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Jeffco EDC on track to meet goals for 2018

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By Deborah Swearingen

As the year nears a close, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation reports reaching or exceeding a number of its goals surrounding job creation, supporting existing businesses and working to attract new businesses to the area.

“We are actually quite pleased with where we are today,” said Kristi Pollard, president of the EDC, during an Oct. 9 staff briefing with the Jeffco commissioners. “By the end of third quarter, we have surpassed our goals in a number of places.”

The county economic development corporation set a number of goals for the year, including:

• Work on projects throughout the year that will create 1,800 new primary jobs.

• Assist and provide resources to 125 existing businesses for retention and expansion efforts.

• Identify and work with 75 business expansion/attraction prospects.

• Hold five industry/business roundtables.

• Implement an education outreach campaign to businesses in the enterprise zone.

• Develop and implement a marketing and communications strategy for economic development efforts.

In 2018 to-date, the EDC reports 1,748 new jobs, just 50 shy of its end-of-year goal. Most of those jobs come from existing businesses, according to Leigh Seeger, vice president of economic development. Of the jobs, approximately 25 percent are from new businesses moving to the area, while the other 75 percent are from existing.

“It just shows the importance of not only recruiting companies here, but once they’re here making sure we have that ongoing relationship to keep them here and growing,” Seeger said.

The EDC says it has assisted and provided resources to 137 existing businesses for retention and expansion efforts and has identified or worked with 77 business expansions and attraction prospects. In both instances, the corporation exceeded its goals.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate has remained at a flat 2.5 percent since the second quarter of 2017, while Jeffco reports employment went up 2.9 percent.

During Pollard and Seeger’s report to the commissioners, they shared a number of business-related announcements throughout the county, including two South Jeffco standouts.

52eighty Distilling is opening a distillery and tasting room in Ken-Caryl. The company is leasing 3,600-square feet in the Ken-Caryl Business Center and will specialize in vodka, rum and whiskey. In the next year, 52eighty will create eight jobs and invest $500,000 in business personal property, according to a report from the EDC.

Additionally, Lockheed Martin announced a $7.2 billion contract to continue building Air Force GPS satellites in Jeffco. The EDC reports that Lockheed is the prime contractor building the first 10 GPS III satellites and will build the next 22 satellites for the military.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.