On April 16, 2021, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce hosted a Community Impact Forum on county updates from Jefferson and Adams Counties. The forum featured Don Davis, Jefferson County Manager, and Ray Gonzales, Adams County Manager, with county-wide updates on the COVID-19 response and impact, demographic shifts, new challenges and upcoming projects.
Below, find a video recording of the event, bios of our speakers, and important resources from the event.
Don Davis, Jefferson County Manager
After he retired from the military at the rank of Colonel, he moved on to his next adventure as County Manager, serving the citizens of Jefferson County, Colorado. He joined Jeffco in May 2017, where he enjoys serving alongside more than 3,000 dedicated employees. Don is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College; the Amphibious Warfare School; the Executive Leadership Program from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Kenan-Flagler Business School; and the Marine Corps Executive Logistics Education Program at Penn State. He holds two master’s degrees; one in Public Administration from Webster University, graduating with high honors in March 1996 and a second in Strategic Studies from the Marine Corps War College in 2011.
He and his wife, Becky, have been married 29 years, and have been blessed with four children; Kaitlyn (27), Mackenzie (25), Jack (18), and Luke (16).
Ray Gonzales, Adams County Manager
Raymond H. Gonzales has over 22 years of experience encompassing nearly every level of government administration. After starting his career with the U.S. Peace Corps, his roles spanned increasing responsibility from the U.S. Department of Labor to New Mexico’s Deputy Cabinet Secretary under the leadership of Governor Bill Richardson.
Although he found great success fortifying these agencies, his heart was in his hometown. Following his passion, Raymond returned to his hometown of Brighton to continue his family legacy as a third-generation resident of Adams County, Colorado. He currently serves as County Manager for Adams County, the 5th largest county, serving 515,000 residents, and one of the fastest growing counties in the state. Raymond oversees a budget of approximately $600 million that provides direct services for the community through four core service areas:
• Strategic Leadership & Planning
• Community Infrastructure & Development Services
• Community Services & Public Involvement
• People & Culture Services & Administrative Operations
One of Raymond’s proudest achievements is a newly dedicated People & Culture Services department, where he oversees the empowerment of over 2,500 employees and their personal impact, influence, and inspiration regardless of title or designation. He also oversaw the creation and licensing of Colorado Air and Space Port in Adams County, which has attracted national and international companies to become a technological and economic hub in the area. An ever-industrious conductor, Raymond continuously strives for organizational improvement and premier delivery of public art and opportunities to accentuate the culture of an ever-increasing innovative and inclusive community.
In addition to his challenging role leading Adams County, Raymond serves as the Vice President of the Mountain Plains region of the International City/County Manager’s Association Executive Board, as the President of the Local Government Hispanic Network Board of Directors, and as the Vice-Chair of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.
Jeffco moves to blue today, alongside several other metro area counties, inc. Adams CO, which are working together to provide consistency across metro counties. Here’s what it means for Jeffco:
- 100% indoors at restaurants
- 75% at offices and retail
- 100% at gyms/fitness centers
- 50% personal services and limited health care settings
- 50 person capacity per activity for group sports and camps
More info here: https://bit.ly/3dlx4iX
Jefferson County Public Health has published its new order in coordination with the metro area to begin today. Information can be found here. https://www.jeffco.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1541
One thing for the whole front range is responsible development. Everyone wants to move to the front range; its the Silicon Valley of the Rockies. Everyone loves the Denver area. We’ve only got so much land and water. Our commissioners are working on wildfire issues, sustainability issues, airports, and antigrowth initiatives. If it just happens we don’t have the chance to shape it.
Finding balance. County has to balance opening the economy while protecting the health of the community. While we want to open, we have an ethical obligation to serve and protect everyone in the community. We’ve done a great job in colorado managing COVID-19. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of conversations about what’s best for the region. It’s a regional approach. We can’t be on an island by ourselves on these decisions.
- Technology: New website updates include online appointments, a virtual help desk, and other efficiencies. The county partnered with the DMV to bring services online.
- Community Resources: Community needs taskforce and business taskforce meets every week to provide new and improved services and programs.
- Human Resources: Recently instituted a four-day business week. The attrition rate was 14-15% in 2019. Now it’s down 9%, even through the pandemic. This saves the county about $4m in hiring and retraining costs.
Every employee in Adams County is responsible for innovation. The county recently established an innovation fund for employees to submit innovative projects. $50,000/year is allocated to this fund for a dozen projects. Example of one such project: a public works manager came up with a gravel road mix to reduce maintenance costs every year. This solution is so successful, the county has hosted foreign countries interested in this gravel road program. The public works manager’s idea failed six times and succeeded with the seventh proposal.
Our vision is to be a county government that provides innovative, efficient, quality services to a thriving and safe community. We’re working with a consultant to develop our long-term strategy and vision. We want to confirm things we know and things we don’t know. We are conducting listening sessions with the community and businesses, soliciting the needs of the community. We’re looking forward to the future.
We will be the most innovative and inclusive county in America. We will be home to one million residents. It will be a place where residents can go to the Colorado Air and Space Port and purchase a ticket to Tokyo, board a space plane and be there in less than three hours.
Right now, any events out in public will have less restrictions. We are moving forward with the 4th of July festival. Unless the governor announces restrictions, right now we’re moving forward.
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