Testimonials & Collaborations
First Flatiron Consulting’s Principal, Clif Harald, was Executive Director of the Boulder Economic Council (BEC), the economic vitality arm of the Boulder Chamber, for most of the past decade. Clif collaborated with many business and community leaders on a number of notable economic vitality projects. Select collaborations are featured below.
CU Boulder Outdoor Recreation Economy | International Economic Development Council | Google | Meati Foods | CU Boulder Leeds School of Business Research Division | Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade | Zingfit | Boulder Chamber | Downtown Boulder Partnership | EforAll
CU Boulder Outdoor Recreation Economy
International Economic Development Council
Clif's economic development expertise was highly instructive in our early discussions about the Building Resilient Communities curriculum in CU's Outdoor Recreation Economy program. His insights into economic development core competencies, professional education and training, and career pathways were invaluable. We're thrilled to have Clif on our Outdoor Recreation Economy faculty, and to capitalize on his decades of economic development leadership experience in Boulder, Boulder County and Denver.
Mark Gasta, Teaching Associate Professor and Associate Director, CU Outdoor Recreation Economy Program
The Outdoor Recreation Economy program at CU Boulder provides learners with a variety of opportunities to expand their knowledge and advance their careers in the outdoor recreation industry. Clif consulted with the program's founders as it was being developed, and then contracted with them in 2021 to create and teach a course on best economic development practices for the outdoor recreation economy. Student feedback on the course has been very positive and it's been offered by CU every year since it was created.
Building on his years of economic development leadership experience, Clif has contributed in many ways to IEDC's professional development programming. We first published an article he wrote for our Economic Development Journal about the pioneering work he was doing in retail-based economic development. In just the last year Clif was a Leadership Summit panelist speaking on entrepreneurial ecosystem building - the same topic of his most recent article for us. And he also created and led two webinars for our Technology-Led Economic Development course. The IEDC is grateful for the contributions Clif is making to our work and to the economic development profession as a whole.
Todd Lang, Director, Professional Development, IEDC
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the leading non-profit membership association for economic developers. With more than 4,500 members across the globe, it is the largest organization serving economic development professionals. IEDC training courses, research publications, and membership conferences are go-to resources for professional development of economic developers at all stages of their careers. A member of the IEDC for many years, Clif has presented as a keynote speaker and moderator or panelist at multiple member conferences and the annual leadership summit. He has led webinars and published articles on entrepreneurial ecosystem building, industry clusters, the knowledge workforce and more. And he served as a grader for IEDC's Entrepreneurship Development Professional certification exam.
The Boulder Economic Council was instrumental in the growth of Google’s local operations. As head of the BEC, Clif brings a long-term view of economic vitality, helping small and large businesses thrive in Boulder. Google Boulder benefited greatly from his insights. This was just as true when we had 30 people as it is today.
Scott Green, former Engineering Site Director, Google Boulder
Google’s presence in Boulder is the culmination of a startup success story. In 2006, Google acquired Boulder startup SketchUp. In 2011, Google began considering expansion options for a new 1,500-employee campus in the Boulder/Denver region. After choosing a site in central Boulder and with the city Planning Board's 2014 approval, Google completed the last building of its 300,000 square foot campus in early 2020. At the BEC, Clif collaborated closely with Google site leaders, the City of Boulder, and others to retain the company and support its expansion through site selection, development review, construction, and occupancy.
When Meati Foods relocated our company to Boulder, Clif and his team made us feel immediately at home and were instrumental in introducing us to real estate leads, potential investors and strategic partners in the food space.
Tyler Huggins, Co-Founder and CEO, Meati Foods
Meati makes mushroom-based food products that have the nutrition profile of animal meats, plus all the nutrients and fiber of vegetables. After raising $4.8 million in seed funding in 2019, Meati went on to raise an additional $250 million over the next four years. In 2023, Meati opened its first large-scale manufacturing facility and its mushroom-derived "chicken" and "steak" products were selling out in Sprouts, Whole Foods and other stores across the U.S. Clif and the BEC helped Meati find its first manufacturing location in Boulder and assisted the company with employee recruitment and fundraising efforts.
CU Boulder Leeds School of Business Research Division
CU’s Business Research Division enjoyed a highly productive partnership with Clif and the BEC team for more than a decade. We collaborated with Clif on numerous economic research projects and community events, including the groundbreaking Boulder Innovation Venture reports and Boulder Economic Summit, among others. We're pleased to continue collaborating with Clif in his work as an economic development consultant.
