On June 10, my husband and I had the distinct honor of being a part of the inaugural United Airlines flight from Denver to Japan. This incredible accomplishment was the result of the hard work of a number of dedicated Colorado community leaders throughout the years. The Denver delegation was part of a ceremony and celebration, led by representatives from the Japanese community, with Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor John Hickenlooper, Kim Day and representatives from United Airlines. Other dignitaries in attendance were Mayor of Commerce City Sean Ford, Mayor of Lakewood Bob Murphy, Denver City Council President Mary Beth Susman, Denver City Councilman Christopher Herndon, Colorado Tourism Office Director Al White and VISIT DENVER President & CEO Richard Scharf. Upon arrival in Japan, there was a special greeting by Japanese representatives who kicked off a high powered week of business and cultural meetings designed to further deepen the ties between Colorado and Japan.
Under the leadership of Mayor Hancock, the delegation’s week in Tokyo was a whirlwind of economic development activities designed to promote the new flight going forward.
In Tokyo, delegates witnessed Mayor Hancock and Kim Day signing the Sister Airport Agreement with officials from Narita International Airport. We attended the Colorado-Japan Energy Forum, which was followed by the Rcast-Crsp signing ceremony.
The delegation attended meetings and programs with Japanese political and business leaders focused on economic development between Colorado and Japan. The delegation was invited to the American Ambassador’s residence at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. A highlight was the Montbello Drum Line, who entertained the group and later went on to entertain and meet with youth from Denver’s Sister City of Takayama.
A final component of economic development effort is Study Colorado, which was established to promote Colorado as a preferred destination for international students. Representatives from Colorado colleges who were part of the delegation hosted a gathering of Colorado higher education graduates residing in Japan.
Personally, we have a lot invested in Japan since our son, Barry Hirschfeld, Jr., who runs a real estate business in Japan, has been actively involved in promoting international economic development in Colorado for two decades. As part of that effort, he was involved for over ten years as part of the group helping to secure non-stop service from Denver to Tokyo, the gateway to Asia.
Kim Day, Denver International Airport Manager of Aviation, and Tom Clark, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation CEO, chaired the overall ascent to Asia effort, which was created by DIA to secure a non-stop flight from Denver to Tokyo. Barry headed the Tokyo side of the effort.
The trip was an incredible success and we look forward to the tremendous economic and cultural benefits that the new flight will bring to our state.
Arlene Hirschfeld is a life-long community leader, philanthropist and tireless activist for women, children, education and the arts. She has volunteered for the Rose Community Foundation, the Denver Art Museum, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and the Allied Jewish Federation.