October 27, 2011

Antler’s Hotel

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Reported by: Connie S. Dyke, RPR, CRR


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Moderator: BOB BEVERIDGE, Wells Fargo Bank

Panelists: ETIENNE HARDRE, Principal, Next Exit


LISANNE McNEW, Director, Placement and

Internships, College of Business,

University of Colorado — Colorado


JAN MARTIN, President Pro Tem,

Colorado Springs City Council

MELISSA SCRUGGS, Division Director,

Robert Half International

(Whereupon, the following proceedings

commenced at 8:04 a.m.)

MS. GOBOS: Good morning. I’m Kathleen Gobos, Publisher of

the Colorado Springs Business Journal, the Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group and the

Public Notice Newspaper, The Transcript.

Welcome and thank you all for being here

this morning. We really do appreciate it. I would

like to thank our esteemed panel. This is going to be a

great, lively discussion. But, most of all, I

would like to thank our partner, Jim Harris at Wells Fargo for

sponsoring and working with us on this project. Jim could not be here this morning due to a

Wells Fargo conference conflict but he was very instrumental in today’s program. Bob Beveridge will be standing

in for Jim this morning.

Thank you Jim, thank you Wells Fargo.

Today’s event is an outgrowth of a

well-received feature that we do in the Colorado

Springs Business Journal. We’ve done it for about two

years with the Business Journal and Wells Fargo.

We conducted a conversation on a topic of interest

in the business community, transcribed it and printed it in the paper. What

we’re trying to do this year is take those

conversations and make them interactive, bring it

to the community and have a conversation going on

with all of us.

So please don’t hesitate to speak up, join

in, ask questions. We want this to be lively and

interactive. You’re all here because you’re

interested in the topic. We have a great panel this morning

that will have some great thoughts and, and hopefully,

we’ll be able to have some action items, some take-aways

that we can walk away with and work on.

Our moderator today is Bob Beveridge. Bob

is the vice president and business development

officer for Wells Fargo and a young professional,

and he will introduce our great panel. Welcome Bob,

thank you.

MR. BEVERIDGE: Good morning. We’re

fortunate to have four experts to answer your

questions this morning and lead the discussion on

what roadblocks keep young professionals from being

engaged in our community. We’re not here to bash

the city but simply have a discussion and talk

about a threat that comes up across our region on a

regular basis.

A few months ago, our first strong mayor

election, this topic was prevalent. We would like

to identify some of the things that are seen as

roadblocks in grooming our next generation of

leaders for this great city. We hope to end the

session with a list of actionable items. I think

this is very important, a list of actionable items

that we, as a business community, can work on

together. So please be interactive. There are

cards on your tables to write down any questions

you may have for the panel. We encourage those

questions because that’s what this is all about.

I will introduce our panel. Melissa

Scruggs is a division director for Robert Half

Finance & Accounting, a Division of Robert Half

International, the world’s first and largest

specialized financial recruitment service. In this

role, Melissa oversees operations for the division

in the Colorado Springs market where she’s a highly

respected career workplace expert and actively

involved member of the local business community.

Melissa began her career with Robert Half

International in 2006 and has been in her current

role since 2007. She has over ten years of

accounting and finance experience with

organizations across California and Colorado and

lends her expertise to assist more than 5,000 local

professionals and employers that her office meets

with each year.

A native of Colorado Springs, Melissa is a

graduate of UCCS, where she received a BA in

finance. She serves as a mentor to young

accounting and finance professionals as well as

hosts the Institute of Management Accountants’

annual student night. Melissa is a member of the

PPCC accounting advisory board and the IMA board

since 2007. She’s also involved and a strong

supporter of the Community Partnership for Child

Development and the MS Society.

Next, Jan Martin, who many of you know.

Jan serves as the president pro tem for the

Colorado Springs City Council. She was first

elected in April of 2007 and re-elected for a

second term in April 2011. She holds a bachelor of

arts degree in education from the University of

Northern Colorado, and an MBA in finance from Regis

University. She’s the owner of Martin Business

Group, which specializes in information systems and

business training for local organizations. In

addition, she is also a part-time instructor in the

on-line MBA program at the University of Phoenix.

Prior to serving on the council,

Ms. Martin served on numerous boards and

commissions. She is president of the Ronald

McDonald House Community Charities Board, vice

president of the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

Foundation, and served on the boards of the

Citizens Project, Downtown Partnership and

Leadership Pikes Peak Board of Trustees. In

addition, she was a member of the city’s Charter

Review Committee and El Paso County’s Citizen

Outreach Group. Jan is a two-time Colorado Springs

Business Journal Woman of Influence honoree, she’s

a native of Colorado Springs, and enjoys golfing

and other outdoor activities. Welcome, Jan. Does

she sleep?

Next is Lisanne McNew, who is the director

of placement for the College of Business at UCCS

and freshman seminar instructor. She provides

career planning and activities internships and

full-time placements and academic guidance for the

undergraduate and graduate students in support of

their career goals.

Prior to creating that position, she

served as assistant director of the Colorado

Springs Small Business Development Center, where

she became actively involved with the community.

Lisanne previously did marketing and events for

DeWalt on the NASCAR circuit. In June 2007, her

and her husband started their own consulting firm,

McNew & Associates, which is geared towards helping

government contractors, which is a great part of

our community, with DCAA audit and compliance,

contract compliance, bid and proposal support,

internal audit setup, budget creation and support,

contract administration and accounting and

bookkeeping. She served as the chair of the

Chamber Rising Professionals for 2007-2008 and sits

on several other boards and committees throughout

the city, including the GAP board, Legislative

Watch Council, and D-11’s Achievement Gap Task

Force. Lisanne was selected for the Rising Stars

award through the Business Journal for 2008.

She received her BS in kinesiology sport

science from the University of Northern Colorado

and her MA in leadership, research and development,

student affairs and higher education, from the

University of Colorado — Colorado Springs.

She has a husband and two young sons.

She’s currently running for the Colorado Springs

District 11 Board of Education. Welcome.

Etienne Hardre has founded and cofounded

nearly — speaking of not sleeping — a dozen

startups at various stages of ideas and formation

and funding and has mentored and/or advised

entrepreneurs in starting a dozen or more

companies. He has been involved in the analysis of

business deals from $50,000 to $500 million and

provides forecasting and CFO services for startups

and growing companies seeking capital in his

current role as principal CPA at Next Exit


Etienne is on the board of directors for

the Peak Venture Group, where he cofounded and

manages the PVG, which has been initially

successful in improving the entrepreneurial

subculture of the region. Look for the future

pitch nights on meetup.com.

Today Etienne is looking forward to the

birth of his third son and was recently awarded the

2011 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the SBDC,

2011 Rising Star by CSBJ, and one of the Top 25

Most Influential Young Professionals by Colorado

Biz magazine. He is intent on bringing together

resources and ideas and promises to get every

entrepreneur involved in the community in a real


With that, I’m going to ask each of our

experts to weigh in on what they see are the

biggest roadblocks from keeping young professionals

from being engaged in our community. Why don’t we

start down here.

