Adams County Manager Raymond Gonzales will step into a new role on Dec. 1: executive vice president of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
Gonzales succeeds J.J. Ament, who was named CEO and chamber president in September, succeeding Kelly Brough, who spent 12 years in that role. He is the first Latino to hold that role, corporation officials confirmed.
"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," according to a chamber news release Wednesday.
Said Ament, "Raymond is an outstanding leader who brings the perfect portfolio of experience and accomplishments to these critical roles in our organization. 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.”
Gonzales has been with Adams County for nearly nine years, including as county manager since April 2017. In 2019, he was named "County Manager of the Year" by the Colorado City/County Management Association. The Chamber release said he also led successful international economic development missions where he helped secure agreements with aerospace companies from Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom
"I am honored to accept this position with an organization that I have worked collaboratively with and admired for decades," Gonzales said in the release. "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."
Prior to joining Adams County, Gonzales was 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.
"Diversity, equity and inclusion is the prime focus, not just for government, but the business sector as well," Gonzales said in an interview Wednesday. "It's important we weave diversity, equity and inclusion into our economic development strategy, which also helps attract talent."
Gonzales was also the first Latino to hold the role of county manager for Adams County.
"I was only one of 100 Latino county managers in the nation, and there are more than 10,000 nationwide," he said.
In his previous economic development work, he said metro Denver's reputation for regional cooperation is known throughout the country.
"I've come full circle with my economic development experience," Gonzales said. "Metro Denver is trendsetters in terms of our regionism and code of ethics we follow. ... For our long-term economic development health, we tell partners it's imporant to sell the region first, then allow local communities to complete locally. We sell the brand first.
"I look forward to partnering with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation staff. It's exciting coming into the larger metro Denver family to create an economy that works for all Coloradans."
Denver Gazette business reporter Dennis Huspeni contributed to this story.