By Terry Blair-Burton
Special to The SUN
Ed Morlan, executive director of the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado, was recently recognized for his 25th year as executive director. Morlan has brought the organization from a $30,000 deficit to an annual operating budget of almost $2 million.
Laura Lewis Marchino, assistant director, said Morlan is a strategic, “out-of the box,” big picture thinker and collaborator. “Ed’s favorite phrase is ‘Management is getting things done through other people.’ He is always ready to try something new and has been instrumental in the organization’s successful track record. It goes without saying that he is well respected by his staff and peers throughout the state.”
During Morlan’s tenure, Region 9 developed a Growth Company Initiative to assist emerging growth companies; assisted the Town of Silverton when devastated by huge layoffs due to the closure of local mines; helped launch economic development offices in each county; spearheaded improvements to the region’s telecommunication infrastructure; and helped the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad survive the wildfires of 2002. In addition, under his tenure, he has dispersed over $19 million in loans.
Region 9 also helps numerous regional organizations financially and/or with staff support, including the newly formed Southwest Colorado Council of Governments, Four Corners Film Office, Southwest Colorado Travel Region and Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE). He founded an on-going Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) paid internship program for high school juniors and seniors.
Morlan currently serves as a Bayfield Town Board trustee, is a Leadership La Plata Alumni, High School Leadership La Plata founder, a 2007 recipient of the Economic Development Achievement Award by the Economic Development Council of Colorado and a 2002 recipient of the Barbara Conrad Leadership Award. He has also received a Purple Heart and Silver Star during his three tours in Vietnam.
Morlan was recognized at Region 9’s annual board of directors meeting on Sept. 25.
Region 9 encompasses a five-county area that includes Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties, as well as the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes. For more information, contact Region 9 at 247-9621.