MS. SCRUGGS: Thank you. I would probably

say, from the view that I have, some of the things

that we see is young professionals’ jobs, the

amount of jobs that we have here in our

marketplace, the nightlife and social life and

networking and mentoring opportunities that we have

here, I know he talked about Etienne. He and I

worked together pretty closely, and he does a

fabulous job of engaging young professionals and

heading us in that direction. It’s something new

and refreshing that we haven’t seen in our

marketplace in a long time. I would say those are

probably the biggest things that we’re seeing that

we need to kind of gear towards here in the

Colorado Springs market to keep young professionals


MS. MARTIN: Well, it’s a hard question,

but I think maybe a one-word answer is life. I

think life makes it difficult for all of us to take

the time to engage in our community. I know for me

personally, it wasn’t until I had sort of reached

the pinnacle of my business, I had started my

business and had kind of settled in then, that I

found that I even had the time to start thinking

about how was I going to make this a better place

to live. And I do think life. I think with young

professionals with the families, the babies being

born, the young kids that everybody’s raising, I

think it’s just difficult to find the time.

One other thing that I often hear when I

talk to young professional groups is they’re

looking for, like, a project, something specific

that they can get their arms around. They don’t

want to just come to meetings and sit and talk.

They really want something specific. I don’t think

we’ve done a very good job of identifying ways that

we can engage the young professionals.

MS. McNEW: Okay. I actually have a

little bit of a longer answer. I have three

things. I’ve been running for office, so, you

know, that happens, but I have three points. One,

I actually — I’m going to come at this a little

bit differently. I actually think that we do have

young individuals who are involved. Look at all of

us that are here, and I think that we are involved.

I think that we just don’t know how others are

involved. You know, when I look around the room, I

know Sandy, I know how Sandy is involved, but I

didn’t know that Etienne was involved in all those

other things, and I know Etienne very well.

Tucker, I didn’t know Tucker is involved in all

those other things. So I think that we need maybe

even a place where it’s, like, where is everybody

involved? Because I think when you know where

other people are involved, you’re like, Oh, I can

get involved in that. So I think we definitely

have a really good group of young individuals who

are involved. We just need to know where so, that

way, other people want to get involved in those

areas. That’s my first point.

Second point, I think we need to hit

younger individuals as well. We have the young

business community, and we need to make sure that

we’re keeping those people happy. We need to make

sure that we’re hitting college students as well,

because those are the people that we want to stay

here. There’s lots of different ways to do that.

I know that the Rising Professionals has a Chamber

fellowship program that just started, but that’s

something that we need to look at because, once

they find a job somewhere else, that’s where

they’re going to stay. They might come back here,

but that’s where they’re going to stay for now. So

that’s one of the things that we need to be

focusing on, and I don’t know that we’re focusing

on that as much.

Then the third thing is going to be, we

need to work together and we need to collaborate

and communicate as well, and we can talk about that

more later.

MR. HARDRE: Well, the beautiful thing

about going at the end of the line is that they

already said everything I was going to say.

Those are all great ideas. We definitely

have the challenge of time. I mean, I’ve got a

wife, three kids, both of us own our own

businesses. It’s incredibly challenging. If this

meeting was 6:00 in the afternoon, I would have a

very challenging time getting here, and I imagine

there’s a lot of young professionals like me.

It’s also about the culture. It’s also

about the life that Jan talked about. There’s, I

think, more impact in doing many little things to

improve the engagement of young professionals than

try to do one or two big things a year, because it

gets the conversation going more on a regular

basis, it gets the buzz, it gets the energy

flowing. That’s a lot of it too.

Communication, I think we are all doing

some really cool things. We did a couple months

ago the Springs Vision Forum, and we scheduled it a

couple of weeks, maybe a week before this previous

event was, the last Leadership Forum, and neither

of us knew that the other event was going on. We

were both focused on the same group of people.

One of the major topics for the Springs

Vision Forum was the sports culture in Colorado

Springs, and that was the last main topic of this

forum. So, I mean, we barely connected in time for

me to even send an e-mail out to the young

professionals that were coming to our event. So

communication is a huge issue.

They already said all that. We just need

to dig in on those items and figure out solutions

for them and keep the conversation going.

Everybody who is here now has the obligation to go

tell ten friends that this is the kind of stuff

that goes on and what it is that you’re doing and

how can they get plugged in. Because, really, you

know, I found lots and lots of energetic young

professionals. They just don’t know who to ask to

get involved.

By the way, you guys can come to me any

time, or you can send anybody to me any time. I

promise, I will plug them in somewhere. If anybody

needs my contact info, get it from me later.

Anybody who has the money to come and pay for

something like this and who has the time to come

and do this and who has the desire to make this

happen, you guys now also have the responsibility

of dragging other people along and help connect


MR. BEVERIDGE: Great. We would like to

get the audience involved right away because it’s

an active forum, and we want to get your questions

right away. So as I mentioned before, there are

cards on the table. Please feel free to write down

your questions there. We do have roving mics, so

just raise your hand and they can find you pretty

quickly. So if you have any questions that you

would like to address of the panel.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Actually, I wanted

you, Etienne, to talk about, especially since

you’re pretty heavily involved in the

entrepreneurial culture, some of what Brad talked

to all of us was, give it a little context and talk

about what he said, because that was so empowering.

MR. HARDRE: All right. So you guys know

who Brad Feld is. You don’t? That’s a problem,

because he’s one of the most famous people in our

state. Brad Feld is one of the founders of the

Foundry Group up in Boulder, Colorado, who we

constantly compare ourselves to when we talk about

the entrepreneurial culture here in Colorado

Springs, especially the young entrepreneurs.

The Foundry Group is a — well, they’re a

DC firm, but they really do leading-edge technology

stuff. He’s done a bunch of other things. He’s

written a few books. He does a lot to promote

entrepreneurialism. We got the privilege of having

him come down to speak to us over a couple of days.

Peak Venture Group sort of spearheaded that, but we

got El Pomar to help out, and really put together a

bunch of events.

One of the things that we got to do — and

Tucker helped with this and Marcus helped with this

too — is we got to just bring together — I think

we had 20 young professionals and just have an

informal grab a beer and chat with Brad Feld and

ask him questions. That’s the setup.

We basically asked him, How do we do what

you guys do? We would love to live in Boulder

except for the fact that it’s Boulder. So how do

we make us have that kind of vibrancy, have that

kind of name, have that kind of national presence,

and have people want to live here, have people want

to come and engage with us? Because people come —

they abandon their families and they abandon their

communities and they go join Tech Stars for three

or four months out of the year to join their

accelerated programs and things like that. That’s

a huge draw. How do we get that kind of draw?

So he said a couple of key points that I

have really taken to heart and that I’ve committed

to doing myself. One is, you have to have a

long-term vision. He said you have to have a

ten-year vision. We can’t constantly be saying

we’re going to do that this year or the next year,

and you can’t judge yourselves for that for not

having reached the pinnacle of success inside of

12 months. It’s not going to happen. It’s the

change of a culture.

Second off was, you’ve got to just start

doing stuff. So everybody needs to get involved.

