by Chris Romer, President & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership

A partner is defined as one of two or more people, businesses, etc., that work together or that do business together. Which, on its own, is a fairly bland and somewhat utilitarian definition. It certainly lacks any inspiration.

A true partnership, on the other hand, is a commitment to one another that includes accountability. The idea of a partnership being a relationship that includes mutually beneficial commitment and accountability is quite different from the utilitarian definition of a partner.

A synonym for partnership is interdependence; and while our municipalities and communities within the Vail Valley are geographically distinct, they could not be more interdependent. The interdependence of our communities and towns within the valley is essential to our continued growth and success moving forward, and the lack of recognition of this increased interdependence is a very real risk.

We’re all in it together; our very economic survival depends on unity. Interdependence – recognizing it, and embracing it – is the key to success.

Imagine our traditional destination visitor; our valued guests who fly into the Eagle County Regional Airport and take a shuttle to their lodging property in Vail or Beaver Creek. Our guests are the lifeblood of our resort economy and benefit each of our communities during their stay.

There is a very good chance that the airport employee who welcomed them to the Vail Valley lives in Eagle or Gypsum (about half of the airport employees live in Eagle or Gypsum). It is likely that their shuttle driver or hotel front desk clerk lives in Edwards (our largest population center). It is common for visitors to do their grocery shopping in Avon (home to our only big-box retailers and one of our national chain grocery stores). And of course our visitors tend to stay, play, dine and shop in our resort communities of Vail and Beaver Creek.

Our interdependence goes even further than this surface overview. Few people in our valley are fortunate enough to live and work within the same town; so we travel throughout the valley to get to/from work. Our workforce lives throughout the valley in both municipal and unincorporated areas, and maybe they utilize Eco-Transit to get to/from work. We go to work, provide high levels of guest service and bring our paychecks home to spend within our home communities. Guest spending has positive sales tax impacts on some of our communities, and workforce (local) spending has a relatively higher impact on other communities. Don’t forget that our special districts (recreation districts, metro districts, fire protection districts, libraries and more) are funded by property tax dollars….which in large part are driven by the very nature of our resort economy.

It is clear that our communities within the Vail Valley are interdependent. It is equally clear that we need to continue to honor each other’s strengths and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. We are stronger and more successful when we work together.

Vail Valley Partnership, as we approach 2015, will continue to pursue a collaborative path to attaining success and to provide tools to build the sense of interdependence amongst our communities and our members. Vail Valley Partnership continues to strive toward the lofty ideal that the word “Partnership” indicates. We will continue to engage and encourage activities, programming and services that promote our community and provide opportunities for our members to succeed.

We will continue to focus on increasing engagement in the community via regional and state efforts to benefit Eagle County stakeholders; we also focus on increasing engagement opportunities for our members on a local level to grow their business. We do these things because we inherently believe in the benefits that a partnership brings to our community, along with the understanding that interdependency is the key to our continued – and sustained – success.

Interested in learning more about our efforts? Don’t miss the Vail Valley Partnership Annual Meeting hosted at Manor Vail Lodge on December 17 at 3pm to learn more about the Partnership’s efforts in the community. This event is free and open to the public.

Chris Romer is President & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. Vail Valley Partnership is the regional community development organization, dedicated to the economic vitality of the Vail Valley. We support local businesses. We unite key stakeholders. We lead collaborative efforts throughout the community. He believes we’re stronger when we embrace the interdependency of our communities.