Rich Wobbekind, Senior Economist and Faculty Director, and Brian Lewandowski, Executive Director, Leeds School of Business Research Division
The BEC contracted with the Research Division of CU's Leeds School of Business to produce a variety of research reports on Boulder's economy, key industry clusters and more over the course of many years. The partnership proved highly productive and mutually beneficial, producing work respected for its credibility, usefulness and timeliness. The collaboration was most visible to the community at the annual Boulder Economic Summit and Economic Forecast events, where Rich, Brian and Clif joined forces to present on current events and trends impacting Boulder businesses and the region at large.
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)
As head of the BEC, Clif was a strong partner of OEDIT, advocating for our programs with Boulder companies and state legislators over many years. He collaborated with us to support dozens of Boulder businesses with grants, training programs, technical assistance, and public recognition. Our team has always valued Clif and the BEC as one of our most productive partners.
Michelle Hadwiger, Deputy Director and Director of Global Business Development, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
CO OEDIT’s incentives and business development programs have been particularly impactful to Boulder companies over the past decade. Clif and the BEC worked closely with OEDIT to qualify eligible businesses for state grants and other support. OEDIT and the Economic Development Commission awarded nearly $35 million in job growth incentive and workforce training grants to Boulder companies such as AGC Biologics, Corden Pharma, Emerson, Spectra Logic, and Zingfit. Advanced Industries Accelerator grants were awarded to more than thirty-five Boulder businesses, and the Colorado Companies to Watch program started by OEDIT has recognized over ninety early stage Boulder companies.
Clif was a major factor in our decision to relocate Zingfit from New York to Boulder. He drove the point that Boulder is a place where entrepreneurs support each other’s success, and then set up some great meetings for us with smart, down-to-earth, company founders. Clif also helped us win a substantial incentive from the State of Colorado. That did it for us! We are immensely thankful.
John Bogosian, Founding Partner and CEO, Zingfit
Zingfit is a startup that launched a software platform enabling branded booking experiences for boutique fitness studios in over 30 countries. A company co-founder contacted Clif in 2015 about relocating the business from New York to Boulder. By mid-2016, Zingfit had received a $2.8 million incentive from the State of Colorado and was leasing space in Boulder. Clif assisted Zingfit’s move by making introductions to Boulder entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and to commercial and residential real estate brokers, and by facilitating the company’s applications for state and local incentives. Zingfit founders negotiated an exit in late 2019 when the business was sold to Advent International.
Clif’s leadership in the early days of the Boulder Chamber’s response to COVID-19 was essential. He had planned to transition out of his BEC role before the virus struck, but as its impact on businesses accelerated, he stayed on months longer to help activate our response to the crisis. We certainly applaud Clif’s leadership throughout his BEC tenure, but we’re particularly grateful for his extra efforts to help the Boulder Chamber launch our collaborative response to the pandemic.
John Tayer, President and CEO, Boulder Chamber
The BEC was founded by Clif and former Boulder Chamber CEO Tom Clark in 1997 to champion economic vitality in the City of Boulder, metro Denver, and beyond. Today, the Boulder Chamber and BEC face the urgent necessity to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses, community organizations, and their employees and customers. The Boulder Chamber’s leadership, including Clif and the BEC team, helped launch an immediate mitigation response, and initiated the effort to formulate a longer-term economic recovery plan. The pandemic demands community-wide collaboration, and the BEC and Boulder Chamber are playing critical roles in stakeholder coordination.
Downtown Boulder Partnership
Clif started with the BEC only a couple years after I came to the Downtown Boulder Partnership. Boulder was just coming out of the Great Recession then, and for the next decade we collaborated successfully on the revitalization of Boulder’s economy. Clif and the BEC were key partners in the work accomplished at the Downtown Boulder Partnership.
Sean Maher, former CEO, Downtown Boulder Partnership, and former Executive Director, BEC, now CEO of RRC Associates
The Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP) promotes the economic vitality of downtown Boulder while preserving the area as the historical and cultural heart of Boulder. The DBP and the BEC share overlapping program priorities and collaborate on many initiatives. Clif and the BEC worked with DBP’s leadership to advocate for business interests on city planning and development policies, coordinate on downtown business outreach and retention meetings, and co-host delegations visiting from around the world, among other programs. Most recently, a top priority for both organizations has been sustaining the vitality of Boulder’s retail sector in the face of growing online and regional competition.
EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All)
As EforAll was opening its Longmont office, one of the first meetings we scheduled was with Clif and John Tayer of the BEC and Boulder Chamber. They helped us expand our network in Boulder, including a valuable introduction Clif made for us to Google. Clif then volunteered as an EforAll mentor in one of our first startup cohorts.
Harris Rollinger, former Executive Director, EforAll Longmont
EforAll’s mission is to accelerate economic and social impact in communities through inclusive entrepreneurship. When the organization launched its Longmont offices in 2019, Clif and the BEC immediately became involved as a partner. Clif helped introduce EforAll’s team to Boulder business and community leaders, leading to new sponsors and volunteers in the accelerator program.