GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Grand Junction Economic Partnership announces that by the end of October, Kristi Pollard, the executive director for the agency will be moving on.
Pollard started in April 2015. In March 2015 the unemployment rate was 6.4% with 4,583 people unemployed and 67,565 employed workers. In August of 2017, the unemployment rate is now 3% with 2,199 unemployed workers and 70,064 people employed (numbers for both periods from the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
"We have seen some unbelievable momentum that has taken place and some unbelievable job growth, job creation and capital investment since I've been here." said Pollard.
You won't hear Pollard taking credit for all those jobs, but her job was to aggressively recruit businesses into Grand Junction. During her time, eight businesses have relocated to the Grand Valley with three more in the works. Pollard's coworkers tell News Channel 5 more than 600 jobs will be created by 2020 as a result of those businesses.
""I would love to think it's rocket science what we do but its very relational." she said, "We often times will spend months or years recruiting a business"
Pollard grew up in Grand Junction. Recruiting businesses here was like match making she says and selling her home town was hardly a challenge.
"We really paint that picture of what it would really be like to do business in Western Colorado. We both know this is such an amazing place that once we get [Potential Businesses] here, Grand Junction, Mesa County, Fruita, Palisade it sells it self"
Pollard made her's and her predecessor's job a little bit easier as well. She played a large part in the Rural Jump Start legislation that created a state-tax haven incentive package for businesses that move to rural areas of Colorado.
"The Business community got to work with the elected officials and the non-profits to really change the economy here in Western Colorado" she said.
Pollard says it was partnerships like that that have helped the economy in the valley grow and has given the business environment a true community feel.
Pollard will be finished at GJEP by the end of the month. She will move into a similar position at the Jefferson County Economic Development Coalition in Lakewood, CO.