Industry Cluster Profiles
A major step in constructing a region’s economic development strategy focuses on which industries to target for growth and retention. Before this can be done, it is important to understand what types of businesses and residents are already located in the area and the community assets available to support them.
The Northwest Douglas County Chamber & EDC recently performed a research project that studied the region’s data, including the current employment base. The study identified five industry clusters that offer the greatest opportunity for growth, while supporting the region’s economic development goals.
The five industry clusters are:
This cluster includes a broad range of companies, products, and systems for commercial, military, and civil space applications. Specifically, the cluster includes businesses that provide search, detection, and navigation instrument manufacturing; guided missile and space vehicle manufacturing; satellite telecommunications, and research and development. The region is home to 4,270 employees in four aerospace companies, including Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company’s Waterton Canyon campus, which has been a hub of space innovation since the 1950s. The campus provides a wide-range of industry-leading design, manufacturing, and test facilities. Construction is underway at the Waterton Campus on the new $350 million Gateway Center facility that will produce next-generation satellites.
Business Support Services
This cluster includes a diverse mix of businesses that provide services related to the general operation of all businesses, such as legal and accounting services, human resources and employment services, building support services, advertising and design services, management and business consulting, architectural and engineering services, investigation and security services, janitorial, and repair services. Business support services are particularly important for Northwest Douglas County’s small and entrepreneur-based businesses as these small businesses rarely have the time and resources to perform vital business operations such as accounting, legal, and human resources tasks. With 9,840 workers and nearly 3,190 businesses, business support services is the largest in terms of employment, representing nearly 22 percent of total employment in Northwest Douglas County.
The cluster includes businesses involved in banking and finance, investments, insurance, and real estate. The 5,160 workers in the area’s financial services companies provide a foundation for all other companies, including providing capital, funding, and operational support to emerging and growing businesses. Similar to business support services, financial services companies are important for growing the region’s entrepreneurial base and start-up businesses. Of the 910 financial services companies in Northwest Douglas County, more than 7 percent of companies were sole proprietors and nearly 85 percent employed 2 to 9 workers. Still, the region is home to major employment centers for companies such as VISA Debit Processing Services, Specialized Loan Servicing, and Nelnet.
Healthcare includes a large and diverse group of companies that provide preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services offered by healthcare providers, medical and specialty hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, other healthcare organizations, and centers focused on outpatient mental health and substance abuse, diagnostic imaging, and emergency care. Additionally, companies that provide nursing care, assisted living, and long-term care services for individuals, families, and the elderly are also included. Northwest Douglas County’s healthcare industry is resilient and has added workers every year since 2012 and is expected to continue to increase in the region due to a growing and aging population. The industry cluster currently includes about 440 healthcare companies with 3,440 workers.
Recreation and Entertainment
This industry cluster includes a variety of businesses ranging from attractions and fitness to outdoor apparel manufacturing and wholesalers. Companies that provide customers with accommodations and food services are also included. Northwest Douglas County is adjacent to two state parks, generous open space, trails, parks, golf courses, and award-winning recreation and community centers. The region also has a variety of art, culture, shopping, dining, entertainment, and recreation activities. Recreation and entertainment attracts visitors, businesses, and future residents to the area, which support the industry’s 6,400 employees in 710 businesses.
Additionally, Araphaoe/Douglas Works! also provides Industry Clusters for our region and could be found here: