Anybody know where we’re headed?

Dale Beede

A new year is nearly upon us. While it’s natural to wonder about what that new year will bring, there seem to be more questions than answers.

Who would have thought 20 years ago the Grand Valley would have four strong hospitals all managing, for the most part, to stay out of each other’s way? Who could have predicted the energy industry would slow nearly to a stop, yet most large shops and warehouses would remain occupied and used? Who foresaw a shortage of affordable single-family homes? Who anticipated that hemp would become a crop replacement for alfalfa, corn and even sugar beets? Who envisioned the outdoor recreation, wineries, high-tech companies and laid-back lifestyle that would change the community?

Change usually happens slowly. The Grand Valley has changed slowly enough over the past 20 years to become something of a mecca. 

A mecca? Sure, we’re an outdoor mecca with some of the best hiking, single-track biking, rafting, skiing and golfing in the world.  It appears that millennials like this lifestyle.  We’ve embraced fiber and broadband as necessities in performing our business and engineering tasks. We’re on the way to becoming the wine mecca of the Rockies, the name entertainment hotspot of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, the regional medical leader and a place where parents are comfortable raising a family.  We’re that mecca where folks still have common sense and rural values but with high-speed internet and electric vehicles. Who would have thought?

There’s an ebb and a flow with change. We’re in the midst of that flow, especially when it comes to technology and medicine and perhaps with hemp and outdoor recreation. These could represent the growth industries that help our valley evolve and create jobs for our children. Perhaps the success of these industries will help spawn new industries. In addition, we must maintain what’s already been built. Street projects and major building renovations will still make up a portion of our economic output.

If we pay attention, those of us working through the ebb will remain busy in our business and commercial support roles. We’ll help provide stability in a world that’s in a rush to get somewhere.  And we actually might enjoy the ride.

Happy holidays, Grand Valley. It’s been a wild 20 years.  Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2020.