office will also unveil its 2008 marketing and advertising strategy. And at the annual Governor's Awards luncheon, recognition will be given to people and groups throughout the state that help grow and strengthen the Colorado brand. The event will close with a presentation on “Survival - The Personality of Leadership,” featuring Aron Ralston, the climber who spent five days pinned beneath a boulder in a Utah canyon before performing a lifesaving self-amputation. For more details, go to

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rich Hand used to being ignored

Rich Hand is used to being ignored — the Colorado Springs resident ran for Congress last year and finished third — with 41 votes, or 0.04 percent of the vote.
Hand, executive director of membership for HDI, a Springs-based trade group for more than 7,000 information technology support professionals, writes about that experience and others in his autobiography, “My Life: Ignored! Life is Too Short to Ignore Yours.”
An anonymous response to his newsletter prompted Hand to write the 200-page book, published by HDI last month, who asked him why he published the 250-subscriber newsletter, put out three CDs with his band and authors a blog when “everyone ignores you.”
He wrote the book because “we have to do the things that are important to us even if they are ignored. The people important to us are still watching,” Hand said. “All of us are celebrities to our own core group of people. I want to motivate others into action in their own lives.”
Hand said “there was some real major ignoring going on in the Congressional race, but I believe I still made a difference with the people I engaged.” He said he plans to run again next year as an unaffiliated candidate and petition onto the ballot.
For more on Hand and his book, go to