New Vice President of Economic Development
The Downtown Denver Partnership (Partnership) announced today Randy Thelen will join their executive management team as vice president of economic development. Thelen will begin his role with the Partnership on Jan. 8, 2018 where he will be responsible for guiding economic development and growing Denver’s thriving economic base. This broad base of work includes attracting investment to the center city, business recruitment and retention, housing, retail, and public policy initiatives, as part of the Partnership’s vision to create an economically powerful center city. Thelen will join the Partnership’s Executive Management Team and will help guide the strategic direction of the organization.
As a leader in executing the Partnership’s dynamic place-based economic development strategy, Thelen will primarily focus on recruiting and retaining employers; working with developers, financial entities and government representatives in attracting and planning for new development; promoting the center city’s brand as an economic hub and home for innovation in the region; and directing efforts to attract housing development to Downtown while increasing the diversity of housing options.
“We are thrilled to leverage the leadership experience and expertise of Randy Thelen as we propel the growth and development of our center city forward.” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “In his leadership role, Randy will drive forward the vision set forth in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, the 20-year strategy for Downtown, focusing strategic efforts on building a diverse and strong economic base of companies that continue to position Downtown Denver as one of the most economically powerful center cities in the country. In this capacity, he will also work to ensure that there are housing and retail options, attract and retain high-growth companies, and continue to build an environment that fosters business growth.”
Thelen joins the Partnership from the Greater Omaha Chamber (Chamber) where he served as senior vice president of economic development, responsible for developing and implementing Chamber initiatives to attract and support the growth of new business and help existing businesses expand. He also led key initiatives, programs and operations of the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, a center for economic development covering eight counties. Under his leadership, the Partnership helped generate over $4 billion in private investment and over 13,000 new jobs.
“This is an exciting time to be part of the record-setting growth of Downtown Denver, a city that is garnering attention on the global stage for its strategic approach to place-based economic development,” said Thelen. “I look forward to working collaboratively with partners – public and private – to ensure the center city continues to thrive.”
In a statement, David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber said, “For the past four years, Randy Thelen, our senior vice president of economic development, has led the Greater Omaha Chamber’s economic development efforts. Today, Randy announced he has accepted a leadership role with the Downtown Denver Partnership. During his time with the Chamber, we have seen remarkable expansion of our tech-startup efforts, site development, business attraction, talent development and minority business development efforts. As a result, Randy has made a lasting, positive impact on our organization and our region.”
Thelen is an experienced economic developer with experience at the state, regional and local level. He previously held the role of president of Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development organization in Western Michigan, and has played key roles in several urban development projects in Downtown Detroit. Thelen is also an entrepreneur. He has a Master of Arts in applied economics from New York’s Binghamton University in 1996.