Paul Washington, founder and President of LJS Capital, will assume the role as Director of the Office of Economic Development. In this capacity, he will lead the office’s work to collaborate with a variety of community partners to create a sustainable business ecosystem in Denver.
DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today introduced his all-star economic development team selected to refocus and reenergize the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) to grow jobs and create a sustainable business environment in Denver.
“It’s time we fundamentally change the way we do business in Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “By creating a long-term strategic plan to attract, grow and retain businesses and provide good jobs, we will help to put the Denver metro area on its rightful path to becoming a global competitor.”
“I am honored to be taking on this role and excited to build critical partnerships with businesses throughout Denver and the Front Range,” Washington said. “We will launch the City’s OED into the 21st Century, providing local, national and global businesses with a more efficient, more competitive Denver.”
Through improved customer service and efficiencies, this office will work to stimulate businesses wanting to start, expand or relocate in the Denver metro area, and establish Denver as the Start-up and Small Business Capitol of the Country.
"I think Paul is an excellent choice for the Director of Denver’s OED,” said Steven Cohen, managing director of the Anschutz Corporation. “His business acumen, investment banking experience and knowledge of finance makes him particularly well-suited for this position. Paul's appointment presents a great opportunity for OED and for Paul to promote the Mayor's vision of making Denver a centerpiece of business activity."
Washington will be joined by Kelly Leid who will serve as the City’s Director of Development Services. Leid previously served as the Director of Operations within Denver Public Schools’. With more than 20 years of broad-based management experience, he has also been actively involved in the planning and execution of over $800 million in public facility projects, including a growing list of K-12 school facilities and the Metro Football Stadium District.
"As a third generation Coloradoan, I am deeply humbled to be called to service by Mayor Hancock," Leid said. "I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to help advance the development services organization on behalf of our customers and aligning our collective energies toward the critically important economic development work we have ahead of us."
“Working intermittently with Kelly for more than 15 years, I trust his complete understanding of the Denver metro area’s development processes,” said Bill Mosher, senior managing director of the Trammell Crow Company. “Kelly is reliable in his commitment to get the job done and his ability to create a collaborative work environment. He will be strong asset to the Mayor’s economic development team.”
Furthermore, Mayor Hancock announced that a high caliber team of economic development professionals have volunteered to serve as advisors to Washington and his team as they formalize their strategies.
Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation will be joined by veteran economic development professionals from around the region. They include John Cody, president of the Longmont Area Economic Council; Mike Fitzgerald, president of the South East Business Partnership; Mike Masciola, director of economic development for the City of Thornton; and Wendy Mitchell, president and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council.
“All the members of the Metro Denver EDC look forward to working with the Mayor and his dedicated administration to create a new and improved OED that will provide the pinnacle of customer service and collaboration,” said Clark. “With appointments like Paul and Kelly, the Mayor is building a team of leaders with wide-ranging expertise necessary to advance Denver’s partnerships with our businesses and regional neighbors.”
Working to fulfill Hancock’s First 100 Days Plan, the team of economic development experts will design a comprehensive strategy to rebuild OED. This plan will focus on job creation, and business retention, expansion and attraction services. The team is expected to conclude their research in 45 days and provide a full report to the Mayor within 90 days. The team members’ work will be volunteer hours only, and will not be compensated.