You’ve got to have a couple of key people that you

know by name that are out there that are the faces

of that group or that push or that mission or

whatever it is.

So, like, Marcus Haggard was the last

moderator at our Springs Vision Forum; great

opportunity for a young professional to get his

face out there. Now if anybody has any questions

about stuff related to the Springs Vision Forum,

they at least know Marcus was involved. Great. So

they can call him up and find out how to get

involved in more stuff like that.

I’ve been doing my piece, and we have

other people doing their pieces. The more we

publicize that, the more we get the names out

there, the more people will know sort of who the

leaders are, and then they will know to contact

them and get involved.

You know, John Severson is here, he’s with

CSYP, and his name is all over the place. So if

you want to get involved with stuff in CSYP, you

call him. Sandy is here from the CRP. We have

young professionals who are leaders with

organizations like that. We need more of those.

He said we need, like, ten at least whose name

everybody knows. I roll Brad Feld’s name, you

know, off my tongue, and David Cohen, who does Tech

Stars, and that’s because that’s the world I’m in,

and I know who the leaders are in that world that

I’m in. So we just need all the young

professionals to know who the leaders are in this

world who are the champions of the things they want

to get involved with.

Those are really two of the key points I

think we could implement immediately. We can raise

up some leaders, we can get them involved, we can

have a long-term vision, and then he said we need

to measure ourselves incrementally. So we need to

do better next month than we did this month. We

need to do better next year than this year. If you

compound that over ten years, we’ll have a vibrant

community. That’s what it comes down to.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Businesses keep

shedding employees. What will it take for business

owners to start coming back and hiring our young


MS. SCRUGGS: I think that’s a great

question. I’ll answer that one. I think that as

our marketplace continues to see improved business,

there’s a great buzz in the air around Colorado

Springs trying to attract new businesses here as

well. As they’re seeing trends of improvement

every month, they’re adding professionals back to

their staff. They’re lean. They cut pretty deep

as we went into the downturn, but we now see

recovery here in Colorado Springs. They need

someone that has a little bit of experience, and

we’re just now at the point where we’re seeing the

interest in college grads, getting great college


So I think that we’re definitely at that

point. We know that we’re going to see anywhere

from 12 to 15 percent increase in college grad jobs

here in the Western region from 2011 to 2012. So

there’s definitely improvement in sight.

One thing I recommend, we also talk about

how we mentor and coach some of these young

professionals, it’s to get involved. Etienne

talked about that. You do need to be plugged into

your community when you’re at a college level, when

you’re in school and doing internships. I think

that helps with marketability as well.

MS. MARTIN: I just want to add from the

city’s perspective, I think you all heard during

our recent election last April that jobs, economic

development is one of the top strategies for the

City of Colorado Springs and our new mayor. I

think we all know and really believe and understand

that jobs is where our future is, and we have to —

as a community, we have to come together and find

ways that we can let the world know that we want

you to come to Colorado Springs and all that we

have to offer.

Just recently, the Chamber and EDC are

working to bring those two organizations together.

The mayor has said many times that he will be

available to go out and recruit and work with any

potential new businesses who are interested in

Colorado Springs. I really think that the effort

that’s being made is for us to create a vision and

to speak with one voice, to actually let people

know we’re open for business in Colorado Springs.

MS. McNEW: I truly believe that

internships are so key in this, and this is why we

were able to start this program three years ago

through the College of Business, and we’ve placed

over 800 students in internships in the College of

Business. That’s just through my office alone.

That’s not students who have gone out there and

gotten internships themselves. And that’s just in

the College of Business.

It’s so good for employers, and I can

speak as an employer as well who has interns and

then has been able to take those interns and make

permanent positions for those students. So that is

just a great opportunity because we know that when

those students come out and when they can get

internships and then we can convert those into

full-time positions, that they’re going to stay

here. They are. Because now they’re in the

community. Then what we have to do is make sure we

get them into the community, that we get them

mentors. I think that’s a big deal.

One of the things that I’m trying to push

for as well is getting them internships even

younger, even in high school and things like that,

so that way they have mentors even at a younger

age. So we need to start talking about that as

well so that way they’re really integrated into the


MR. HARDRE: I’ve already talked, but let

me weigh in on this too. When it comes down to

jobs, when it comes down to hiring, especially

young professionals, growing companies hire people.

That’s what it comes down to. I’m not going to

hire somebody unless I have space for them. I’m

not going to have space for them unless I have

enough revenue to pay them and unless they’re going

to drive my revenue. That’s simple math.

What grows companies? That’s driven

people, they’re driven entrepreneurs, driven

leadership. They intelligently grow companies and

provide then a vacuum that has to be backfilled

with hiring more people. That’s just what happens.

So I do totally believe that it comes down to

mentorship and entrepreneurship and having really

awesome companies here that provide the


Mediocrity is simply not an option for us.

We can’t be satisfied with the status quo. We

can’t take our company to a place where we’re

comfortable with it and then suck all the cash out

of it to fund our lifestyles. If we do that, we

can’t pay the employee. If we don’t do that, if we

drive it back into our company, we can hire another

employee. That employee needs to be hired

strategically so we drive our revenue so that, in

the end, we exit and put ourselves on the map by

making tons of money, you know, ten years from now

instead of spending it all today. That’s simply

what it comes down to.

Mentorship is a big deal. This has a

debate that goes around that entrepreneurs can

either be born or be taught. I am of the firm

belief that entrepreneurs can be taught. So it was

people who poured into my life and gave me

opportunities that made me the person I am today,

not the fact that I was born that way. You have to

naturally have more of a risk tolerance to be an

entrepreneur and to put your face and your neck out

there and to open your mouth in front of a group of

people and say a bunch of things, but you learn

that skill. You learn that skill from people who

have done it before, who have been there before,

who you watch and emulate, that you respect.

So if we can get all of the successful

entrepreneurs here, who are rock stars at what they

do, to pour into the lives of young people like us

or like people younger than us even, then we’ll

make more people like us, and then we’ll have a

higher chance of driving successful companies which

will drive jobs.

MS. McNEW: Can I say one more thing? I

just thought of something else. I went on the

regional leaders trip to North Carolina with the

Chamber, not this past year but the year before,

and we were talking — I spoke with many different

companies out there. And the reason that they were

there is because of the university, and they said

that. I mean, you know, it’s a pretty place,

whatever, I don’t think it’s nearly as nice as

Colorado Springs, and they were there because of

the university, because of the UNC — Charlotte,

which is huge, and I thought that was amazing.

So one of the things that I’m really

trying to push — and I know that the chancellor is

wonderful — is that I think that we need to be a

part of going out and trying to draw in the

businesses to come here as well. I think that the

university needs to be a part of that, and, really,

I think that some of the people here in the room

need to be a part of that.

A lot of these companies have young

individuals. When they’re trying to decide if they

want to move here, the young individuals want to

know, well, you know, what’s in it for me if we’re

going to move the company? And the company wants

to know that. As a business owner, if I’m going to

move my organization to another city, I want to

know that it’s good for the employees as well.

