New board, new name in chamber/EDC merger

The city’s two main business groups have formalized their plans to unify and named its board members.

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. will become the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, as of Feb. 1.

The new board will include: Chris Blees of Biggs Kofford; Frank Caris of dpiX, Debbie Chandler of Colorado Springs Health Partners, Toby Gannett of the Palisades at Broadmoor Park, Steve Helbing of Wells Fargo, Chris Jenkins of Nor’wood Development Group; Mike Jorgensen of Red Noland Cadillac; Dan Malinari of Atlmel, Tom Neppl of Springs Fabrication, Kevin O’Neil of the O’Neil Group, Sherri Newell of Colorado Springs Utilities, Dave Palenchar of El Pomar, Doug Quimby of La Plata Communities, Venkat Reddy of UCCS and retired Gen. Gene Renuart.

The new board includes five members from each of the current chamber and EDC boards, and five at-large members. The new board chairman will be chosen at the first meeting after Feb. 1.

The new board will also serve as a transition team, planning and implementing the new merger.

“The local and national economies have illustrated that we are in unusual times and that business as usual will not cut it,” said Doug Quimby, EDC Board Chair. “The new organization will harness the energy and focus of the business community enabling us to be far more effective in achieving our collective goals.”

A Search Committee has been established to conduct a national search for the CEO of the new organization, and organizers believe the new CEO will be hired in the next three to four months. The Search Committee is co-chaired by chamber board Chairman Bill Hodgkins and EDC board Chairman Doug Quimby.

“Colorado Springs’ collaborative new approach to economic development is an ideal complement to Colorado’s Bottom-Up Economic Development Plan,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “The new organization, built on a solid foundation of the two groups, will strengthen our collective efforts and help to advance a strong recovery for our state and the southern region.”

The new organization will focus on economic development and job creation, but membership programs and services will remain the same, according to a press release about the announcement.