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Learn About The Alliance

The Alliance is Your Business Advocate


We were founded to facilitate the difficult conversations. We bring the right people to the table, connecting the public and private sectors for economic success. 


The Alliance will enable La Plata County to be one of the most vital, vibrant communities in the country to live, work, learn, and play.


To create a vibrant and resilient economy from the recruitment, retainment, and growth of business, by fostering public and private partnerships, and preserving our quality of life.

Our Services

If you are expanding or relocating to Durango or La Plata County, the Alliance can help you:


  • Succeed with powerful pro-growth initiatives
  • Find appropriate space through realtors, the City of Durango, La Plata County, Bayfield and Ignacio


  • Navigate permitting by arranging timely meetings with planning departments and community leaders, and advocate on your behalf
  • Tap collaborative partnerships to advocate for workforce skills, space for business expansion, enhanced internet service, flight service, transportation and more


  • Connect with other business leaders during monthly networking events
  • Meet local CEOs for networking, collaboration and to learn about key issues


  • Gain insight through presentations by Procurement and Technology Assistance Center, Colorado Space Business Roundtable and international delegations
  • Access customized data, such as economic impact studies, workforce statistics, economic trends and consumer profiles

About the Alliance: History and Purpose

  • Sep 2009

    LEAD formed

    The La Plata Economic Action Development (LEAD) board was formed to promote an organized approach to economic development across the county, which previously did not exist. While LEAD was successful in bringing key partners together to create a vision for the community, as a volunteer run board, there was a strong need for a full time economic development organization to reach bigger development goals. 

  • 2010

    LEAD gives way to Economic Development Alliance

    The board of LEAD came up with the idea of outsourcing economic development instead of having it as a government position, but in conjunction with financial support from the City, County, Ignacio and Bayfield. 

    With this in mind, LEAD dissolved and The Economic Development Alliance (the Alliance), was formed.  The Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps grow quality jobs and diversify the economy of La Plata County, Colorado. A private, non-profit, 501(c)6 organization, the Alliance focuses on business opportunities for companies in our membership that export goods and services, bringing new funds to our area.  This created an organization that could develop economic initiatives between the public and private sector and create larger, more effective economic development initiatives. 

  • March 2011

    Roger Zalneraitis hired on as Director of Alliance

    As a downturn in the oil and gas industry in the region was foreseen, the need for economic diversification became the focus of the Alliance. Roger Zalneraitis was hired on as the director, and focused on three main initiatives: airport development, a business park study, and broadband to every roof top.

    During Roger’s time at the Alliance he built the organizations structure from the ground up, and grew the Alliance’s business membership through the Partners and Progress initiative, a program that allowed members to apply money directly to one of the three initiatives mentioned above. During his tenure the airport saw significant air traffic increase, the business park study was completed, and broaband services across the county was improved. After serving the Alliance for 8 years, Roger moved on to a position with the Southern Ute Tribe. 

  • Jan 2020

    Mike French hired on as Director of Alliance

    After an extensive national search, Mike French joined on as the new director of the Alliance at the beginning of 2020. Mike’s experience in starting a private small business and growing it to a public organization has brought extensive business experience to the Alliance, and will focus the organization on business recruitment and retention efforts, expanding startup initiatives and foster additional strategies that reflect the community’s strengths for long-term economic prosperity.