burchfield-mug_360The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC announced Rich Burchfield is joining the organization as its new chief defense development officer. Burchfield fills the gap left when Andy Merritt departed the chamber in April to become state director for Sen. Cory Gardner.

The position is responsible for leading military and community outreach efforts and supporting and developing defense sector activities and economies.

“In the context of the Chamber & EDC, the defense sector comprises military bases and missions, private sector companies and organizations, and the organizations that support them,” according to a Chamber & EDC news release. “Burchfield will share responsibility for recruiting and maintaining relationships with members and investors, with his primary focus on military installations and defense companies in the Pikes Peak Region.”

Dirk Draper, Chamber & EDC president and CEO, said Burchfield’s “ability to cultivate strategic relationships will be a valuable asset for the Chamber & EDC and our community at large.”

Burchfield is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who served for nearly 30 years, splitting time between active duty and the Air Force Reserves. He moved to Colorado Springs in March 1995 through an assignment to the Air Force Academy and went on to serve at Peterson Air Force Base (HQ Air Force Space Command), Schriever Air Force Base (310th Space Wing) and back to Peterson (21st Space Wing). While serving in the reserves, Burchfield worked full time for 17 years in the defense industry sector (Millennium Engineering and Integration, and Booz Allen Hamilton) supporting USSTRATCOM, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Missile Defense Agency and HQ NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

“It’s an honor to serve our local community, military installations and defense industry sector,” said Burchfield in the release. “We are very fortunate to have such a tight-knit relationship between those elements in our city and tremendous support from our senior leadership across the board. I look forward to working closely with the Chamber & EDC team to continue to strengthen those bonds and ensure our community continues to thrive together.”

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Burchfield also serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado and, during his career, he received multiple Office of the Secretary of Defense team and leadership awards.