Meet GJEP’s Kristi Pollard
Kristi Pollard is excited to be back at the place she has called home since she was a child.
In April 2015, she was hired as the new executive director of Grand Junction Economic Partnership, a nonprofit which connects companies to Colorado’s Grand Valley.
“My goals with GJEP are to create jobs and create a sustainable Mesa County,” she said. “We are refining how we are doing business and working with local businesses on what they need to do to grow their customer base to expand.”
She and her team at GJEP hope to recruit businesses that are one direct-flight away. They are focusing on bringing in environmentally and geographically targeted businesses that have 10-50 employees in its “six industry cluster” — outdoor manufacturing, energy, health care, IT, agriculture and aerospace.
“We are working with local businesses that are being proactive and utilizing them to help tell the story of why doing businesses in western Colorado is the best way to do it,” Pollard said.
Tim Foster, GJEP’s chairman of the board, is thrilled to have Pollard on board.
“Kristi’s unique skill set and leadership abilities are what this community needs as we strive to increase the economic vitality of the area,” Foster said.
Pollard’s degree was originally in elementary education and after she graduated from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University), she and her husband had to move to the front range for employment opportunities.
She eventually found a job with a law firm as a legal assistant, which landed her a job with the U.S. Senate Office, where she served as a liaison for officials. She then was hired on to help with Denver Tech Center’s economic development, where her main focus was to help employers working with their employees with telecommuting and eliminate traffic woes by urging employees to use mass transit or carpool.
Working with the Denver Tech Center provided background in economic development and companies located in the area.
“There are a lot of neat companies that never anticipated being there,” she added.
Her husband, Tim Pollard, eventually was offered to relocate to Grand Junction. The idea was appealing to the family of four at the time to be closer to grandparents and a slower-paced lifestyle.
“I never thought we’d be able to come back,” Pollard said. “We never thought good jobs would be available again here, but the opportunity presented itself and we jumped and moved home.”
Pollard worked for Chevron for a short time before the company moved local operations to Texas, she was hired to work for her alma mater, CMU, as the foundation director. She then had her third son, Connor, and decided to stay home to be with her children. She started her own consulting firm in the mean time. Eventually, the GJEP position opened and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I have always wanted to get into the economic world again,” Pollard added.
When Pollard isn’t working, she enjoys long-distance running, watching her sons play football and going to games, boating and skiing.
“I love western Colorado and consider myself a western slope girl,” she said. “From a selfish standpoint, I want western Colorado to be successful and my kids to have an option to stay here for when they grow up. So I am invested and interested in the growth and success to create jobs here.”
To learn more about GJEP, visit http://www.gjep.org.
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