Paul Washington to Step Down from Denver Office of Economic Development

Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced that Paul Washington, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED), will be stepping down to become market director of the Rocky Mountain Region for JLL, a Fortune 500 real estate professional services and investment management firm.  
Serving as the Mayor’s head of economic development since August 2011, Washington spearheaded the 2012-2016 JumpStart strategies that directly influenced the creation and retention of more than 30,000 
jobs, while leveraging more than $818 million in private capital investment.
“Without a doubt, Paul is the most effective economic development chief this city has seen and because of his clear vision and tenacity, Denver today offers our people a stable economy and a
broad-range of jobs and opportunity,” Mayor Hancock said. “We have taken a very purposeful and intentional approach to economic development that has not only spurred strong job creation and broadened the tax base, but has strengthened our communities and nurtured the uniqueness of our neighborhoods.
“Since day one, Denver’s top priority has been 21st-century economy and Paul has been a true partner as we strived to meet our call to action. He has helped set Denver on a successful path and I cannot think of a better, more well-deserved next step for him than to work for the JLL team,” the Mayor continued.
During his time at the City and County of Denver, Washington has worked on many levels to improve the focus and drive of the Office of Economic Development, while providing a clear vision of where the city plans to direct its effort through the Jumpstart annual strategies. Washington led a multi-disciplinary team of 105 staff at OED dedicated to creating a local environment that stimulates balanced growth through job creation, business assistance, housing options, neighborhood redevelopment and the development of a skilled workforce.
“History will be very kind to Mayor Hancock, one of the great mayors in this country. I am honored to have played a role in his administration, helping to shape a stronger community for our businesses,
 residents and neighborhoods,” said Washington. “This is complex work that has been incredibly exciting, and I will always cherish these years of service. I thank the Mayor for the honor to serve, and I leave the office in very capable hands that will advance this important work forward. I am also very excited to continue to contribute to the region’s business community through my new role at JLL.”
As market director, Washington will oversee day-to-day operations for the Rocky Mountain region, including managing a team of more than 265 professionals and pursuing integrated business development opportunities across JLL’s business lines. JLL has an annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6 billion. The company has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000.
Highlights of Washington’s leadership included:

  • Successfully recruiting several large, international firms to relocate and/or expand their operations in Denver, including Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, Transamerica, SunRun, Optiv, Vantiv, Kinross Gold USA, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, NamJet, Sympoz, Signpost, Ibotta, WorldRemit and KPMG.
  • Leading a comprehensive study of Denver’s retail sector, and subsequently implementing a strategic retail plan to strengthen retail districts and curb sales activity leakage. Major successes have included the opening of a Costco Business Center to help revitalize the Alameda Square shopping center, as well as ushering the recent passage of an incentive package to support a projected new Target store along the 16th Street Mall.
  • Implementing a series of initiatives to shape Denver as a leading city for entrepreneurship and innovation. Along with private partners, he led the establishment of the Commons on Champa, a public-private campus for entrepreneurship, as well as financing several other local innovation centers including Industry. Through small business plan competitions, new financing resources and publications, training programs for startups, and other efforts, Washington worked to elevate Denver’s position for attracting out-of-state venture capital funding opportunities for local firms.
  • Advancing Denver’s commitment to affordable housing through the creation of the city’s first-ever dedicated fund for housing, which is estimated to provide $150 million over the next decade. He also led the creation of Denver’s Revolving Affordable Housing Loan Fund, and the development of Housing Denver, the city’s first housing plan approved in more than a decade. In total, 2,686 affordable units were funded under his tenure.
  • Instituted a series of catalytic neighborhood investments throughout the city, and particularly in the Westwood and Five Points neighborhoods.
  • Established the OED’s new Economic Mobility Division, which focuses on responsible development, equity ownership and access to neighborhood programs and services for residents and businesses.
  • Launched a new workforce development delivery system to better serve the city’s more than 10,000 unemployed. Developed a series of summer job training and employment programs for Denver’s youth, including initiatives focused on entrepreneurship and technology.

Editor’s note: A recruitment search is underway to name his successor, and during the interim period OED Chief Operating Officer Amy Edinger will serve as acting executive director.