Former Aspen Councilman Romero leaving state post |

Former Aspen Councilman Romero leaving state post

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN – Former Aspen City Councilman Dwayne Romero is stepping down from his post as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economic development director, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.In a prepared statement, Hickenlooper announced changes to his economic development and legal teams. Romero will be replaced by Ken Lund, the governor’s chief legal counsel, beginning Aug. 1.Romero, 46, will return to his former full-time job in Snowmass Village as president of the real estate company Related Colorado, a division of Related Cos., an international real estate development and investment firm based in New York, the news release said. Romero was commuting weekly from Aspen to his job in Denver, leaving late on Sundays or early on Mondays and returning on Thursdays. He also was continually traveling around the state to jump-start the governor’s Bottom-Up economic-development program, which assists rural communities. He said he has logged 13,000 miles on his vehicle since Feb. 1.The main reason for his decision: family concerns. Juggling the demands of his job with the needs of his wife and three young daughters proved to be too challenging, he said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.He said he has no regrets about resigning his council seat in February and accepting the job in Hickenlooper’s cabinet.”I need to find balance,” Romero said. “This is not a frustration, an emotional, knee-jerk [decision]. This is knowing what I need to do and not wasting any time getting there.”He said taking the job in Denver was “never about wanting to leave the Roaring Fork Valley. It was an exercise in how I could help the state. It was always planned to be a temporary duty. A couple of years was the original thought.”Romero added that he was not frustrated in his job, even though the pace of state government often is much slower than dealings in the private sector.”I want to thank Governor Hickenlooper for giving me the opportunity to lead the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT),” Romero said in the governor’s news release. “The governor is setting the right course for economic recovery in Colorado and the hard-working staff at OEDIT is creating positive change that will benefit the entire state.” Romero said he has concentrated on three “missions” since the beginning of the year: carrying out Hickenlooper’s Bottom-Up initiative through meetings around the state; continuing to work part-time for Related Colorado; and balancing both jobs with family matters.”I now find that my focus needs to be on family and my work at Related Colorado as the company grows in Snowmass Village,” he said.Jack Finlaw, who is now chief of staff to Denver Mayor “Bill” Vidal, will replace Lund as chief legal counsel. Lund will hold dual roles when Romero leaves at the end of July, since Finlaw won’t start his job until later in August.”The Office of Economic Development and International Trade is stronger and more customer-focused because of Dwayne’s leadership,” Hickenlooper said. “He brought tremendous expertise and vision to the planning process and helped create a road map for Colorado’s economic future. We will miss his boundless energy and passion for helping businesses of all sizes succeed.”The governor is quoted as saying that Lund has a strong passion for expanding business. “As managing partner for one of Colorado’s largest transactional law firms, Ken was intimately involved with growing businesses at all stages of their evolution. He’s almost obsessed with how to grow Colorado companies. Ken will build on the grassroots plan we are creating and continue efforts to attract new jobs to Colorado.”According to the news release, Romero will continue to work closely with Lund as the Bottom-Up initiative evolves. Specifically, he will voluntarily assist the economic development office in coordinating future work on the program, which aims to assist rural Colorado communities. He will also serve as a member of the Economic Development Commission, a panel created by the state General Assembly to promote economic development in Colorado.Lund was hired in December to be Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel. He was previously managing partner of the Holme Roberts & Owen law firm in

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