Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the formation of a Business Advisory Group to help the administration shape a 21st Century economic-development agenda that will benefit the entire state of Colorado.
"I'm pleased that such a talented and diverse group of business leaders has agreed to advise me and my economic-development team," Ritter said. "Much of what I hope to accomplish around renewable energy, transportation, education and health care must be part of a broader economic-development strategy. This team will help us lay out a comprehensive vision that places an emphasis on creating economic opportunity for all."
The 20-member advisory group held its first meeting on Feb. 1. It will meet monthly during the legislative session and bi-monthly after that. The group is co-chaired by Rick Sapkin, managing partner of Edgemark Development and head of Colorado Concern, and Pat Vincent, president of Xcel Energy's Colorado operations.
"The Business Advisory Group will be a bi-partisan effort to work on business issues that are in the best interests of Colorado," said Pat Vincent, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "We will look at economic development opportunities that benefit all residents in all parts of the state."
Other members include: Reeves Brown, head of the Western Slope's Club 20 organization; Rob Cohen, chairman and CEO of the IMA Financial Group Inc. and chair of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce board; Hubert Farbes, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt and Farber;Craig Ferraro, partner and CFO of East West Partners; John Ikard, president and CEO of FirstBank Holding Co.; Walter Isenberg, founder of Sage Hospitality; Annette Quintana, co-founder of TeamExcel Inc.; Ann Sperling, former senior managing director of Trammell Crow Co.; Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver and head of The Webb Group. 
"This is a broad group of business people who can be a sounding board for the governor so he can ask hard and pointed questions, and get honest and direct answers," Sapkin said.
Ritter developed the idea for the advisory group during his campaign for governor, when numerous constituency groups formed to support his candidacy. Similar advisory groups representing other communities of interest also will be named in the coming months.