Chamber, EDC merger looks promising, if not imminent




In today's paper, we report on merger negotiations between officials from the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. We hadn't been able to get answers to a few important questions by press time, but late Wednesday afternoon, Doug Quimby, board president of the EDC, returned our call.

He said no decision to move ahead with a merger has been made yet, but talks are continuing and could take months. Meanwhile, things that remain up in the air:

• The name of the new agency, although Quimby said there's a sense that the Chamber has name recognition that would be hard to duplicate.

• Who would serve as the new chief executive. Dave Csintyan is the CEO of the Chamber, while Mike Kazmierski was recently forced to resign from the EDC. A search is being conducted to replace him. Quimby said "there's consensus" that a national search would be needed to fill the new executive role of a combined agency. Whether someone is hired to replace Kazmierski will depend on the timetable decided upon for merging the two groups, or whether they will be merged at all.


• Quimby predicted that should a merger happen, the annual budget for the organization will be greater than the Chamber and EDC budgets combined, because, "If it fulfills its promise and proves to be a more effective organization, it will attract more support."

• He emphasized that during the talks, the EDC continues to push ahead with working prospects.

Refusing to characterize the nature of any resistance to a merger, Quimby said, "It's important to understand that although the discussion seems to be protracted and time-consuming, it's important that we get it right at the end of the day, and sometimes that takes time."

It's clear where Quimby stands on a possible merger: "One organization with one economic development strategy and one business retention strategy and a single fundraising model and elimination of duplication of efforts would make a more effective organization."

But, he adds, "It's not the end of the world if we stay separate."

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