President's Letter - October 31, 2009



Colorado Rural Development Council

Memo to the many Friends and Partners of CRDC

From Clarke Becker, President/ CEO


For more than 6 years I have been richly blessed to serve the Colorado Rural Development Council and rural Colorado as the President/CEO.  I have quite literally traveled to every corner of the state and been able to work with some of the best and most dedicated people that can be found, anywhere. 


The focus of this letter is to officially inform you that I have accepted a position as Director of Workforce Development Programs with the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment which will be effective November 2, 2009.  This is an exciting new chapter for me, personally and professionally.  As a result of my new position, the CRDC Board is developing strategies for the next steps for the future of and in the best interests of CRDC.   


CRDC, as with many non-profit organizations, has been challenged, particularly for the last twelve months.  An important reason to move forward with CRDC is the significant optimism for State Rural Development Councils, nationally.  This is a result of current and future opportunities through the efforts of the “Partners for Rural America” (PRA) and the National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP) the national organizations for state rural development councils, in which CRDC is very involved.  I serve on the governing boards for both PRA and the NRDP. PRA is experiencing great success and encouragement as a result of our efforts with USDA-Rural Development in Washington, DC. 


This national presence, in concert with the significant successes and initiatives of CRDC particularly over the past two years leaves much room for optimism.  CRDC has a strong five year plan and strategy and a solid program of work.  With continued support from our many investors and partners, great things are in store for the future of rural Colorado.


In these most challenging economic times, the efforts of CRDC have never been more valuable.  Working hard to influence positive economic change has been a core focus and one that has been met with considerable success and enthusiasm. 


CRDC just completed the 2nd Annual Colorado Entrepreneurship MarketPlace that was held in Grand Junction on October 9th, 2009.  We could not imagine that we would experience greater success than the inaugural MarketPlace that was held in 2008 at Otero Junior College in La Junta.  But we did it!  However, without the great partnerships of the Grand Junction Business Incubator and many great sponsors, an incredible planning committee and excited attendees, it could not have happened.  We are currently considering our options for the 3rd Annual MarketPlace.  Watch for more information. 


In addition to the great success of the MarketPlace to create meaningful jobs in rural Colorado, we completed the 2008 Report on the Status of Rural Colorado.  This was a very comprehensive effort to accumulate information that would help educate urban Colorado on the importance of the economy of rural Colorado to the entire State of Colorado.  It is an invaluable resource to urban and rural constituents, alike.  As with any significant effort such as this, it would not have been possible without the great support of the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium and the Colorado Workforce Development Council.  This is another great partnership that has contributed to success for rural Colorado.


As the board considers the options for the next steps for CRDC, be sure to watch for important updates, events and programs that will all contribute to creating a stronger rural Colorado! 


In closing, there is no way I could possibly thank the incredible number of friends and partners with whom I have had the pleasure to work over the past 6+ years.  If I began to list them, it would take several more pages and I would likely leave someone out.    However, I would be remiss if I did not thank the CRDC Board of Directors and especially, Michelle Alcott for their great support of our efforts during my tenure. 


One of the components of my new position that is particularly exciting to me is the expectation of expanding the partnerships for workforce programs with the economic development, higher education and business communities throughout the state.  We must focus on stronger and more integrated workforce programs in both urban AND rural Colorado.  As a result, I will personally look forward to new opportunities to work with the great people all over the state that are committed to influencing positive economic change. 


We regularly encourage everyone to “get on board with rural Colorado”.  Now, more than ever, we need everyone to “get on board and stay on board, with rural Colorado”.   Things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle!  Rural Colorado is not waiting! 


Clarke Becker


(New contact information will be provided as it becomes available.)


Other Questions or comments can be forwarded to:


Michelle Alcott, Business Manager, CRDC

Phone:            (303) 934-9117

Address:        2738 S. Newton St, Denver, CO  80236