Brian Watson (entrepreneur)

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Brian Watson
Brian Watson (entrepreneur).JPG
Brian Watson campaigning in 2018
Born (1971-10-28) October 28, 1971 (age 47)
ResidenceGreenwood Village, Colorado
OccupationEntrepreneur (real-estate)[1]
Known forRepublican candidate, Colorado State Treasurer (2018).[2]
WebsiteCampaign website
Official website

Brian Watson (born October 28, 1971) is an American entrepreneur and politician. He has worked as a commercial real estate developer and is the founder and CEO of Northstar Commercial Partners.[3] Watson won the 2018 Republican primary for Colorado State Treasurer, beating two other candidates, and will face Democratic nominee Dave Young in the general election in November.[4]


Watson graduated from Olathe High School on the Western Slope of Colorado.[5] He received a Bachelor of Science degree in real estate at the University of Colorado Boulder and then joined Cushman & Wakefield of Colorado, Inc (C&W), an international commercial real estate firm.[6] Watson is the founder of Opportunity Coalition, a nonprofit social welfare organization pursuant to IRC 501(c)(4).[7] The organization promotes and facilitates a business friendly culture for free market, entrepreneurship, and collaboration.[8] For his contributions to community development, he has been interviewed by several local radio and television stations.[9] The Opportunity Coalition also created the Mountains of Opportunity TV show series hosted by Watson. The show highlights the real-life stories of Colorado’s entrepreneurs, innovators and job creators.[10][11][12]

Political career[edit]

Watson ran for Colorado House of Representatives District 3 in the 2012 elections. He first ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 26, 2012 but was defeated by incumbent Daniel Kagan, a Democrat, in the general election on November 6, 2012.[13][14][15]

Watson was also recently named a board member of the "Leadership Program of the Rockies,"[16] an organization that "identifies and brings together emerging leaders from the legal, economic, business, political, nonprofit and civic professions to learn how visionary, principle-centered leadership can positively impact their community."[17][18]

On October 20, 2017, Watson announced his candidacy for Colorado State Treasurer.[19] The Denver Post's Brian Eason noted Watson's announcement "shook up the field" in the GOP Treasurer primary, and that Watson "brings fundraising clout to the race, reporting $21,550 in major donations in the six days since he officially filed for office."[20]

Watson told the Greenwood Villager his campaign for Treasurer would focus on his career in business and his skills, he argued, that are well suited for the office. "'When you have somebody who understands internal rates of return and complex financial matters and how to go in and restructure debt and can save millions and millions of dollars for the people of Colorado—this is what I do every single day," [Watson] said."[21] In the same interview Watson also described the Colorado public pension system [Colorado Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA)][22] as a "ticking time bomb." Watson said his ideas to address financial shortfalls in PERA[23] include "raising the retirement age for the state government’s younger employees and perhaps allowing workers more control over their retirement investments."[21]

Watson reported raising $215,000 in his first fundraising quarter this year and announced he plans to petition his way onto the June primary ballot.[24] Watson's January fundraising total dwarfed the next closest Republican candidate and was more than the next 9 candidates' fundraising totals combined.[25]

On March 5, 2018 Watson became the first Colorado State Treasurer candidate to turn in his petition signatures to qualify for the June primary ballot.[26] Watson announced a submission of over 17,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's office.

Business career[edit]

Watson was a manager and director at Cushman & Wakefield.[27] In 2000, he founded Northstar Commercial Partners, a commercial real estate investment company in Denver, Colorado.[28][29][30]

Northstar's business strategy focuses on “buying vacant or distressed assets and giving them new life” and oversees key development projects, such as senior living, healthcare, and large data center facilities for a Fortune 25 company.[31]

Watson said he is proud of Northstar's work buying distressed real estate, arguing doing so provides benefits to communities where Northstar has a presence. "We can take something with low utility, and turn it into a highly productive environment that has a social impact. High tides raise all boats – if we can do well by doing good and give returns back to our investors and prove an asset and help achieve dreams in the community – then that’s a life well lived," Watson said.[32] Watson also stated Northstar's work building a hospital for the healthcare company Clinica will help "serve individuals who don’t have healthcare access."[33]

Mr. Watson also directs Northstar to fund community-focused initiatives. In 2017, they began raising money to help build a retail and commercial development in Aurora that could benefit veterans in close proximity to the forthcoming Aurora VA facility.[34] The project itself will ultimately cost $120 million, and seek to not only house veterans, but also encourage retail and economic growth around the development. Jason Marcotte, Northstar’s development team lead on the Aurora project, said the planned development site stands out today because it is one of the few underdeveloped stretches in that part of Aurora. “Taking this mostly vacant and distressed spot in an otherwise thriving area of town and helping place it back into productivity will create new opportunity and much needed space to live and create,” Marcotte said.[35]

In October 2014, Watson founded the "Education Opportunity Fund", a $100 million charter school facility fund[36][37][38]

