A recap of a busy week (8956)

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Opinion

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Legislative Action Mission trip to Washington, D.C. this past week was a success.

I think I can safely speak for the business team, but we want input from the other teams as well. So, I’ve asked the team leaders to send me their thoughts and conclusions so we can post it all on www.csbj.com.

Well, down to the basics. The trip made me realize that we have some work to do in the Springs.

First, we need a point person to ensure that we are taking advantage of the available federal grants for employing our soldiers, working with homeless veterans and work force and economic development. As the grants were mentioned at the meetings, the business team often wondered which organization in the Springs would be responsible to secure the grants and who would oversee them.

Perhaps the point person could be housed with the EDC, the chamber, Pikes Peak Workforce Development, the Downtown Partnership or a university.

I think there are too many silos in our community, and if we worked together more often, we might be able to take advantage of all of the federal grants out there.

So, how do we bring everyone together? I’ll start by challenging Jerry Smith, CEO of Pikes Peak United Way. We have a community leadership summit coming up in April, and I propose that Jerry include the idea of a point person on his agenda as a community initiative.

I also will challenge the chamber to reach out to more organizations and include them on the next D.C. trip. I found out the Downtown Partnership was unaware of the trip, after I admonished them for not being present. Of course, I will follow up with them since I was on the trip, but the chamber needs to be inclusive of all organizations and encourage their attendance. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center should have been represented as well. Maybe they can address the issue of which organization is in charge of applying for the grants.

In addition to all of my learning experiences in D.C., I can’t overlook the relationships that were formed on this trip. Except for the occasional Blackberry or cell phone interruption, all of us spent some quality time together and exchanged some great ideas.

We’ll keep these updates on our Web site and use them as a tool to gauge our progress in building this community.

Congratulations to the chamber and its staff for coordinating a productive and bustling week.

You can e-mail questions or special requests while I’m in D.C. to lon.matejczyk@csbj.com