So I think that the college needs to get

involved with that, which I have brought up in some

of the things that I have turned in to the

university, but I think that maybe, you know, we

need to get a team together and we need to go to

the Chamber, EDC, whatever it’s going to be called,

and say, You know what, maybe we need to be a part

of that as well. So just a thought I would like to

throw out there.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I kind of have two

questions. There’s been a lot of discussion in

town over the last several years about young

professionals, and sometimes it’s couched in the

terms of we have a young professional problem,

which doesn’t seem really to be the case or to

accurately describe the situation because, speaking

with other people, they’ve said, largely, that

they’ve never been in a city where getting involved

is easier, that there’s more opportunity, that it’s

easy to start a business, it’s easy to find people,

you can literally network with everybody in this

town in, like, 30 days.

So there’s a lot of great opportunity

here. The quality of life is really good. Even

though it doesn’t necessarily have the most

interesting jobs in Colorado Springs, there are

jobs to be found or there’s the opportunity to

start things.

So my first question is this: My class in

Colorado College, I literally don’t have — there’s

not another person that graduated in my year that

stayed here in town. They all left, and they left

for a variety of reasons. Some just wanted to —

some were, you know, from the East Coast and just

wanted to go home. Others just wanted to work for

kind of interesting companies, be it startups or

big name brands or, like, social enterprise things.

So when we talk about work, do you think — this is

the first question: What can Colorado Springs do

to attract the kind of jobs that would be really

interesting to young professionals? Is that even

something that we should be thinking about?

My second question is: Etienne talked

about the ten-year — this kind of, like, ten-year

plan. If we’re going to be talking about young

professionals, what does success look like? What

is the vision for where we’re going in having these

discussions and talking about getting connected

and, like, having a thriving young professional

community? Where are we going and how can we know

when we’ve arrived to some degree? I mean, is it

that we end up in the top ten ranking for best

cities for young professionals, or what is it? I

would just like to hear your thoughts on where you

would like to see us five years or ten years from


MS. MARTIN: I certainly don’t have the

answers, Marcus, but, you know, I think it’s going

to be difficult for Colorado Springs to actually

attract some of the companies that you referred to,

some of the exciting, big-name companies that

people would really love to work for.

One of our deficiencies here is we don’t

have very many headquarters. We tend to get

offshoots. I think your company would fall into

that category. We get satellite offices rather

than headquarters. That’s just the way it has been

around here. So I think it’s going to be difficult

for us to actually attract those, plus it takes a

lot of money.

I’m also not prepared to say we can’t.

I’ve often said that we try to attract businesses

here with a shotgun. We shoot out pellets and say,

We would like you to come to Colorado Springs,

rather than picking up a rifle saying, You,

Business, we want you in our community, and that we

actually focus on a specific industry or a specific

company and go to them and say, Here is what we can

offer you, type of thing. I think we can do a

better job of that.

As I think this through — and we’re

hearing it down the line, we’re hearing it in the

audience — I’m not sure it’s going to be just

about attracting jobs, but it’s going to be about

building jobs and providing opportunities and

telling the country that Colorado Springs, we

really are a place for you to come with your ideas.

I just went through this, an example of a

young man who was a student at CC that I met.

After he graduated, he left, he went back to

California, came back out here for a vacation,

loved Colorado Springs, and just happened to call

me because he remembered that we had met at the

president’s house one night. He came to my office

and he said, I’m here on vacation, I’m living in

California with my family and where all the jobs

are, but I’m just here to tell you, I really want

to live in Colorado Springs. I really want to be

here, I can’t find a job, but I do have an idea for

a new company, and he shared his idea with me. And

I said, Bingo, that is exactly what we’ve been

talking about. Here is a young man straight out of

college, he has a great idea, and he just didn’t

have the connections to make it happen. It was

easy for me to step in and to help make him — give

him the connections.

In the last month or so, you’ve probably

heard about the new company called SunShare, which

is a solar garden project, which is the first of

its kind in the State of Colorado and in our

region, and he started his business and is now up

and running and is now a Colorado Springs resident,

happy to be here, choosing this as his home.

We’ve got to do more of that and we’ve got

to tell that story better, that you come to us with

your ideas and we’re here to help you be successful

and make that happen.

MS. SCRUGGS: I would weigh in on that and

say that — again, I agree, Marcus, that’s a

difficult question to measure where we want to be

and what defines success.

I think in attracting large, exciting

organizations to our community is challenging, has

been just because we’re known as a very

conservative town, not necessarily tolerant, and so

it makes it difficult for some of these exciting

technology companies, big-name brand organizations

that people want to work for come here.

There’s definitely benefits, because we’re

a low-cost center and people can come here, they

can pay employees less. So there’s definitely that

draw here as well. I think what does build jobs in

our community is young professionals because they

are, as Jan said — I think everybody else has kind

of said this as well — young professionals are

very creative. They’re the next part of our

generation that will define who we are moving

forward, and it’s going to come from startups. You

have great ideas. And if our community, you can

look around and see what we’re made up of. Outside

of defense, we’re a lot of small businesses and

startups. So young people bring those great ideas

and energy to make that happen. I think that’s

where you will see yourself defined as a young,

successful professional, being able to contribute

to that.

MS. MARTIN: Let me just add a statistic.

Marcus was asking about why are we seen as a place

without young professionals. I can tell you that a

few years ago we did the 6035 study, if you

remember that, which was very data-driven. The

data actually shows that Colorado Springs is still,

from a specific numbers perspective, losing young

professionals. Our number of young professionals

in the community are continuing to decline. That

will be one measure that we can use to show that we

have turned that corner and started back up, just

strictly through data.

MR. HARDRE: I would agree with Jan’s last

comment about growing organizations here. I don’t

know about you guys, but having run a business and

networking with all you have to network to, moving

a business headquarters, that seems like an

insurmountable challenge to me. I would never even

attempt to do that unless I had some serious

reason, like they were just going to pay all my

taxes for the next ten years and move me there.

You know, I would have to have a serious reason to

pick up 50 employees and 100 extra spare jobs and

move it somewhere, anywhere. I don’t care where I

was unless the place — the economy went down the

tubes. So that just seems to me to be impossible.

So to focus our resources there,

attracting headquarters of interesting companies,

that seems like a waste to me. I would much rather

drive those into building an interesting brand,

building an interesting company. Besides, an

interesting company that we actually want to move

here, something like Nike, they’re already —

they’ve hired thousands. I mean, the people we

pick up are the ones who couldn’t move if their

headquarters moved here, right? And they would

have to be growing in order to be hiring on a level

we really want.

So why don’t we just grow our own company

because we can guarantee those people are going to

be hiring because they have nothing? They have no

employees now, and maybe they will need 100 next

year. That’s 100 new jobs.

So, to me, that seems to be — when it

comes down to the fight in the EDC over attracting

versus growing a company, I’m totally grow on the

new company side. I think it’s going to have a

bigger impact. I think the spinoff of growing a

new company, the publicity you get from growing a

successful company from scratch to 100 million

bucks is going to attract other companies. They’re

going to want to be part of that. So I think you

spend your resources there, they’re compounded.

