WINDSOR, CO-Gov. Bill Owens, with historic railroad cars on the tracks behind him and giant earth movers preparing land to the east, dedicated the $119-million bottling plant being built by Toledo, OH-based Owens-Illinois. “This plant will bring 150 high-paying jobs and the J.W. Marriott will bring more than 2000 jobs,” Owens notes, referring to a hotel opening in Cherry Creek, 60 miles north.

He says the two events are signs that Colorado’s economy is rebounding, after two tough, back-to-back years. “Remember, just two years ago we were discussing how to control growth,” Owens says. He pointed to recent job growth statistics, which showed for two months that Colorado gained jobs as either No. 1 or No. 2 in the US. And he notes its unemployment rate of 5.3% is below the nation’s average. Indeed, that is lower than the average unemployment rate from the 1960s to the 1970s, he says.

Paul Bergman, senior international trade specialist with the US Department of Commerce, says the road to recovery is being built in small increments, such as the 150 high-paying jobs being created by Owens-Illinois in Windsor. He read a letter from Donald L. Evans, the Commerce Secretary, in which Evans notes that since August, 1.4 million jobs have been created and “economic growth over the last four quarters has been the fastest in 20 years.”

Evans couldn’t attend the ceremony because of a scheduling conflict, Bergman says. Evans expects to visit the factory at a later date, though, Bergman adds. “Today, I’m the acting Commerce Secretary,” Bergman tells

Steven R. McCracken, president and chief executive office of Owens-Illinois, says when he is interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, they are dumfounded the company is building a 545,000-sf, state-of-the art bottling plant in the US. At full capacity, the plant will manufacture a billion bottles a year for Anheuser-Busch in nearby Fort Collins.

But the Windsor deal makes “economic sense” McCracken says. It’s the first new bottling plant to be built in the US in more than 20 years.

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