PCDI Selects New Economic Development Director

New PCDI Director Lance Benninghoff

New PCDI Director Lance Benninghoff

Lance Benninghoff has been selected as the new Economic Development Director for Prowers County Development Incorporated.  Benninghoff was introduced at the beginning of the PCDI business seminars held Friday, September 6 at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.

Benninghoff has strong ties to southeast Colorado and was most recently employed as a political analyst for the Department of Finance in the Office of Budget and Management in the Denver Mayor’s office.  He was one of four finalists who were interviewed by the PCDI board of directors in their search for a replacement director following the resignation of Lisa Nolder this past spring.

Benninghoff with PCDI Directors Brase and Robbins

Benninghoff with PCDI Directors Brase and Robbins

Benninghoff was a management intern in Otero County for several years and had been employed as an economic development analyst for SEBREA where he was involved in data mining and economic impact analysis.  He had been working in Mayor Hancock’s Denver office for almost two years when he became interested in the PCDI position.  He said his work in the mayor’s budget office had direct ties to economic development, especially on capital projects. 

Early in his career Benninghoff became interested in a law career, working as a paralegal and took a Denver Politics class. From there he interned with Mayor Hancock who was then the city council president.  From that position he became involved with public service and gave thought to becoming a city manager.  He continued his education, working towards a master’s degree which he hopes to receive this fall.  It was that work which had him interning in the Otero County administrator’s office.  His work with SEBREA in La Junta involved data mining and economic analysis connected to small business development.

He said he’s fortunate to have so many ties to southeast Colorado.  “I’ve always stayed in touch, even when I was in Denver.  In fact, I was usually selling the Valley and a lot of times I’d get caught because I’d be saying ‘We’ when talking about Otero County,” he said.  His work in the metro area brought him into contact with numerous people from this area.  He said several associates are planning to participate in the September Pedal the Plains event later this month.  Benninghoff said he intends to keep his contacts in Front Range government and economic development up to date about the business potential of southeast Colorado.

As PCDI director he hopes to continue to take part in an informal economist roundtable which draws top state economists and legislators from the budgeting or demographics offices in Colorado who cover a range of different issues.  “I think it would add a different dynamic through agriculture because Ag has some of the top experts in Colorado.  For example, La Junta has the second largest cattle feed market, and we have JBS.  Cattle are one of the top exports in the state, it’s one of the largest economic drivers for Colorado,” Benninghoff explained.  He added that alternative energy, wind power and transmission can be brought to the table from a rural perspective.  People from the Front Range are too focused on the metro area and need to see what the rural areas of Colorado can contribute, he added.

“I know the Valley and the metro area and the people up there so I can go back and forth between both worlds.   I think that will really help in terms of developing those relationships,” he explained.  He said he will also focus on helping develop a thriving downtown for communities in Prowers County. Benninghoff will officially start his duties as PCDI Economic Development Director on September 16.

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinesscommunityEconomyEmploymentFeaturedProwers CountyThe Journal Alert


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