As far as measuring, I don’t have a target

for long term, but, you know, I would commit to

just year-over-year growth. So I want to get ten

new people involved next month that I didn’t get

involved next month or five more people involved

next month that I didn’t get involved this month,

and measure it on an incremental basis there. I

want to get one new industry- or niche-focused

event going on, you know, at lunchtime every year,

I don’t know, and just drive the culture. I would

pick really small things, really small things that

would compound. So you get 30 people in a room.

You don’t end up with 500 like up in Boulder and

Denver because we don’t have that kind of

population. But if we focus in on, okay, I like

startups and there’s 50 other people who like

startups, let’s start a startup thing. Hey, I like

sports culture, so I’m going to start a sports

culture thing. Twenty people show up, great. Keep

starting them, make sure we keep the ones we’ve

done because that’s a serious problem here is that

we always start stuff and then drop it, like 6035

is actually a great example.

It’s still going on, but we had this huge

media push and all this energy and all this stuff,

and then it just kind of peters out and sort of

stops. We had Springs Vision 2020 before that and

we had — I don’t know, I wasn’t even here when we

had a bunch of other ones.

I would say we start something, we commit

to constantly doing it, unless it doesn’t work,

then we can it, we stop that because it didn’t

work, and we publicize that as much as we

publicized bringing it up. Then we just keep

adding to it, add new small things and start a new

company every year. Start a new startup every

single year. Find some new great idea and get

behind it as a community every year. So that’s

good. That’s in the right direction.

MS. MARTIN: I just want to add that I

think there’s one more leg to this stool. We can

attract jobs and we can start jobs, but the third

leg is, really, what do we do with our businesses

that are here? Again, I think it’s been an area

that we have sort of overlooked. They’re here and

they’re in business, so we go out and try to

attract new ones or help new people start.

I often wonder, if we were to put some of

the resources that we use to attract new jobs into

the current business market that we have here, what

could we do to help them actually grow? So I think

the stool has three legs, and I think sometimes we

maybe focus more on one leg than another. But the

truth is, it’s going to be all three legs that get

us where we want to be.

MS. McNEW: That’s what happens, I didn’t

get to talk, and Jan says what I was going to say.

Jan is absolutely right. I do think that you have

to balance it out because we do have to make sure

that we’re still attracting jobs here. When you

look at our DoD side, which is very strong here,

and we do need to make sure that we’re still

bringing in that side. And, of course, I’m a huge

fan of startups. I mean, I’m a startup. We’re

growing, but we have to make sure that we’re

helping those people who already have businesses

here who are trying to grow. We’re trying to make

sure that we can bring new people on, even just

this year, and so that we’re supporting those


One thing that I do want to mention is,

you know, where do we want to be in ten years? We

like that our costs are low and things like that,

but then we talk about mass transit, that we want a

huge downtown. Do we really want a huge downtown?

I don’t know. Do we want big buildings? Sometimes

we do; sometimes we don’t. So we kind of have to

think about those things because some days, I would

love this huge downtown, but then do we really want

these high prices and things like that? So we have

to think about those things when we’re talking

about where we want to be ten years from now.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Hi. I’ll preface this

by saying, I love Colorado Springs. I moved here

on purpose, started a business here six years ago.

We’re small. We employ six people here locally.

We’re really lucky we’re doing really well, that’s

because most of our business is not local. Sadly,

because of the situation of not having a lot of

companies based here, in my industry, we’re mostly

out of state and out of country, but we do all the

work here locally.

I feel like, you know, as a small business

owner here, I don’t know that I really feel

supported. You’re talking about the third leg of

the stool. If it means I have to go to ten

different meetings a month, I can’t do that. I’m

too busy selling the product and fulfilling the

product to be at all these meetings that you’re

talking about which I’ve never even heard of.

So I’m just saying, you know, for real,

you know, for me, someone that’s just running a

business every day and trying to make payroll and

that kind of thing, this is where I’m not involved

as a young professional. So I don’t know what the

answer is there. I know you have to get involved

at some point and take responsibility for that, but

I think, for me, communication, as you’ve

mentioned, I don’t know about all these things

going on. I feel like the way it’s marketed to me

is I get e-mails that say, Oh, we’re having this

meeting that’s very tech-centered. It doesn’t

apply to something I’m interested in, so I don’t

go. I hear about young professionals and those

kinds of things, but I just don’t have time to go

and be that.

I’m not really necessarily looking just

for business here locally, networking and trying to

get a job or something, but I’m looking for, you

know, maybe more support and camaraderie, that kind

of thing, ideas, things like that. We use a lot of

interns here locally. I mean, we’re doing a lot of

things that you all are talking about that we need

to be doing, but I don’t feel like I get anything


This year alone, we’ve brought probably a

dozen Fortune 500 companies into Colorado Springs,

and nobody here knows it. So I don’t really know

— and these companies are telling me how much they

love it here, they’ve never been here. A lot of

them are from out of the state or out of the

country. And the cost of living, they’ve even had

me go show them homes and stuff while they were

here. What do I do with that information? I’ve

gone to some of the proper places and told them

this and nothing was followed up on. So that makes

me feel, like why am I doing all this? I’m just a

business owner. Why should I care? I want us to

succeed. I love it here. I don’t want to have to

go somewhere else. I don’t know if that’s a

question. I’m just a little passionate about this

whole subject. So tell me what you think.

MS. SCRUGGS: I think you’re absolutely

right, you speak and represent a lot of small

business owners out there in Colorado Springs.

Again, it’s going through the downturn, teams got

very, very lean, they don’t have a lot of staff,

they’re trying to keep their doors open. Business

is improving, they’re working harder today and

they’re not able to leave their offices and network

like on the situation that you’re talking about.

I would encourage you to open it up to

your staff and see if you all have people in your

office that want to get involved. It doesn’t

always have to be the business owner. It can be

someone on your staff. If they want to get

involved as well, they can come back and be your

voice in the community. I think there has to be

some sort of interaction from your organization.

The other thing that I would task us with

— and we’ve all talked about it — is there are

some great things going on in our community but

it’s not communicated. We need to have one

standard place that people know where to go find

this information and get involved. There may be

several events going on at the same time. One may

be of interest, the other one won’t, but you do

have to be with peers from a networking standpoint

to help generate ideas. Especially startup

organizations, we struggle. Someone else has

probably been through the same thing you have

before and you need to share great ideas. So I

think it’s great to be out there whether you do

business locally or out of state, I think, as a

business owner, you can build your business and be

smarter if you learn from your peers.

MS. McNEW: I’m going to throw this at the

Business Journal here. Is there a way where the

companies maybe can send you guys an e-mail to a

certain — you know, to a certain address or can do

something where they’re like, Hey, this is what

we’re doing; we hired on two new people, we brought

in these companies and this is happening? Because

I think that there are a lot of small businesses,

large businesses, I mean, I don’t think that it

matters, where we’re making great strides and

nobody knows about it. I think that if people are

doing that — I mean, you guys do a great job, and

I’m not saying that. I mean, we read the Business

Journal all the time and we see these things, but I

think that if we start to see these things ongoing,

then maybe more people that aren’t as involved will

start to do that.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Sure, I think that

that’s an idea that we’ve toyed with and tried to

get off the ground for a while, and I think that’s

exactly what this is, a way to start facilitating

some of the discussion. That’s where we want to

create is a place where this communication can be

housed and take place somewhere through the

Business Journal.

