Michael B. Hancock became Denver’s 45th mayor in July 2011 and immediately launched Peak Performance efforts that will save the city $10 million a year annually. His strategy for making government more efficient, effective and customer-service oriented laid the ground work for his plan to transform Denver into a “Smart City” that is innovative and intentional, particularly with regard to jobs, kids and safety.
In just his first year in office, Mayor Hancock worked with Congressional, State and regional leaders to land one of four satellite U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Offices for downtown Denver. The Patent Office will generate nearly $440 million in economic impact over the next five years while placing Denver on the cutting edge of technology and bolstering the region’s burgeoning high-tech sectors and job growth.
Recognizing the opportunity that exists at Denver International Airport, the fifth-largest airport in the United States, Hancock envisions a bustling “aerotropolis” that will drive job growth and become a regional economic powerhouse. Development of the land on airport property is expected to generate 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years in innovation sectors such as aerospace, cleantech and healthcare. The South Terminal Redevelopment project, which will provide rail access to downtown Denver’s Union Station from the airport as well as a 500-room Westin hotel adjacent to DIA, is underway and will be completed in 2016.
Hancock also brought new international flights to Tokyo, Iceland and Mexico City that will generate a combined $167.4 million in economic impact for the region while opening Denver to new markets in Asia, Europe and Central America.
To support businesses, Mayor Hancock and his team created the JumpStart 2012 and JumpStart 2013 economic development plans, which are making strategic investments in Denver’s local businesses and neighborhoods. The plans have allowed businesses such as Colorado Premium meatpacking to keep 185 jobs in Denver, with plans to double that number in the next few years. JumpStart 2012 & 2013 are also attracting new businesses to the city, including SCL Health Systems and a new Southwest Airlines pilot base.
Hancock hosted Denver’s first Venture Capital Roundtable in 2012 and launched a business plan competition to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.
Despite the lingering economic challenges of the great recession, Hancock has balanced the city’s budget while restoring reserves and maintaining essential services and Denver’s AAA credit rating.
Understanding the role that a good education can play in shaping a young person’s future, Hancock has made serving the children of our great city a priority in his administration. He founded the Denver Education Compact to bring together city department and partner agency leadership to align city programs, services and investments to best serve Denver’s children and youth. The compact will rally these resources toward getting 90 percent of Denver third-graders reading at grade level by 2020.
Hancock also formed the Denver Children’s Cabinet and launched a program to provide the city’s kids with free access to Denver recreation centers and pools.
As mayor, Hancock has brought meaningful reform to the Denver Police Department. He established new leadership that has reorganized the department to get highly trained officers out of the office and back onto the streets. He also appointed new commanders with strong relationships in their districts to foster better neighborhood relations. Hancock has also reformed the discipline process, cutting in half a long and complicated process for resolving internal affairs cases to achieve quicker resolution and accountability.
Mayor Hancock believes that in a world-class city like Denver, everyone matters, so he has worked to assure that all residents receive the highest level of service at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.
When Hancock and his team launched the administration’s Peak Performance effort, Denver Human Services had a backlog of more than 10,000 applications for assistance benefits. In January of 2011, Denver Human Services was processing only 54 percent of new applications for assistance on time. The agency is now processing 95 percent of applications on time and getting food, cash and medical assistance to families in need when they need it most.
Through Hancock’s work, and the work of the city’s many partners, Denver has moved nearly 2,000 chronic homeless individuals to permanent housing, putting the city on track to end chronic homelessness in Denver as we know it.
About Mayor Hancock
Michael Hancock was born in Fort Hood, Texas, the youngest of 10 children from an Army family that moved to Denver when he was just 10 months old. A graduate of Denver’s Manual High School, Hancock attended Hastings College in Nebraska, working summers in Denver as an intern for then-Mayor Federico Peña’s office before graduating in 1991 with a B.A. in political science and minor in communications. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado-Denver in 1995.
Hancock started his career while pursuing his master’s degree, working at both the Denver Housing Authority and National Civic League, where he designed, implemented and oversaw the first-ever athletic, cultural and leadership-training programs in public housing and helped groups all over the country craft and enact strategic plans to solve economic and budget challenges, increase civic participation and improve governance. He joined Metro Denver’s Urban League affiliate in 1995 as program director before becoming president in 1999, becoming the youngest President of an Urban League chapter in America. At the Urban League, Hancock created a nationally recognized and award winning job-training program and developed long lasting private-sector partnerships.
In 2003, Hancock was elected to represent Denver City Council’s District 11. He served two terms as council president, from 2006-08. He presided over the creation of the Denver Preschool Program; spearheaded efforts to expand economic opportunities; fought to end the foreclosure crisis and mortgage fraud; helped initiate innovative-schools legislation and helped guide the Better Denver Bond program.
Mayor Hancock is the proud father of three children — Alayna, Jordan and Janae — and he and his wife, Mary, have been married for 20 years after first meeting in middle school.