2014-04-21

Colorado Springs - What Happened to the Intel Plant

When I moved to Colorado Springs, things were booming. The city was a significant technology hub.
Compaq, HP, MCI, and a number of technology manufacturers including Intel. MCI was the largest employer in the region by a giant margin. It was one of the factors that lead me out to Colorado Springs.

Even after MCI took the major financial hit and shrank to the point where it was not even in the top 10 of employees in town, Intel was still doing well. So well in fact, that they were in the process of securing land near the airport to build a second very large manufacturing facility.

Yet, those plans fizzled, and a couple of years later, Intel decided to close the doors to their large plant, right along a major avenue named for, and giving access from the highway to the famous park: Garden of the Gods.

This large space stood off the road, majestically idle, waiting for some use. Eventually, there were some takers for the space: Everest College added a call center; the County combined some offices from around town into the one location using part of the building.

The story of this rebirth made it to CNN today, along with some other factories around the country:
http://money.cnn.com/gallery/smallbusiness/2014/04/21/factories-plant-manufacturing/4.html

The city seems to be seeing the biggest growth is call centers. I am glad to hear we are seeing job growth. I would like to see these businesses understand that they can do more than call centers here. That we still have a lot of people in town who can and should be doing something with higher skills, and this will improve our economy even more.

The city of Colorado Springs was an early innovator in technology, more than 100 years ago, we had some of the earliest electric power plants, and Nikola Tesla experimented and proved examples of wireless electricity.

Innovation and technology still live in our city. Atmel still lives here. HP still has offices here. Verizon Wireless took over some of the offices and employees from MCI. However, compared to what was in the past, these are just small anchors of what this town could be again.

Space conferences were held here. There are plans for our own science museum. Our city is at a crossroad, where it could drive and thrive, or coast and become a service-only suburb of Denver.

What can you be doing to help Colorado Springs grow and thrive?