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ARCHIVED  December 3, 1999

Movers and shakers offer thoughts on Millennium

Communication, technology, creativity. Across sectors of business, government, and education, these are the themes that emerge as business people, educators, and community and government leaders attempt to sum up the changes and challenges they see coming in the next millennium.

“The challenge for the new millennium is discover how schools can nurture creativity in students. If we want to be the leaders in technology in the next century, we are going to have to begin stressing creativity in our schools. I feel this vague sense of disappointment in the educational system that stresses doing a lot of homework, but does little that I can see to help students become problem-solvers. When the task calls for a plan to rise to the next level, we don’t want to look down and see that the notepad is empty.

I don’t know how we cultivate the open mind that says ‘why not?’ But it may be that people who are creative learn differently from the students who do well in school by reading the books and acquiring information. Some people need a more hands-on approach to learning. Some of the most creative people I have known were not engineers, but draftsmen. We need to bring back shop classes and drafting classes so that students have an opportunity to apply the theories they are learning.” — Harry J. Tiffany III, CEO of ICON Industries Inc., Windsor

“As we cross into the new millennium, the news concerning Y2K compliance is all good. I am in charge of our bank’s Y2K management, and I see no problems. In fact, the coming years look like exciting times for the banking industry. There will be all kinds of new services to make banking easier for the customer, with the biggest change coming in the area of online banking. Already a customer can pay bills, transfer balances from one account to another and balance the checkbook at 3 a.m.ãall online. The challenge for banks is to educate customers about the convenience and to reassure them that their transactions will be secure.

With all of the technological advances, however, I don’t see the personal service of tellers disappearing. I may be wrong, but I think that customers like the human contact, not to mention pet treats and candy at the drive-up window. We recently learned that the first question a drive-up teller asks is, ‘Do you have a dog in your car?'” — Roger Gunlikson, executive vice president and CFO, First National Bank, Fort Collins

“Education will change more in the coming decades than at any other time since the invention of the printing press; therefore, it is vital for higher education to assume a position of leadership in effecting that change. Centuries of innovation and accumulated knowledge rest within the walls of our institutions. Our challenge is to find ways to combine the intellectual traditions of universities with exciting new ways to deliver knowledge. In the next decade at UNC, our goal will be to upgrade our standards rather than to grow, to remain a size where students and faculty can know each other. All of these challenges are great, but so are the rewards.” — Hank Brown, president, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley

“I think that people in the coming years will begin to seek refuge from a digitized world in nature and in relationships with other human beings. In the next millennium, we will be trying to figure out if the technology we possess is really making our lives better. For instance, e-mail was supposed to make business paper-free; instead it has increased paper consumption by about 40 percent. And rather than serving the ends of collaboration, the abrupt nature of e-mail has lowered the level of civility in the workplace.

The creative challenge for governments will be how to handle the lean years that will inevitably follow these years of expansion. Some economists believe that expansion is being driven by demographics. The baby boomers are making money and spending it. Around the year 2007, economic expansion will begin to reverse itself. In Japan’s weakened economy we are seeing a sneak preview of what could happen here if we don’t start using some of our sales-tax revenues to prepare for our rainy day.” — Larry Kendall, chairman, The Group Inc. Real Estate, Fort Collins

“Change is in progress for Fort Collins. The discussions we are having about the location for the performing-arts center and on the development of the Poudre River should be concluding by 2001. Old Town will be getting such a facelift that we are going to have to take all new pictures for our promotional material. Beyond the challenges involved in bringing about a consensus for how the river should be used, we will also have to deal with matters of transportation and congestion. We need to assure safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as for cars. These issues are inevitably tied to balancing economic growth, environmental integrity and quality of life for all citizens. I think the key to addressing these challenges is to keep moving at a steady pace and not get caught up in the gridlock that over-analysis can create.”– Ray Martinez, mayor of Fort Collins

