Douglas County cleans up at economic awards ceremony

Growth, innovation lead to honors

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Douglas County continues to make noise on the economic front, pulling in three top awards at the Economic Development Council of Colorado annual awards banquet.

County Commissioner Jill Repella was named volunteer of the year; Amy Sherman, president of the Northwest Douglas County Economic Development Corporation, took home rookie of the year honors; and Arapahoe/Douglas Works! picked up the partner of the year award for its innovative work.

The volunteer award that Repella picked up April 4 in Colorado Springs is the only award that an elected official is eligible for.

“Jill has a very pro-business attitude,” said John Cody, EDCC chairman. “She was recognized specifically for her role in economic development, as well as her fundamental belief in the role of government to facilitate and foster a fertile business environment and her contribution to the passage of the Colorado Jobs Act last year.”

Repella said the real award to her was people getting back to work in Douglas County.

“Six thousand, three hundred new jobs were brought into Douglas County’s jurisdiction in the past year and about 3,500 of those were brand new jobs,” she said. “From my perspective that’s 3,500 families that were able to provide for themselves … I only hope that trend continues.”

Sherman, who founded the NDCEDC in November 2011, was honored for bringing in 25 new investors in the organization’s first year, including Douglas County, Sterling Ranch, Wind Crest, The Highlands Ranch Community Association, IREA, First Bank and numerous other heavyweights from the region.

“Northwest Douglas County is primed for some really great future development,” Sherman said. “This is really a big piece of it, and with Sterling Ranch in our future and Highlands Ranch being a great, established suburban community creating more jobs all the time, we have some great focus on us right now that is needed.”

Sherman also serves on the board of directors for the Roxborough Business Association and on the nearby Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve.

“To somewhat change professions and start a brand-new organization while contributing significantly toward economic development efforts, representing not only her region, we thought Amy was well-deserving of the award,” Cody said.

Cody said the Arapahoe/Douglas Works! award was really reflective of years of exemplary work in connecting a skilled workforce with employers and more.

“They’ve done some cutting-edge things to help make the Colorado economy successful,” he said.

This past year, ADW helped the Denver South Economic Development Partnership with site selection data that resulted in location and expansion of Arrow Electronics, Redwood Trust and Charles Schwab. They also helped with staffing for Connextions, TriZetto, Blockbuster, Kaiser Permanente and Gordon Composites, to name a few.

“I think it is an affirmation of the work my staff does in realizing both the supply side and the demand side of the economy,” said Joe Barela, regional director for ADW. “In this environment, the worst thing you can do is not to be connected. We bring people together to make sure there is a good match.”