First Annual “Coolest Thing in Colorado” Launched at Event
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DENVER – The Colorado Chamber of Commerce today hosted Colorado Business Day, an annual event bringing together business leaders, local chambers and elected officials to discuss key economic priorities in Colorado. The Chamber also announced the launch of the “Coolest Thing Made in Colorado” contest, a new program that will highlight the state’s vibrant manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturing has an incredible impact on our state’s economy and culture, and we’re proud to recognize products made in right here in Colorado by Coloradans,” said Chamber President and CEO Loren Furman. “Our manufacturers are job creators and innovators that make the things we rely on every day – from the carpet under our feet to the clothes we wear to the cars we drive. We look forward to launching the ‘Coolest Thing in Colorado’ to showcase the extraordinary work of Coloradans in the manufacturing community.”
The announcement comes as the Chamber undergoes transformation with Furman as the organization’s new president and CEO as of January 1, 2022. Furman has prioritized a future-focused vision at the Chamber that creates opportunities for all Coloradans and addresses long-term challenges impacting the state’s competitiveness.
“We want Colorado to be a place where business leaders want to invest, innovate and create opportunities,” Furman said. “In my conversations with business leaders across the state, I continue to hear the same themes. We need to bolster the talent pipeline of skilled workers, improve our tax environment, encourage a non-litigious employment environment, and make Colorado more competitive with other states.”
In addition to launching the “Coolest Thing” program, Furman emphasized the need for a unified voice to fight for a healthy business climate in Colorado. To that end, the Chamber announced a new affiliation with local chambers earlier this year to strengthen our partnership with businesses across the state.
Another key component to the Chamber’s long-term vision is growing the organization’s political program. Every election cycle, the Chamber oversees an extensive interview process for state legislative candidates and makes endorsements in the general election. This year, the organization will engage in primary elections for the first time, identifying pro-business leaders in both parties early to make a bigger impact on who is elected to lead Colorado.
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), was the keynote speaker for Colorado Business Day, which focused on workforce issues in the manufacturing sector.
“Even before the pandemic, manufacturers cited hiring and retaining talent as one of their biggest business challenges,” Timmons said. “Today, that challenge is even bigger. The industry is going to need to fill more than four million jobs by the end of this decade. If hiring and retention practices don’t evolve, more than two million of those jobs are going to go unfilled within the next ten years. That’s going to create a major talent drain that’s going to cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars or more in 2030 alone. It’s a big challenge, but think it’s also important to see those numbers as opportunities.”
Timmons pointed to the NAM’s “Creators Wanted” initiative, which encourages students to explore careers in manufacturing.
“We’re inviting young people and those looking for a new start to become the next generation of manufacturing workforce and to see what modern manufacturing is all about,” Timmons said.
According to the NAM, Colorado’s 4800+ manufacturing firms contribute more than $26 billion to the state’s economy, accounting for 6.75% of total output and employing approximately 152,000 Coloradans. The Colorado Chamber has been the state’s affiliate for the NAM since 1965 and is proud to count many of Colorado’s prominent manufacturers among its members.
About the “Coolest Thing in Colorado”
Any product made in Colorado is eligible to enter the “Coolest Thing in Colorado” contest. Nominations can be made on the program website beginning August 1. The Chamber will announce one “Coolest Thing” winner along with a series of other special categories of winners.
The results will be announced at the Colorado Chamber’s annual meeting luncheon in October – which is National Manufacturing Month – and will continue each year as an annual contest.
For more information, please visit CoolestThingColorado.com. More details on the program will be available in the coming months.
The Colorado Chamber of Commerce champions free enterprise, a healthy business environment and economic prosperity for all Coloradans. It is the only business association that works to improve the business climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective. What the Colorado Chamber accomplishes is good for all businesses, and that’s good for the state’s economy. It was created in 1965 based on the merger with the Colorado Manufacturers’ Association.