Longtime Colorado Springs economists handing off crystal balls, retiring

By: Wayne Heilman

December 19, 2017 Updated: December 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm

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The partners of Summit Economics are, left to right, Mike Anderson, Tucker Hart Adams, Dave Bamberger, Tom Binnings and Paul Rochette. Mark Reis, The Gazette

Longtime Colorado Springs economists Tucker Hart Adams and Dave Bamberger are handing off their crystal balls to their partners at Summit Economics.

The pair are retiring at the end of the year after careers each spanning more than four decades.

Adams, 80, and Bamberger, 75, will hand over control of Summit to Tom Binnings, 62, and Paul Rochette, 67, the remaining partners in the Colorado Springs-based economic research and consulting firm.

Rochette will handle much of the company’s work in Colorado Springs, including economic forecasts, studies and other presentations. Binnings is developing a new market for the company’s applied economics expertise in northern Arizona while he splits time between homes in the Springs and Flagstaff, Ariz.

“Tucker has a following throughout the state and her retirement will leave big shoes to fill. Dave has been instrumental in working with the business and economic development communities to provide the analytics behind economic development efforts in the Colorado Springs area for decades. He also leaves big shoes to fill,” Binnings said. “Both have been mentors for me. This firm has existed and thrived because we are friends and are open and honest with each other.”

Adams was among the first economists in the nation to predict the 2008 recession – a year in advance – earning her the title ‘Duchess of Doom’ from a Denver news reporter.

As a mother of four teenage daughters, Adams got her start in economics attending Tim Tregarthen’s class at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, later earning a master’s degree there and a doctoral degree from the school’s main campus in Boulder. She was hired by a college classmate of Bamberger’s to work in the economics department at United Banks of Colorado, which later became part of Wells Fargo & Co.

Adams left the bank when it dissolved the department in 1988, starting her own consulting company that did economics work for banks, the tourism industry and local governments. She briefly retired in 2007 before joining Summit in 2010.

“I went from a research assistant to the head of the department (at United Banks) in five years. I was always surprised that I loved the field and people liked me,” Adams said.

Bamberger started his economics career at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments in 1971, spending 10 years there before starting Research and Consulting Group with another partner and later moving to his own economic consulting firm, David Bamberger & Associates. He reserved the Summit name with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in the late 1990s, but didn’t start the company until 2008 with Binnings and Rochette as part of his plan to retire. Mike Anderson, a retired assistant city manager for the city of Colorado Springs, was a Summit partner from 2010-15.

“The thing that strikes me the most is that the business, government and utilities communities have all been a great source of opportunity. Colorado Springs has provided me the opportunity to work with some bright, talented people,” Bamberger said.

Bamberger has long been recognized as the top expert on the Colorado Springs housing market and economic development, completing twice-yearly reports on the local housing industry and numerous reports forecasting the economic impact of companies relocating or expanding to the Springs area, including the U.S. Olympic Committee’s downtown headquarters.

“The value of our work is in our relationship with our clients. Each partner has their own client relationships, which we are passing onto Tom and Paul. Summit was formed as a vehicle for each partner to work on their own and tap into other partners if needed,” Bamberger said.

“Summit is an association of people with similar talents, interests and values. We all see the value in applied economics,” Adams said. “We had people asking us what our succession plan was and we didn’t have one. We had to figure that out to make sure there is continuity for our boutique consulting firm in applied economics.”

Summit has since added as associates Jason Doedderlein, who specializes in sustainability and environmental economics; Shannon Anderson, who previously owned an environmental testing firm; and Dave Somers, the former executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado Springs, who specializes in social benefit businesses.

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