DENVER – The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce today announced the appointment of Raymond H. Gonzales as executive vice president of the Chamber and president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC). He will begin Dec. 1.
Gonzales, who currently serves as county manager of Adams County, brings more than 24 years of senior level experience encompassing nearly every level of government administration. He is known as a progressive and innovative economic development professional with a successful track record for attracting new industry, business and investments. Adams County ranked #1 in the nation in job growth out of 355 of the largest U.S. counties from June 2018 to June 2019.
“Emerging from a pandemic, we need forward-thinking and visionary leadership to continue driving economic growth in every corner of Metro Denver,” said April Giles, Metro Denver EDC Executive Board co-chair and Fitzsimmons Innovation Community vice president of business development. “Raymond has proven that he understands the complexities of creating local partnerships, crafting international economic development agreements, and building an inclusive culture of success at the highest levels.”
Gonzales will oversee the Metro Denver EDC in its work to unite more than 70 cities, counties and economic development agencies in the nine-county Metro Denver region to promote economic prosperity, lead business attraction and retention efforts and advance the region’s business brand, The Elevation Effect.
“Raymond is an outstanding leader who brings the perfect portfolio of experience and accomplishments to these critical roles in our organization,” said J. J. Ament, president and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, who oversaw the Metro Denver EDC before assuming his role leading the Chamber in September. “From our smallest startups to our enterprise companies, Raymond’s commitment to community will ensure that everyone benefits from the great jobs and opportunities a strong economy creates.”
In September after two years of intensive research, the Metro Denver EDC unveiled “The Elevation Effect.” The brand will help the region retain its current workforce and businesses and communicate why people and companies located elsewhere should choose Metro Denver as the place where they want to move and grow. It will be used by many industries in the Metro Denver region including economic development offices, higher education partners and human resources executives.
“I am honored to accept this position with an organization that I have worked collaboratively with and admired for decades,” Gonzales said. “Whether recruiting international aerospace companies or working to streamline development review processes, I have worked throughout my career to increase opportunities in our communities while creating a business-friendly environment that benefits our job creators and this region that we are proud to call home.”
In 2019, Gonzales was named “County Manager of the Year” by the Colorado City/County Management Association. He also led successful international economic development missions where he helped secure agreements with aerospace companies from Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He established the Adams County People & Culture Services Department, which empowers the county’s 2,500 employees to have a personal impact, influence and inspiration regardless of title of designation.
“While we are sad to see Ray leave Adams County, we certainly understand why the Metro Denver EDC would be interested in having him lead their organization,” said Adams County Board Chair Eva Henry. “Ray is a dynamic leader who has accelerated the level of professionalism in every department of the county. We wish him continued success on his professional journey.”
Before serving as county manager in Adams County, Gonzales was the president and CEO of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation, vice president of business and economic development for SOS Employment Group and deputy cabinet secretary of labor under New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He also served on New Mexico’s Economic Development Commission.
He is vice president of the Mountain Plains region of the International City/County Management Association’s Executive Board, president of the Local Government Hispanic Network Board of Directors, co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Partnership’s Community Leaders Council and vice chair of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.
Gonzales is a third-generation Coloradan from Brighton. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Regis University College of Business and Economics.