Featured Regions and Sites

The Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) will take place from August 1 to 6, 2021, in the City and County of Denver, Jefferson County, and El Paso County, Colorado

ACE Colorado Overview


Denver is the capital of Colorado and is the most populous municipality of the State of Colorado. Known as the “Mile High City” due to its elevation being one mile above sea level, Denver has been recognized as a “Beta-World City” by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Denver is the fastest growing city of the 50 largest U.S. cities (2018, Wallethub), ranked second-best place to live in the U.S. (2020, U.S. News & World Report) as well as second-best for best start-up friendly ecosystem (2020, Business Facilities). Denver also is home to the fourth-best place for business and careers (2018, Forbes) and was named in the top 10 of U.S. cities best positioned to recover quickly from the Coronavirus pandemic (2020, Forbes).

Denver is the core of a future-focused metro region marked by partnerships in innovation across industry, academia, and the public sector. Collaboration and inclusion are at the center of Denver’s continued success. New technologies borne out of innovation-driven public-private partnerships create opportunities for all residents to be part of the increasingly skill-driven economy and help support businesses of all sizes.

Among the sites ACE Colorado will visit in Denver are notable settings such as the historic Denver Botanic Gardens as well as Denver International Airport, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the National Western Center and our innovation hub The Commons on Champa.

ACE Colorado will open with a welcoming reception on the gorgeous grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens. ACE delegates will get a chance to enjoy the beautiful sights of the 23-acre park, that comprises a conservatory, a variety of theme gardens and a sunken amphitheater, which hosts various concerts in the summer, while networking with global and community leadership. Through establishing and expanding awareness of plants and nature, the Gardens seeks to educate, entertain and even transform the way people think about and engage with the environment – a vital aspect to Denver’s progressive lead on environmental and sustainable efforts. 

Throughout the two-days in Denver, ACE participants will learn about the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, visit the state’s largest economic engine – Denver International Airport, experience how academia and innovation intersect to foster medical transformation and breakthroughs at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and tour the National Western Center – an urban hub for food and agricultural innovation, that addresses global challenges.

The City & County of Denver looks forward to welcoming the delegation and showcasing some of its most distinguished facets the city has to offer.

Denver International Airport (DEN) is the 19th-busiest airport in the world and the fifth-busiest in the U.S. With close to 65 million passengers traveling through the airport in 2018, DEN is one of the busiest airline hubs in the world’s largest aviation market. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $26 billion for the region annually. Delegates will meet with leaders from the executive team, learn about how the airport participates in local economic development efforts and understand the opportunity to leverage the vast amount of land to build out commercial districts. This visit will showcase investment opportunities, professional development by sharing best practices, and demonstrate how an airport can contribute to the vitality of an economy. DEN is looking to expand connections and business opportunities with the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region, and a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative education, science, medicine, and healthcare. Located on a former army campus, delegates will get a comprehensive tour of the facility, meet and converse with leading experts from different medical disciplines, and learn about existing partnerships with countries in the Western Hemisphere as well as uncover opportunities for future collaborations in research, technology transfer and other areas of the health science sector.

The National Western Center is a reimagined master-planned campus that will be a vibrant, dynamic and accessible educational and entertainment environment that celebrates Colorado’s western heritage and solves global issues through research and collaboration. It is a shared vision between founding partners from the City and County of Denver, Colorado State University, the Western Stock Show Association, the Museum of Nature and Science, and History Colorado. These organizations, combined with input from local community members, made this vision a reality. Delegates will hear from the lead organizations about how collaboration brought this project to life and will learn about opportunities for their respective communities to tap into this resource on food, water, and sustainability issues.

El Paso County

Formed in 1859 and designated as one of Colorado’s original 17 counties in 1861, El Paso County is now the most populous county in the state of Colorado and home to eight cities and towns; five major military installations including the United States Air Force Academy, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, and Fort Carson Army Base; the Garden of the Gods Park; and America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak. The natural physical beauty of the area, encompassing uninterrupted views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range, inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the iconic poem “America the Beautiful” after her visit here.