In spring 2017, Watson published The 7 Rings, a book about "life balance".[39]

In February 2018 Watson announced Northstar Commercial Partners purchased the iconic "Offices at the Art" building in Denver for $17.1 million. "This will be one of the top acquisitions in the Denver market for newer office space and we're thrilled to be involved, especially with Denver as our hometown," [Watson] said in a statement.[31]


  1. ^ "Northstar Commercial Partners - Founder". Northstar Commercial Partners. Northstar Commercial Partners. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ Eason, Brian (25 October 2017). "GOP businessman Brian Watson joins race for Colorado state treasurer". The Denver Post. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. ^ Bunch, Joey (6 February 2018). "Colorado treasurer candidate Brian Watson buys building near the Capitol for $17.1 million". Colorado Politics. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  4. ^ Luning, Ernest; Harden, Mark (2018-06-27). "PRIMARY 2018: Watson, Young advance in treasurer's race". Colorado Politics. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  5. ^ "Sweetheart Couple of the Year: Brian and Patricia Watson". The Villager. 11 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Brian Watson, co-Founder". Xcel - Founding Leadership. 26 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Opportunity Coalition - About us". The Opportunity Coalition.
  8. ^ Peter Jones (28 February 2013). "Taking Care of Colorado Business - Local entrepreneur starts statewide networking organization". The Villager. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  9. ^ "Media". Northstar Commercial Partners.
  10. ^ "The Opportunity Coalition Podcast". Apple iTunes.
  11. ^ "Doug Price, CEO of Rocky Mountain PBS interviewed by Brian..." Stitcher Radio.
  12. ^ "Crisis solver Jamie Van Leeuwen featured at Opportunity Coalition". The Villager.
  13. ^ "Office & District Report - State Representative - District 3". Office of the Secretary of the State of Colorado. 12 July 2012.
  14. ^ "State House 2012 Election Results - Denver Post".
  15. ^ Peter Jones (3 October 2012). "District 3 House race gets fiery". The Villager.
  16. ^ "Leadership Program of the Rockies". Leadership Program of the Rockies. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Heidi Ganahl, Brian Watson join Leadership Program of the Rockies board". The Colorado Statesman.
  18. ^ "Board of Directors". Leadership Program of the Rockies.
  19. ^ Eason, Brian (October 25, 2017). "GOP businessman Brian Watson joins race for Colorado state treasurer". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  20. ^ Eason, Brian (October 15, 2017). "GOP businessman Brian Watson joins race for Colorado state treasurer". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Jones, Peter (1 November 2017). "Local businessman rides into treasurer's race". The Greenwood Villager. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Public employee pension plans in the United States". Wikipedia. Wikipedia. Retrieved 5 March 2018.[circular reference]
  23. ^ Eason, Brian (24 November 2017). "Colorado's PERA calls $32 billion fix a "shared sacrifice," but current and future workers would shoulder $17.7 billion". The Denver Post. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  24. ^ Luning, Ernest (4 January 2018). "GOP state treasurer candidate Brian Watson hauls in more than $200,000 for quarter, plans to petition on ballot". Colorado Politics. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ Frank, John (17 January 2018). "In Colorado treasurer's race, Steve Lebsock's fundraising dries up in wake of sexual harassment scandal". The Denver Post. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  26. ^ Luning, Ernest (6 March 2018). "Republican Brian Watson first to turn in nominating petitions for state treasurer's race". Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Moshe Silagi Sells 24-Property Portfolio For $224 Million". The Wall Street Journal.
  28. ^ "Investors Take Shine to Charters". The Wall Street Journal. 14 October 2015.
  29. ^ "From Third Tier Investment City to Top Tier". Globe St. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  30. ^ "Academy 360, Denver's Health and Wellness Charter School, finds new home in Northstar Commercial Partners Building". Globe St.
  31. ^ a b Teodora, Demian (16 February 2018). "Northstar Snags Iconic Denver Office Gem for $17M". Commercial Cafe. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  32. ^ "Executive Spotlight: Interview with Northstar CEO, Brian Watson". Northstar Commercial Partners. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Executive Spotlight: Interview with Northstar CEO, Brian Watson". Northstar Commercial Partners. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  34. ^ Reyes, Bobby (31 January 2018). "Center of Aurora's cityverse gets on track". The Aurora Sentinel. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  35. ^ Reyes, Bobby (31 January 2018). "Center of Aurora's cityverse gets on track". Aurora Sentinel. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Team". Education Opportunity Fund.
  37. ^ "Northstar Commercial launches $100 million education fund". Denver Business Journal. 21 October 2014.
  38. ^ "Charter-School Movement Grows—for Real-Estate Investors". The Wall Street Journal.
  39. ^ Watson, Brian (January 2017). The 7 Rings. Printopya. p. 208. ISBN 978-1942306870.

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