“The next five to 10 years will be an interesting and challenging time for us. For that reason, Greeley and Weld County will need the kind of leadership that will step up and help us develop a vision for who we are and who we want to be. Weld County, with its deep agricultural roots, is at true crossroads. Agriculture here is a $1.5 billion dollar industry with the historically low wages that go with that sector. But Greeley’s explosive growth in the development of single-family homes is eating up prime agricultural land and changing the face of the entire county. Farmers are willing to sell because for the first time they are able to make a huge profit off their land. In addition to the challenges that development poses for agriculture, we expect e-commerce to challenge the way everybody does business. We need to anticipate how e-commerce will affect retail in our area and what those effects will mean to sales-tax revenue.” — Lyle Butler, president, Greeley/Weld County Chamber of Commerce

“The 2000 challenge for anyone in the publishing business will be the Web. Internet publishing provides a good chance for authors to bypass traditional routes. But for all the novelty, Internet publishing will not produce better authors. In addition, the Internet does not have filters in place to sort through all the junk to get to the handful of work that is really good. Some people think that the advent of the E-book signals the end of print. I disagree. I think that the experience of picking up a book and turning pages will override the impulse to do yet one more thing in front of a screen. What would you take to the beach? A $7 paperback or your $400 E-book? Still, our company is looking to publish more fiction and creative nonfiction because we think that Internet publishing makes the most sense with how-to books and reference material.” — Craig Nelsen, publisher for Rodgers & Nelsen Publishing Co., Loveland

“The greatest challenge for anyone in the arts is convincing people that the cultural aspects of a community are at its very core. A society trying to live without the arts is like a person trying to live without a soul. If we can educate the community about the importance of including cultural elements in its growth, then the financing and other aspects of support will follow. For the symphony in Fort Collins, our challenge is to introduce classical music to 3, 4 and 5-year-olds. We can teach them that music is fun and important. We can help them appreciate and get excited about it. Once young people learn more, they can discover a more personal connection with the music. We have begun to meet some of our challenges with our concerts for fourth and sixth graders. And in February, the Symphony Guild will sponsor a concert for kids, 3-years-old and up.” — Fusao Kajima, conductor, Fort Collins Symphony

“I see changes and challenges in the millennium for Loveland as no different as for our forefathers or theirs. The only difference is that everything is changing around us at the speed of light. Our challenges will revolve around e-commerce, the Internet, infrastructure needs, transportation issues, education, housing, growth and the lack of a skilled work force. Technology changes so rapidly that it puts the small business at a disadvantage. How do we keep up with the costs and education involved in technology. The challenge? To find some semblance of normalcy in all the change around us.” — Carol Garton, executive director, Loveland Chamber of Commerce

“Anyone who doubts the necessity of continuing education, especially in the technical fields, should conjure with this estimate: High-tech knowledge will double every seven years, and staying current will require 30 hours of training (the equivalent of a master’s degree) every seven years. What we are seeing in Colorado is increasing pressure on the Legislature from business and industry to help maintain a trained, capable work force. Our challenge is to use the technology available to us to deliver education where it is needed. For instance, CSU works with Lockheed-Martin to retrain aeronautical engineers as computer programmers, and with the Colorado National Guard to deliver master’s level courses in human-resource development onsite. In Colorado, as elsewhere, some people will benefit by completing a degree and getting the academic credentials. Those who are in the information-technology fields need to be trained, or retrained, rapidly. An entire degree is less relevant to them.” — John Ebersole, director of educational outreach at Colorado State University

Communication, technology, creativity. Across sectors of business, government, and education, these are the themes that emerge as business people, educators, and community and government leaders attempt to sum up the changes and challenges they see coming in the next millennium.

“The challenge for the new millennium is discover how schools can nurture creativity in students. If we want to be the leaders in technology in the next century, we are going to have to begin stressing creativity in our schools. I feel this vague sense of disappointment in the educational system that stresses doing a lot of homework, but does…

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