El Paso County features multiple outdoor recreation opportunities, promotion of physical well-being and active lifestyles, and a strong military presence. El Paso County is a prime example of how to build a community around nature, tourism, job creation, and innovation. With 300 days of sunshine each year, more than 55 natural and man-made attractions, and 156 state, county, and city parks, it is no wonder that more than 5.2 million tourists visit this region each year. Add in a lower than the national average unemployment rate and higher than the national average job market increase, and you find a region where residents can find the best of both worlds between substantial employment opportunities and recreation; creating a healthy and thriving work-life balance. Despite the devastating economic disruption caused the COVID-19 pandemic, El Paso County’s unique economic eco-system of strong government and military presence, resilient private and nonprofit business community, and commitment to community development has positioned the region for a quick and sustainable recovery.

Serving as the county seat, Colorado Springs is the second-most populous municipality in the state of Colorado. Highlighted as the #1 most desirable place to live, #1 fastest growing city for millennials and #4 business-friendly city in the United States by sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Brooking’s Institution and Thumbtack, Colorado Springs is experiencing rapid growth in the information technology, cybersecurity, aerospace and defense, sports and outdoor recreation, healthcare, and finance and business services industries.

While in El Paso County, participants will hear from and interact with cross-sector leaders who are working on innovation and entrepreneurship collaborations within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The program of events will highlight the synergetic relationship between industry and military bases, lessons learned and innovative practices implemented after the destruction of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, COVID-19 response and recovery, and the public-private partnership that led to the creation of the National Cybersecurity Center. From the burgeoning sports medicine economy, economic impacts of the Olympic City USA branding efforts, and the merging of hospitality with outdoor recreation to create a one-of-a-kind experience economy, El Paso County offers multiple opportunities for international partnership through import/export capabilities, research collaborations, and the ability to provide economic incentives and networking resources for companies seeking to locate within this region. Key stops, panels, and presentations during ACE Colorado include the United States Air Force Academy, National Cybersecurity Center, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, Qualtek/Milestones for Growth, Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, and the Broadmoor Resort.

Known as “Olympic City USA,” Colorado Springs is at the heart of the United States’ Olympic movement and the epicenter of an extensive sports industry. In 1978, the United States Olympic Committee, now the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, moved its headquarters from New York City to Colorado Springs. Along with the Committee, the largest of three official United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers and 24 national governing bodies of sport reside within the City of Colorado Springs.

Continuing in the Olympic spirit, in 2018, Colorado Springs debuted the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, and opened to the public in the spring of 2020. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum will be opened during ACE for VIP access.

The Air Force Academy is both a military organization and a university. Much of the Academy is set up like most other Air Force bases, particularly the 10th Air Base Wing, but the superintendent, commandant, dean of faculty and cadet wing are set up in a manner resembling a civilian university.

The Superintendent is the Academy’s commanding officer and is responsible for the Academy’s regimen of military training, academics, athletic and character development programs.

The Commandant oversees the 4,400-member cadet wing and more than 300 Air Force and civilian support personnel and is responsible for cadet military training and Airmanship education, supervising cadet life activities and providing support to facilities and logistics.

The Dean of Faculty commands a 700-person mission element and oversees annual course design and instruction of more than 500 courses crossing 32 academic disciplines and directs the operation of five support staff agencies and faculty resources involving more than $250 million.

The 10th Air Base Wing comprises more than 3,000 military, civilian and contract personnel who conduct all base-level support activities, including law enforcement and force protection, civil engineering, communications, logistics, military and civilian personnel, financial management, services and the clinic, for a military community of about 25,000 people.

