The National Western Center Authority Board of Directors today announced that after an intensive local and national search, Brad Buchanan was named the finalist for the chief executive officer (CEO) position for the National Western Center Authority (the Authority).
The Authority is a Colorado nonprofit corporation that will program, operate and maintain the future 250-acre campus, transforming it into a year-round destination for agricultural education, innovation and entertainment. The Authority is guided by a 13-person board made up of 11 voting directors and two non-voting directors. The CEO will report to the Authority.
“As Denver’s planning director, Brad has devoted thousands of hours to building community in big and small ways. I have no doubt that if selected, he will bring the same passion, inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit to the National Western Center Authority and operate the campus in an innovative and fiscally prudent manner,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said.
The Authority voted Thursday to move Buchanan forward as the sole finalist for the CEO position and will begin a two-week open comment period that will include community outreach and engagement. A final board vote will follow the open comment period.
“We’re thrilled to move Brad forward as a final candidate for the Authority’s first CEO,” Authority Board Chairman Joe Garcia said. “I know he will work tirelessly to attract the appropriate programming, tenants and visitors to the campus, locally, regionally and internationally. With his many years of civic and public service, Brad will be a great liaison to our neighborhoods while working diligently to connect our urban and rural interests.”
Buchanan was appointed executive director of Community Planning and Development by Mayor Hancock in 2014 and has been responsible for visionary city planning to ensure safe, responsible, sustainable building throughout Denver during a period of unprecedented growth. Under Buchanan‘s leadership, city planners released Denveright, five community-driven plans to guide the city’s growth, development, parks and mobility options over the next 20 years. Also under his direction, the city’s plan review, permitting and inspections functions managed historic levels of demand during the post-recession construction boom, drastically cutting wait times and eliminating backlogs. In his role as planning director, Buchanan provided valuable leadership in the urban design aspects of the National Western Center Campus.
“I’m honored to be considered for the CEO position but even more excited about the potential of creating a one-of-a-kind campus that will integrate our urban and rural communities,” Buchanan said. “Building on the legacy of the National Western Stock Show, the National Western Center Master Plan and with new partners like CSU, Denver Water and others, we will write a new future for regenerative agriculture, food production and the next chapter of our western tradition.”
A Denver architect for nearly 30 years before his appointment as planning director, Buchanan was involved with many design and construction projects throughout the city, including new commercial and residential projects as well as adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Brad also co-founded the Buchanan-Yonushewski Group in 1999 and later joined RNL (now Stantec) as principal. Buchanan has held leadership positions on civic boards such as the Denver Planning Board, the Downtown Denver Partnership Board of Directors and Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission.
Since 2006, Buchanan and his wife Margaret have owned and operated the Flying B Bar Ranch in Strasburg, Colorado, where they raise certified grass-fed cattle. He has spoken at events like Slow Food Nation and TEDx about responsible urban development and its link to conservation of rural ranchlands.
If Buchanan is ultimately named CEO of the Authority, a succession plan will be put into place for leadership within Denver’s Department of Community Planning and Development.
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