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Brad Buchanan Officially Named CEO of National Western Center Authority

DENVER - The National Western Center Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Brad Buchanan chief executive officer (CEO) for the National Western Center Authority — a Colorado nonprofit corporation that will program, operate and maintain the future 250-acre campus, transforming it into a year-round destination for agricultural education, innovation and entertainment. The appointment comes after an intensive local and national search for a finalist and subsequent open comment period that featured multiple community and business-industry meetings.

The National Western Center Authority is guided by a 13-person board made up of 11 voting directors and two non-voting directors. The CEO will report to the board.

Buchanan is expected to begin serving in the CEO role on Oct. 22. His early work will involve working closely with National Western Center funding partners including the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, Colorado State University and the National Western Stock Show Association, as well as programing partners History Colorado and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Buchanan will also meet regularly with residents and businesses within the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, and others to implement the vision of the National Western Center Master Plan.

“Brad has been a phenomenal planning director for the city, taking an innovative approach to managing Denver's growth and elevating the department’s work to protect neighborhoods and include more of our residents’ voices in the planning process,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “I have no doubt he will bring the same passion, inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit to the National Western Center Authority, and take this treasured city asset to a level that benefits the neighborhood and our community for decades to come.”

The Mayor has appointed Deputy Director Jill Jennings Golich as interim executive director of Community Planning and Development for the City and County of Denver.

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Brad Buchanan’s caliber take on this new endeavor with the National Western Center,” Authority Board Chairman Joe Garcia said. “As CEO of the Authority, Brad will establish a system that will maintain and operate the completed site as well as provide new and exciting programing opportunities. We couldn’t be more honored to name Brad as the Authority’s first CEO.”

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to exercise both my background in city planning and sustainable agriculture and drive the mission of this innovative new place,” Brad Buchanan said. “Talking with the residents, nonprofits and business owners in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea recently has been inspiring, and I’m committed to making the National Western Center a place derived from the communities, our western heritage and regenerative agriculture fueled by new connections between the urban and rural experience.”

About Brad Buchanan

Buchanan was appointed executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development by Mayor Hancock in 2014 and has been responsible for visionary city planning to ensure safe, responsible, sustainable building throughout Denver during a period of unprecedented growth. Under Buchanan‘s leadership, city planners released Denveright, five community-driven plans to guide the city’s growth, development, parks and mobility options over the next 20 years. Also under his direction, the city’s plan review, permitting and inspections functions managed historic levels of demand during the post-recession construction boom, drastically cutting wait times and eliminating backlogs. In his role as planning director, Buchanan provided valuable leadership in the urban design aspects of the National Western Center Campus. His last day as executive director of Community Planning and Development will be Oct. 9.

A Denver architect for nearly 30 years before his appointment as planning director, Buchanan was involved with many design and construction projects throughout the city, including new commercial and residential projects as well as adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Brad also co-founded the Buchanan-Yonushewski Group in 1999 and later joined RNL (now Stantec) as principal. Buchanan has held leadership positions on civic boards such as the Denver Planning Board, the Downtown Denver Partnership Board of Directors and Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission.

Since 2006, Buchanan and his wife, Margaret, have owned and operated the Flying B Bar Ranch in Strasburg, Colorado, where they raise certified grass-fed cattle. He has spoken at events like Slow Food Nation and TEDx about responsible urban development and its link to conservation of rural ranchlands.

About the National Western Center partners

Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center
Mayor Michael B. Hancock created the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center to lead the capital build for Phases I & II of this innovative campus and provide support for the developing Authority as this vision becomes a reality. Learn more.

Colorado State University
Colorado State University’s focus at the National Western Center is placed on food systems, water, energy, the environment, and health, all within the context of arts, culture, and economic development. Learn more.

Western Stock Show Association
The National Western Stock Show Association is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, responsible for hosting the annual premier Stock Show as well as other western heritage and entertainment events throughout the year. Learn more.