We have a blog that’s started now, a young

professionals blog. That’s a way where we can

start doing those — making those announcements and

posting all kinds of information. I would

encourage everybody, if you have any information,

to just send it along to the Business Journal. If

you don’t subscribe to our daily e-mail already,

head back home, to the office, and go to csbj.com

and sign up for our e-mail. That’s really a way

that we reach out to readers and draw things back.

So that’s where you would probably find out that

things are going on or where — announcements that

are being made.

We would also like to try to facilitate

more of this discussion that’s going on here today

through an e-mail that we will probably be sending

out later this afternoon. If you look for it, we

would like to continue those things and provide

grounds for communication.

MS. McNEW: Would there be something in

print or maybe a little section that may be able to

have — even once a month that just, like,

highlights in the business community what small

business owners are doing. I’m sorry. I don’t

know your name. But if she’s really doing

something and I’m really doing something and

Etienne is really doing something, where it’s just

a bullet, like this company increased this many

jobs. I know that you do like On the Move and

something like that. I think some people like

blogging, but I would love to see something in

print that says McNew & Associates, and I’m sure

she would love to see something in print that said

whatever her company is hired this many people and

did this. I don’t know. I think that’s kind of


AUDIENCE QUESTION: We think it would be

neat too. We just talked about the Kudos type of


MS. McNEW: That’s great. I love that.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you have anybody

that goes out and finds that, or do you want people

to send it to you?

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Well, we do both.

That’s what we do as journalists, we go out and

find that type of stuff. We’re trying to be out in

the community and report on those types of things.

Sure, we want people to send them to us. I think

communication is both directions always.

MR. HARDRE: I would speak to your point

too. We have the exact same frustrations. Me and

my wife are a small business owner. She doesn’t go

to that many things; A, she doesn’t have time

because she’s raising three kids, and I’m working

full-time in my business; besides, it’s not

relevant to her because of the kinds of people she

would network with are not her potential customers.

I’m also the cochair of another group in

town called Celebrate Technology. We do an awards

ceremony each year in conjunction with the EDC for

the tech companies. And the reason that was

created is because there are so many technology

companies here in Colorado Springs whose customer

base is entirely out of the city or the state or

the whole country, and they didn’t even know that

they existed. There are guys who could supply each

other parts and services right down the street from

one another; didn’t even know that they existed,

had no idea at all.

So the goal of recognizing them and

getting them to come to an awards ceremony was to

try to get them all in the same room with each

other and maybe they would rub shoulders and start

talking with each other. They don’t need to go to

the Chamber because they’ll just hang out with a

bunch of financial services people or real estate

agents; people who are focused on doing business in

the community with people in the community. They

won’t get an international buyer, they won’t get a

key service that they need where they have to go to

California to find.

That’s the challenge. Most of our

networking organizations here are — because the

vast majority of our businesses really are focused

on our community. So that’s the service that

they’re providing.

I forget who it was. I think the Chamber

had an international office for a little while.

They tried doing international networking and some

other stuff, and I went to a few of those, and

there were, like, six people that showed up. So I

think they stopped doing that. The person who was

leading it went and found another job. I don’t

know if you ever replaced them or not.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: We did as soon as we


MR. HARDRE: Still, there was nobody that

really showed up. I had some people come down from

Denver that were interesting to network with and

did some international-type stuff. Heck, half of

my client base is in Denver or beyond.


entrepreneurs who will lead the way that Brad

talked about, because a lot of this discussion is

exactly done like — I’m sorry. It’s about this



question, though. I think coming back to the

basics, I have the people that I associate myself

with and my friends are in the community that we

are young professionals, but the question that

keeps coming to mind is: What’s in it for me and

what’s in it for them and, really, what is the

draw? I think that’s really kind of the basic

question that I don’t even know.

I’m wanting to be a part of the young

professional groups. I’ve tried some of the

different — like the Chamber — I don’t want to

knock anybody. I’ve tried the Chamber, I’ve tried

the Young Professionals, I’ve tried many different

places to get plugged in.

This is just speaking personally. And as

I think about even myself and the people that I

hang with, rub shoulders with, what’s in it for

them either? That’s what I keep coming back to is,

yes, we want to draw more jobs for — to bring

people in. But, really, I think — and is it going

to fit my need? Because we said life. Everybody

has a million different things going on. I would

like to connect more, but I’m not really seeing

what I’m looking for necessarily fulfilled either.

Maybe I just need to keep looking.

I know we talked about the communication

piece too. I don’t even know a third of the things

that are going out there. So I think that’s, to

me, the bigger question is, what’s in it for the

young professionals? Is it really meeting what

they’re looking for?

MR. HARDRE: Let me speak to that, because

one of the things that I found is the young

professionals have a hard time articulating that.

They know that they’re not getting whatever it is

that they want, but they’re not quite sure what it

is they actually want, what’s really going to

fulfill them, so they keep trying stuff until they

find it.

I know I’ve sort of taken the time to try

to articulate that. It comes down to a number of

things for me. I’m a young professional, I’m

29 years old, so I’m fully right down the center of

this demographic, and I want the same things, I

think, that most other young professionals in town

want. So add your voice to it.

Here is what I think I want: I think I

want to be empowered to really be involved in

something that actually matters. I want my voice

to be heard. I want to sit on the board of

directors and I want to make a decision and I want

the people around me to say, Hey, that’s a good

idea; let’s make it happen. That would feel really

cool to me. I would feel connected to my community

if that happened. I want to meet more people like

myself. So I want to have a circle of friends who

think the same way I think who are driven for the

same reasons I’m driven who I can bounce my ideas

and my concerns and my frustrations off of and they

get it. That’s why we hang out with the friends we

hang out with, right?

So I’m an entrepreneur, I’m out there, I

feel like I’m fairly intelligent, I’m fairly

risk-taking, and I’m fairly savvy in business, and

I want other people like me. I want to hang out

with those kinds of people. I don’t want to hang

out with people who are only interested in going to

bars. I want people with kids too because I have

kids, so I want them to understand them. So for me

personally, I want a subset that has young

families. So that’s another thing I want. And,

finally, I want mentorship.

So I want all the tools necessary for me

to succeed. I want to be able to have access to

capital when I need it, I want access to advice

when I need it, I want to be able to call up Jan

Martin in the city council and say, Hey, this is

really bugging the heck out of me. What can you do

to help me? I want her to pick up the phone and I

want her to answer, I want her to respond to my

e-mail. So those are the things I want. That’s

kind of a short list. I’m sure other people want

other things.

If I had all those things, I would feel

like this is a great community, and a lot of those

things already exist. Jan has already done those

kinds of things. She’s very receptive, and almost

everybody on the city council is very receptive.

