Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sue Cobb or Sarah Moss, Mayor’s Office
Mayor Hickenlooper Announces Economic Development Director will return to Private Sector
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper announced today that John J. Huggins, director of the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED), has decided to return to private business.
“John Huggins is responsible for many of our most important accomplishments over the past three years,” Hickenlooper said. “He led the reorganization and refocusing of the Denver Office of Economic Development, enhancing our ability to foster a healthy business climate in our community. His dedication, creativity and superb grasp of economic development strategy will be difficult to match.”
Huggins will remain with the City full time until a successor is hired. Thereafter, he will serve as a consultant on the Denver Union Station redevelopment project until key approvals are secured. The City is conducting a national search for Huggins’ replacement.
“I am deeply grateful to Mayor Hickenlooper for giving me a wonderful opportunity to serve him and the people of Denver,” Huggins said. “Mayor Hickenlooper has redefined political leadership in this region. I will truly miss working for him and with my fellow mayoral appointees and my colleagues at the Office of Economic Development.”
Biographical Information on John Huggins is included below.
Outgoing Director of the Office of Economic Development: John Huggins
John J. Huggins was appointed director of the reorganized Denver Office of Economic Development in 2003. Previously, Huggins served as Hickenlooper’s transition director and as a key economic advisor to his mayoral campaign.
Under Huggins’ leadership, four previously separate agencies were consolidated into the Denver Office of Economic Development, providing business recruitment and retention, marketing, workforce development, small business assistance, and housing and neighborhood development programs across Denver. Huggins and his team refocused Denver’s economic development strategy and existing business and entrepreneurial development and substantially advanced Hickenlooper’s goal of creating 25,000 new jobs in Denver. Today, there are nearly 24,000 more Denver residents employed than in July 2003.
Huggins played a leadership role in many critical City projects, including the redevelopment of Dahlia Square Shopping Center, the City’s successful negotiations with United Airlines to assume its lease and recommit to Denver International Airport after United entered bankruptcy, and the successful negotiations with United and Frontier Airlines to have Frontier take over United’s gates on Concourse A at Denver International Airport. He was instrumental in securing approval of a $126 million public financing package for Denver’s first transit-oriented development, the $1 billion Cherokee project at the former Gates Rubber plant, and he helped jump-start Colfax revitalization with the Colorado Colfax Marathon and a catalyzing redevelopment project at the historic Lowenstein Theater. Huggins also played a key role in the resolution of more than $20 million in delinquent loans under the City’s economic development and housing programs and in establishing rigorous funding and accounting policies for these programs. Huggins was significantly involved in the solicitation and selection of a master developer for the $1 billion Denver Union Station redevelopment project and in developing the groundbreaking Construction Empowerment Initiative, the City’s new program to promote small—including minority- and women-owned—business participation in the construction industry. He also served as volunteer chief financial officer of the successful FasTracks campaign.
Prior to his service with Mayor Hickenlooper, Huggins co-founded a successful technology company and was a venture investor in several small start-up companies. He previously worked for the cities of Boston, St. Louis and Denver in various economic development roles, including two years as economic development director for former Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb. Huggins received a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science from the University of Chicago.
The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) focuses on improving Denver’s overall economy through the creation of jobs and economic opportunities for its citizens; providing public financing and technical assistance to public and private development projects; providing public financing to start-up and expansion of business entities in targeted neighborhoods; and assisting in the acquisition, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable housing.
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