And, while 150 jobs is good news just about any way you look at it, that’s not what Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. President Mike Kazmierski is most happy about.
“This is the first renewable energy company we’ll have in Colorado Springs, which is huge,” he said. “These are the kind of businesses we want to attract to the city and this is the first step in the right direction. It takes us from doubting we can do it, to believing we can.”
He said the need to attract more sustainable energy jobs was one of the key findings of Operation 6035, a six-month comprehensive consulting report completed last year that was aimed at improving the city’s economic development efforts.
“Now that we have one company here, we can begin to convince other companies that they need to be here, too,” Kazmierski said. “This is only 125 jobs now, but it will mean another 125 and another 125 and even more down the road.”
Rocky Wind Power has leased 14,000 square feet of warehouse space at 4120 N. Nevada Ave. and will produce wind-powered streetlight and rooftop generators for residences and commercial properties.
“This is a prime product coming to Colorado Springs right now at a time when they’re shutting off lights,” said Rocky Wind Power CFO Steve Stultz. “It seems like it’s perfect timing. We have a potential answer to that problem.”
Whether Rocky Wind Power will solve the city’s streetlight problem is yet to be seen, but Stultz said that city officials have talked about applying for federal renewable energy grants to pay for wind generators.
Streetlight business aside, Stultz said he has plenty of interest from local home builders and home owners’ associations that want the rooftop generators.
“These generators will allow everyone in town to use wind power with out having to be connected to the giant wind turbines,” Stultz said.
He said the decision for him and his wife, Pam, who is the company’s CEO, to choose Colorado Springs came down to one thing — the effort the city and EDC Marketing Vice President Dave White made to woo them.
“What really did it was the support,” Stultz said. “And in all honesty it was Dave White. He took the time to fly out and see us when he found out we were shopping around, and we were so impressed.”
Stultz said when he and his wife visited Colorado Springs, they couldn’t believe the support they felt from business and government leaders.
“Believe me,” Stultz said. “We were approached by many states, but none of them wanted us as badly as Colorado. Everyone said anything we can do to help you we’ll do. We want you.”
Kazmierski also believes it was the effort that made the deal a success.
“We got them in here and the community sold them on this place,” he said.
Stultz said he planned to begin coordinating with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center immediately after yesterday’s conference to begin interviewing for the jobs.