We just need to do more of it. When it comes to

the CRP, when it comes to the CSYP, they just need

to add some elements to make sure those concerns

are met.

MS. McNEW: Very, very quickly, I would

love to know what you’re interested in. I think

that the Chamber Rising Professionals have fairly

outlined what they do, I think that the Young

Professionals have fairly outlined what they do,

and I think that it’s hard to cater to everyone.

That’s where I think that when there are all these

different groups, but you don’t know that they’re

all out there, that’s where we need to come


I always think, Okay, when we do something

like this, what are the action items? My husband

is always up here. I’m like, Okay, so what are we

going to do about it? That’s where I’m going to

turn again to the Business Journal and say — and I

know people are, like, oh, my gosh, there are so

many community calendars out there and whatever,

but we do have a lot of things going on.

So I think maybe people are, like, look at

this, this is what the Rising Professionals are

doing; oh, that interests me. This is what the

Young Professionals are doing; that interests me.

That’s what this group is doing; that’s what this

group is doing. I don’t know if that’s something

that we can do.

The Business Journal is leading the way on

these different things. Maybe that’s something

that we can put together. It’s a hard thing to do,

to do a community calendar, it’s a pain in the

butt, I know, but if we want people to be involved

and we get the word out there, that’s what we can

do. So maybe that’s an action item, a Kudos thing

and then maybe a community calendar of some sort.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: The community and the

city are currently working on a calendar.

MS. McNEW: Maybe we can merge it all


MS. SCRUGGS: If I can add before we go on

to our next question, that I think that sometimes

we get so involved in networking that we don’t give

that event an opportunity and we go to it once and

then we get bored and go to another one and we go

to another one.

Pick one thing. That particular event you

went to might not have the topic that you enjoy,

but go again, give it a chance. If you want to get

involved, make a difference, try to get on board

and involved in those different committees,

different organizations, because you’re with the

people you need to be with. I think give it a

chance and communicate to those groups what you

would like to see.

MS. MARTIN: I need to give a quick shout

out to one more group who I don’t think is really

represented here this morning, and it’s called

Leadership Now. It’s through Leadership Pikes

Peak, terrific program, but it’s a limited time. I

think it’s six months.


MS. MARTIN: And you go once a week for

four months, and you learn about the city. I went

through — they have an older people’s program too.

It really teaches you about the city from the

inside out so that you have — you understand how

all the connections are made, and I highly

recommend it.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I was asked to go

ahead and jump in here. My name is Hannah Parsons,

and I was just appointed to the board of the

Business Improvement District for Downtown, and it

was — they have met — BIDD and the Downtown

Partnership have both been, I would say, proactive

in getting young professionals involved so that

they can get ideas.

So I just began my three-year term, and I

would like to do right by them in that and ask,

What can I take to them as action steps? What can

I do for downtown? How important is our downtown

in leading this? And, two, what specific things

can we do, as a BIDD board, in leading Colorado

Springs in this attraction of young professionals?

MS. MARTIN: I do know what the BIDD board

is. I don’t know if everybody else does. It’s the

Business Improvement District Downtown that

actually collects some tax dollars from the

downtown area that they can use to then support the

downtown group.

You know what, I’m thrilled to hear that

you were just appointed. If you look at many of

these boards and commissions, we have the same

people over and over again, so we have the same

ideas over and over again. I think what you will

bring is a fresh set of eyes and a fresh

perspective. We’re right, we don’t know what we

really want our downtown to be. We’re not crazy

about what it is, but we’re not exactly sure, and

you’ll bring a fresh perspective that I think

everybody will be open to and anxious to hear.

MS. McNEW: That is wonderful. I wrote

down your name and circled it and starred it.

Downtown is so important. You know, when you read

any article of any city, and everyone wants to make

sure that they have young professionals, and

downtown is always in the center of it. It is.

Everybody wants a vibrant downtown no matter what

that looks like. So I’m just so excited for that,

and so I would love to talk to you offline as well.

One of the things that I did just this

past weekend is I took some of my freshmen who I

teach to the Philharmonic, and they didn’t even

know what the Philharmonic was.

We walked downtown, and they had no idea

that there were, you know, sculptures downtown,

they had no idea that they can go and enjoy

themselves, and then we went and ate down there as

well. I mean, they loved it. They were like, Oh,

my gosh. You know, I just think that it’s so

wonderful. So congratulations to you, and if we

can get more people involved in that, downtown is

absolutely important. We just need to get the

college students down there as well, and I think

that’s important.

I know that we’ve talked about

transportation down there, and that’s a big issue

as well. We need to get them off the hill. I

mean, obviously, we have CC, but I’m coming from


MR. HARDRE: I actually live downtown and

my business is also downtown. I spend almost all

of my time walking around — I actually walked here

from my house. So downtown is incredibly important

to me.

However, as far as attracting young

professionals and as far as building the business

community of our town, our town is spread out. So

we have these centers. Like, for example, Garden

of the Gods Road is, like, the tech center. I was

actually helping a client of mine that I helped —

a company I helped found that’s going to be very

technology heavy, very manufacturing and technology

heavy, and we would not look anywhere except for

Garden of the Gods. We wouldn’t. We chose

specifically not to. We actually mapped out the

space and said, Here are two areas that we will go

look at, and that was the tech center area and the

Garden of the Gods Road. That was it. Because we

want to be around the other kinds of businesses

that are like us. So that’s not a bad thing. We

would not have gone downtown, regardless of what

downtown looked like.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Is it important,

though, for the people that come to work for them

to have a thriving downtown for recreational


MR. HARDRE: Yes. Yes. When I think of

Denver, I think of, like, 16th Street, but that’s

because there’s tons of people there. Really, to

me, that’s what’s exciting about it is that there’s

tons of people and lots of activity. It’s kind of

fun to be around that energy. Do I want Colorado

Springs’ downtown to look like that? Heck, no. I

wouldn’t be able to park anywhere, I wouldn’t be

able to drive anywhere. It’s my downtown. You

guys can all go somewhere else.

That’s what I think, because I’m afraid if

we tried to model it after Denver, that’s what we

would get. We would get all the problems that go

along with that, one-way streets and all this other

junk. Everything grows straight up and you end up

with 30-story buildings. That’s not the kind of

downtown I want in Colorado Springs. That’s cool.

We’ll have different centers. Downtown will be the

financial district because that’s where all the

banks are and they have all the bank towers down

here. That’s cool.

I think that’s what it is, it’s the

professional district, and the developers are all

down here and the financial institutions. I think

that’s great. I think the tech centers are going

to be up on Garden of the Gods. I think the

government contractors are out toward the airport,

and I think that’s great. I think we should build

up those sections the way they are.

I do have specific ideas about what you

can do to make downtown really cool because when I

moved here from Vegas, there was a Vegas — not the

Strip by the way — but there was a section of

Vegas that was awesome. My wife and I drove

several miles to go hang out there. We did

nothing. We just hung out there because it was so


We could easily do that here. There’s

been a number of developers who have attempted

stuff like it. Just go look at what another city

did and just copy it, letter for letter, color for

color, size for size, do it and it will work

because it works there, because people are people

and they like what they like. So find out what

people like and they will come to the place that

has it. So that’s easy. Anyway, that’s my spiel

about downtown. It’s my downtown, so you guys can

all go to Denver.

