Sharon Sullivan

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February 21, 2013
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Meet downtown's new 'champion'

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Aaron Hoffman moved just a few blocks to his new job Feb. 14 as marketing and communications director for the Grand Junction Downtown Partnership.

Already a downtown employee, as well as a consumer - his children love the splash pad on Main Street and he and his wife, Nikki Grant-Hoffman, also enjoy playing downtown - Hoffman knows firsthand what's special about Grand Junction's inner core and how to promote it.

"Aaron was working on Main Street for two years, and already dialed in to what's going on downtown," Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Harry Weiss said.

Plus, "Aaron has tremendous strength in social and digital media," Weiss said. "We want to use that more effectively."

Hoffman formerly worked at Rocky Mountain PBS as development officer and social media manager.

During an 18-month period, Hoffman brought the RMPBS Facebook page from just under 2,000 fans, to 11,000 fans.

Hoffman's responsibilities will include marketing the downtown Grand Junction Business Improvement District, the promotion of downtown events, and providing internal and external communications for the BID.

Hoffman's position will include broader communication with property owners, businesses and the community at large, Weiss said.

Sixty-five people applied for the job, some from out-of-state.

In addition to Hoffman's nonprofit and communications experience with RMPBS, he comes with a background in science.

Prior to moving to Grand Junction in 2009, Hoffman founded a company in Alaska called Scientific Outreach Media, a video production company focused on communicating the work of scientists to the general public.

"About 95 percent of my business was from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks," Hoffman said.

Moving from science to communications isn't as unlikely as it might seem.

"Most scientists who have funding through the National Science Foundation need a public outreach component, as part of the grant fulfillment," which led to starting his own video company, Hoffman said.

Hoffman received a Ph.D. and Master's in Science degree in zoology form Colorado State University, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Hope College in Holland, Mich.

The Downtown Partnership is a collaboration among the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Business Improvement District and the Downtown Association, all of whom combine resources for capital improvement projects, redevelopment activity and the marketing and promotion of the downtown district.

It's mission is to create a "thriving downtown, founded on the economic vitality of the central business district and a strong sense of community identity."

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 21, 2013 03:57PM Published Feb 21, 2013 03:56PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.