Wellington Webb spent 12 years as the leader of Denver's Mile High City, and helped drag it out of the economic doldrums of 1991 to an investment of $7 billion in infrastructure when he left office in 2003. He is the only mayor in U.S. history to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and National Conference of Black Mayors.
"The nineteenth century was the century of empires, the twentieth that of nation-states and the twenty-first century will be that of cities," said Wellington Webb, then president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The tennis shoes he wore as he walked the city during the 1991 campaign are now housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
In October 2003, he founded Webb Group International. The firm works with businesses and cities on economic development projects, public relations and other consulting areas. His clients include Parsons Transportation; the American Beverage Association; Hudson News; and American Petroleum Institute to name only a few.
Wellington Webb serves on the board of directors of the Maximus Corporation, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund), The Denver Health Foundation, trustee for the Colorado Symphony and is the chairman of the board of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. He was appointed by President Obama and Secretary Clinton to the First Responders Network Authority (First Net) and as a United States Representative to the United Nations in 2009. He is a member of the Denver Rotary, a 33rd Degree Mason and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
As mayor, he oversaw the completion of $4 billion Denver International Airport, overseeing 85 percent of the construction and opening airport concession bids to all Colorado-owned businesses, including women and minorities.
His negotiating skills included getting four new airline routes to serve Denver: British Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, and Korean Air. He looked to stimulate Denver's economy by opening foreign trade offices in London, England; Shanghai, China; and Mexico City, Mexico; and leading U.S. Conference of Mayors missions to Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany. He also led trade missions to China and Japan.
His administration began and coordinated the redevelopment of the former Stapleton Airport into a thriving residential and business area. He also helped convince voters to approve a $300 million addition to the Colorado Convention Center, which opened in December 2004, and pushed through difficult negotiations for a nearby privately-publicly funded Hyatt Convention Center hotel opened in 2005.
Among his goals was the redevelopment of the industrial Central Platte Valley near downtown Denver. The area once littered by abandoned rail lines now boasts a privately-funded Pepsi Center (professional basketball, hockey and entertainment venue), relocation of Six Flags Elitch Gardens (amusement park), a community gardens and acres of city parks along the South Platte River.
He also pushed for the successful transformation of Lower Downtown into a vital business and residential area anchored by the professional baseball ball park, Coors Field. In addition, he made sure that Denver's professional athletic teams - the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche - signed agreements to play in the city for at least 25 years.
His social agenda included convincing the city to create Denver Health Medical Authority in 1997, which eliminated a cash deficit of $39 million and has been rated one of the top public hospitals in the U.S. The mayor led the campaign for nearly $290 million in voter approved bonds for improvements to the hospital and property. He also added more than 2,000 acres of new parks and open space to the city - the largest addition of park land by any mayor in Denver's history. Voters also approved $96 million for neighborhood and park improvements; and $125 million for a major expansion of the Denver Art Museum and improvements to the Denver Zoo.
The city also took advantage of good economic times to invest in a new $200 million city office building, which citizens pushed to be named after the mayor; and a $16 million African American research library - the only such facility west of the Mississippi River.
Denver is the only city to be cited for five consecutive years as "One of the Top American Cities" in Fortune Magazine's annual "Best Cities" survey. The city also was named "One of the Top Three Cities for Sound Fiscal Management" by City and State Magazine; "One of the Top American Cities" by Money Magazine; and "Top city for Entrepreneurs" by Entrepreneur Magazine.
As a statesman, Mayor Webb hosted Pope John Paul II and nearly 200,000 people worldwide for World Youth Day in 1993. Four years later, he welcomed President Clinton and eight world leaders at the Denver Summit of the Eight, the annual local economic summit. He also hosted visits of the Emperor and Empires of Japan, Prime minister of China and president of Ghana and Mozambique.
Prior to being elected mayor, he served in the Colorado State Legislature; was appointed a Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter; was appointed Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies under Governor Richard Lamm; and was elected Denver's city Auditor. His first career was as a teacher and then faculty member for the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.
Wellington Webb is married to former six-term State Representative Wilma J. Webb and they have four grown children; Keith (deceased), Stephanie, Anthony and Allen. Webb received his Master of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado and four Honorary Doctorate Degrees from: the University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College, University of Northern Colorado, and the American Baptist Seminary in Berkley, California.
He is a charter member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and has received awards and recognition from several groups including: the National Audubon Society, the Wildlife Federation, the National Historic Trust, Americans for the Arts, National Building Trades Council, the U.S. Conference of Mayors Award for Distinguished Public Service, the National Governors Association Public Official of the Year Award and the Chevalier Legion of Honor given by the nation of France.