By Andy Stonehouse
As Colorado’s Front Range continues to boom, organizations such as the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce have been instrumental in helping businesses become successful in a hyper-competitive market. Chamber president and CEO Scott Cook, 46, plays an important role in advocating on behalf of the community and the organization’s 700-plus local members, as well as providing one-on-one assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Q: Tell us about your journey to the Chamber president role.
Scott Cook: My family moved to Longmont when I was in junior high – my parents were a pilot and flight attendant for United Airlines. After I graduated from college, I did some work on Capitol Hill in D.C. which gave me some policy experience, which I enjoyed a lot. I also worked for an innovative tire recycling business in Chicago. I also had an interest in fitness – I’m a certified personal trainer – and when I came back to Colorado in 2006, I saw an opportunity to work at the Chamber office as the part-time receptionist. I was hooked. In 2017, I was named CEO and president, having worked as event program director in between, as well as starting our public policy committee.
Q: What do you like most about your current job?
SC: I still really enjoy talking with someone when they simply come in and want to start a business, but they need help. When you work with small business, you really get to help them achieve their dreams – allowing them to provide food for their families, and make plans for college. I like to see when they can start giving back to the community, as well.
Q: What does the Longmont Area Chamber do to help the community, and the region?
SC: The secret is out, nationally, that Longmont is a great place to live, given our natural beauty and our weather. Thanks to the forethought of leaders here, we laid down the foundation to be a vibrant economic community. We have a great education system, between the St. Vrain School District and Front Range Community College. But along with all that growth, we have to deal with the challenges that also come along. So we work closely with neighboring communities like Boulder and Broomfield – we formed the Northwest Chamber Alliance – to help us work on regional challenges such as transportation.
Q: What are the major issues facing Longmont’s business community in 2023?
SC: We’ve just reached the end of the state legislative sessions, and we’ve been paying attention to the problems of affordable housing – that’s very important to employers to be able to bring in and retain workers. Wages, education and even environmental issues like the production of greenhouse gases are all big concerns. I look at anything that our Chamber members bring to us as concerns, and try to work on solutions.
Q: What are your goals for 2023?
SC: We’ll be working on a major renovation of our local offices. They were last renovated about 40 years ago by local Chamber members, but we need to do an update for the next generation. We’re also still completing and compiling the results from our business climate survey, looking at the data and trying to figure out what our economic partners can do to assist business and make Longmont better. And we have a range of new educational programming and networking events.
Q: You’re a very busy individual. What do you do in your spare time?
SC: I still like weightlifting – I’m a bit of a gym rat. I also love traveling, thanks to my parents, and I still love to see how many places I can visit. Otherwise, I’m involved in my church and I also have seven nieces and nephews, so there’s always dance recitals and sports events to attend.