David May, CEO of the Fort Collins Chamber is retiring at the end of this month. Fort Collins and our region has benefited during the last half of his 40-year career in the chamber world. It started in Independence, Missouri, then Sarasota, Florida and included a stint at the National Chamber of Commerce before landing in Fort Collins 17 years ago.
Working with David in my volunteer roles has been tremendous for my own personal leadership growth. He is unique in his vision and his ability to execute ideas with extreme detail. Our region is better because of David’s leadership. Ask any chamber in Colorado and David has probably touched them in some way and it’s always for the better.
David championed business and the free market consistently. David championed things like good streets in Fort Collins with the renewal of the street maintenance tax, renewal of the jail tax, and championed businesses like Woodward relocating their World Headquarters to Fort Collins. He wasn’t afraid to dive into controversial issues such as candidate endorsements, broadband and the stadium decision. His lens was always what was best for business would be good for the community. It turns out we all need a great job and good business equates to a good community.
David’s legacy on our region and state will surely be I-25. In 2013 several of us from NCLA went to an obscure CDOT presentation on the North I-25 plan. The bottom line was the state’s plan was to widen it by 2075. That’s right – 62 years in the future. As business leaders, we were stunned at this and knew there had to be a better way.
We formed an ad hoc committee named Fix North I-25 and started chipping away. David led us and saw right away that we needed money. He raised some through Moving Fort Collins Forward, but more was going to be necessary. He founded Northern Colorado Prospers and raised over $3.8 million over five years to work on major initiatives impacting our quality of life.
Others followed and our local elected leaders got in the game reallocating funds for I-25 so we could move up the state’s priority list. Through this process David saw we not only needed to Fix North I-25, but to be effective we needed to have a statewide impact. David started Fix Colorado Roads, a spin-off of our regional work and engaged business and political leaders across the state. Today real work is happening on North I-25.
Beyond this David is a good human being. He’s honest, hard-working, and always considers others before himself. I saw David make personal sacrifices for the betterment of others. I wish David the best in his retirement and am glad he’s chosen Fort Collins to live out his golden years.