By the 1870’s, the railroads had forged their way west. In 1871, General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs while extending the lines of his Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. In 1879, General Palmer repeatedly urged his friend, Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of the Burlington Railroad, to establish a home in the Garden of the Gods and to build his railroad from Chicago to Colorado Springs. Although the Burlington never reached Colorado Springs directly, Perkins did purchase two-hundred and forty acres in the Garden of the Gods for a summer home in 1879. He later added to the property but never built on it, preferring to leave his wonderland in its natural state for the enjoyment of the public. Perkins died in 1907 before he made arrangements for the land to become a public park, although it had been open to the public for years. In 1909, Perkins’ children, knowing their father’s feeling for the Garden of the Gods, conveyed his four-hundred eighty acres to the City of Colorado Springs. It would be known forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.

The Broadmoor has remained one of the most recognizable and celebrated hotels in the world. The Broadmoor began welcoming guests in Colorado Springs in 1918. Their distinctive blend of history, luxury and genuine hospitality has made them the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards. They continue that legacy with an unmatched selection of accommodations, activities, and experiences that invite guests to immerse themselves in the beauty and traditions of the American West. Discover the most unique resort in the world.

Jefferson County

Jefferson County offers a diversified geographical setting, from urban to rural lifestyles to thriving mountain communities. Serving as an epicenter for aerospace, aviation, beverage production, bioscience, energy, and outdoor recreation Jefferson County is the gateway to the famous Colorado Rockies. The county is a premier business location and provides access to the labor market that boasts the third-highest concentration of high-tech workers in the United States. The county’s prominent role as a high-tech leader is greatly enhanced by the presence of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Colorado School of Mines. 

During ACE Colorado participants will experience premiere education operations, advanced practices, and cutting edge technology at sites that include NREL, Colorado School of Mines, Lockheed Martin, Pilatus Aircraft, and Terumo BCT.

The nation’s premier federal laboratory dedicated to research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies and integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL leaders will share solutions to today’s energy challenges and opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.

Colorado School of Mines is a public university focused on science and engineering, dedicated to educating and inspiring students, advancing knowledge, and innovating to address the great challenges society faces today—particularly those related to earth, energy and the environment. Founded in 1874 with specialties in mining and metallurgy, Mines’ scope and mission have expanded to meet the needs of industry and society, producing distinctive graduates and revolutionary innovations, and becoming a world leader in advancing sustainable use of the Earth’s resources. Participants will explore opportunities for collaboration, joint research, and sharing of best practices as you engage with thought leaders who are conducting education and research in engineering and science to solve the world’s challenges related to the earth, energy, and the environment.

An American global aerospace, security, and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. Join the innovators from the team to learn about technologies that are being deployed worldwide, as well as probing the topic of innovation around workforce development. Explore opportunities for partnership and best practices in the realm of talent development as Lockheed experts share information on their more than 70 work-based learning programs, which include apprenticeships designed to skill workers for long-standing careers in aerospace and defense.

Founded in 1939, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd is the only Swiss company to develop, produce and sell aircraft to customers around the world. With over 2,000 employees at its headquarters, Pilatus is one of the largest employers in Central Switzerland. Pilatus provides training for about 130 apprentices in 13 different professions – job training for young people has always been a very high priority at Pilatus. ACE participants will enjoy breakfast and a tour of their wonderful facility in Jeffco. Colorado believes in the global economy and works to provide its businesses with the resources they need to connect and be successful in markets around the globe. Engage in conversations at Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. around opportunities for point-to-point partnerships within foreign trade zones, establish relationships that will encourage greater trade through resources provided by the Denver World Trade Center, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and The U.S. Export Assistance Center.

A global leader in blood component, therapeutic apheresis and cell therapy technologies, is the only company with the unique combination of apheresis collections, manual and automated whole blood processing and pathogen reduction technologies. They believe in the potential of blood and cells to do even more for patients than they do today. This belief inspires their innovation and strengthens their collaboration with customers. Colorado is home to a vibrant and growing cluster of research institutions, renowned scientists, and more than 1,700 bioscience-related companies that are developing breakthroughs in life-saving drugs and devices.