Brad Buchanan, CEO of the National Western Center Authority, is a dynamic leader in the Rocky Mountain region, with roots in entrepreneurship, city planning, design, development, agriculture and community building. Appointed in 2018, he is responsible for implementing the vision of the National Western Center. When complete, the 250-acre campus in north Denver will be a year-round, global destination for culture, entertainment, education and agribusiness innovation.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Brad began his career as an architect in Denver, and started his own architecture firm in 1987. Over 25 years he expanded it to include design-build services and real estate development — focusing on mixed-use, urban infill projects, including some affordable housing developments. In 2011 he joined RNL Design (now Stantec) as principal.
In 2014 during Denver’s historic post-recession building boom, Mayor Michael B. Hancock appointed Brad executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. Under Brad’s leadership, city planners engaged more than 20,000 residents in drafting Denveright — an ambitious 20-year plan for land use, mobility, parks and recreation. Also during his tenure, Brad and his team streamlined and modernized city permitting — eliminating backlogs and improving the customer experience for projects of all sizes.
Brad has been deeply involved in the community his entire career. As an architect he served as chair of the Denver Planning Board, the Landmark Preservation Commission and the Downtown Denver Partnership’s board. He participated in creating the original Blueprint Denver land use and transportation plan, as well as the city’s innovative, form-based zoning code. In 1999 he founded Freedom by Design, a community service program to provide pro bono design and construction services to the low-income disabled community; today there are 60 chapters nationwide.
Brad has agricultural roots. He and his wife, Margaret, and their grown children Grace and Will own and operate Flying B Bar Ranch in Strasburg, Colorado where they raise Wagyu-Angus grass-fed cattle. Flying B Bar employs regenerative agriculture, a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds and enhances the ecosystem. Brad is a member of the board of directors of the American Grassfed Association.