MS. SCRUGGS: I would add to it and say

that I think there needs to be a happy medium. We

do want a place that the young professionals can go

and socialize. Downtown tends to be a central

place for people to do that. You don’t have to add

a bunch of bars and restaurants. You can do a lot

of community events. In the Bay area, we had a lot

of wine festivals. It’s not something that’s

happening every single weekend, but it’s a place

where families and young professionals alike can

gather. I think that really caters to our entire

community. I think things like that in our

downtown area will make it exciting and offer some

fun things that will keep those folks here.


Liotino, and I’m the director of the Volunteer

Center at Pikes Peak United Way. I want to share

another Web site that you can get connected to

volunteer opportunities, and that’s

volunteerpikespeak.org. So I am not sure if

anybody is familiar with it, but another way to get

connected if the networking opportunities are not

quite what you’re looking for.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I was just going to

make a comment about the calendar. Sorry to

revisit this thing again. One thing that helped me

get connected in this community — I’ve been here

for about three and a half years now — was

Leadership Pikes Peak. I went through the

Experience Springs program, which is a

day-and-a-half program, and that was phenomenal.

It opened up my eyes to a lot of things.

In regards to the calendar, I think having

that central place of all listed events, but

additionally, details regarding what each event is

about and the mission of that particular group or

organization would be very helpful.

MS. McNEW: And the Colorado Springs

Business Journal will have a full-time opening for

that position soon, so we will be sending that out

to all of you.

MR. HARDRE: Careful, it’s being


MS. McNEW: I was joking. I didn’t know

that was being transcribed. I was joking.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: One of the things that

Brad Feld talked about, which I loved, is the

entrepreneurs will lead the way. Even in this

discussion, the Business Journal, you guys are

great, even some of the others, like Loree is here

from The Gazette and also just government agencies,

like Sandy is here with the Chamber. So all these

organizations are great, but what I really took

from Brad is that entrepreneurs will lead the way,

and we will take — not that people within media

organizations or government organizations aren’t

entrepreneurial; however, I want to talk a little

bit more about that. How do we build up this

entrepreneurial culture? We are the ones who are

going to create these community calendars, we are

the ones who are going to help connect people

better, we are the ones who are ultimately going to

lead the way. That’s just something I took from

Brad, that it’s something so deep in me.

With Brad, one of the big questions is,

How do we get venture capital here? That’s not the

right question, because capital goes where cool

things are happening. So how do we start

perpetuating cool people doing cool things? I want

to talk more about that, because that’s — I’m a

little passionate about it, if you haven’t noticed,

but that’s the kind of stuff I want to see.

Jan mentioned getting people to their

ideas. How do we bring in these ideas and support

those ideas? And if some of those ideas failed,

that we still support them, you know, we still

support the people, and we help them keep pressing

forward. We allow people to make mistakes and

allow people to have great successes and really

have entrepreneurs lead this pack.

MR. HARDRE: I think if we had to point to

the single biggest roadblock, I would say it’s

because we point too many fingers. We’re

constantly saying, Well, those guys are the ones

that are supposed to be doing it. The Chamber and

the EDC merging, that was the biggest reason why I

support the movement, because I think the Chamber

and EDC have been pointing fingers at each other,

and now they can’t. If it removes that single

roadblock, fantastic; join them.

That’s why I started my own business, and

then I have the responsibility for making my

business succeed. I have the responsibility for

making my clients succeed. I can no longer point

the finger at anybody else that’s not doing what I

think needs to happen. That’s why I became an

entrepreneur, because I have that complex, I have

that control complex where it’s my responsibility,

dang it, and I like it, I like that speedometer.

Not everybody has that. So that’s what we need to

do, we need to take responsibility and we need to

say, Hey, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do

our little thing. And getting back to my point

earlier about doing a lot of little stuff, I think

every single person, especially the entrepreneurs

need to just go out and do something small and make

it happen. And when it happens, when all of us are

out there doing one little thing, I don’t care what

it was, I even called the guy and said proud of my

parks thing, I said I have a park across my street,

I’ll take care of it. When we had to shut off the

water for the parks, that was easy. I just called

him up and got connected with him. We can all do

little stuff, any little thing. We can say, I’m

going to go hire one intern or find one job for one

intern and I’m going to go connect with six other

people in my industry to just find out what they’re

up to. Whatever it is you’re going to do, just go

out and do it. It’s going to be on our shoulders.

Responsibility is firmly going to be on our


Back to what I said at the very beginning,

we need to have a couple of people lead that

effort. So they need to be the hubs. We’re

talking about this calendar thing. Really, it’s a

hub of communication; it’s not just events. Back

to your point, I don’t have time to go to all those

events. If it’s in the evening, I can’t go to it,

I’m on the board of directors of the Peak Venture

Group. I can barely go to their breakfasts because

I have so little time. I’m off running a business

and getting new business and making sure I pay

rent, things like that that are incredibly

important to me, far more important than


So it comes back to we need a couple of

people to lead that and become a hub for the

communications so this happens efficiently, so I

know who to call. I say, Hey, look, I’m looking

for a couple people in this industry, point me in

the right direction, and I’ll figure it out from


To your point, entrepreneurs have to lead

it; we all have to take responsibility. Every

single one of us, by virtue of being in this room,

we all take a little extra responsibility, but

everybody in town has a little responsibility. We

can’t point the finger at the Business Journal.

Let’s use their resources if they’ll give them to

us. We can’t point the finger at the government.

They’re never going to be the end-all answer. They

can help grease the wheels though, they can help be

that hub, they can point us in the right direction

and make some connections for us.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to

execution. Are we actually going to do what it is

we want to do? That’s you and I and everybody, you

know, just getting together and doing it.


program coordinator for Leadership Now. If you

have any questions about that, let me know. I also

have graduates in the room.

Last session, we talked about the identity

of Colorado Springs, specifically. We actually had

a map of where folks put stickers on where they

live, where they would like to live and where they

work, and discussed that.

So kind of a question that came up that

refers back to the cool people doing new things, a

question came up about the good old boys network,

and our participants who are all 22 to 32 years old

asked if there is a good old boys network and how

they can kind of break through that. I think

Etienne referred to having a leader in each area

that we can point young people to. Is that setup

going to break the good old boys network?

MR. HARDRE: I hope it does. I mean,

funny thing is, you’re sitting right next to Chris’

old spot, and he was probably part of that good old

boys network, which is fantastic to see him at

events like this, because I think the “good old

boys network,” it can be — I mean, it’s just the

guys who have done stuff before and it’s the guys

who are doing stuff now and they have most of the

resources in town and they have most of the

connections in town, they’re on most of the boards

so they make most of the decisions. That’s all it

really comes down to.

I’ve connected with those people, and so I

know most of those folks. I think their biggest

function today would be to be mentors, to help

connect us, to help move us forward, to help us

learn from their experiences, and kind of break

down that wall. I don’t really see it as much of a

wall. I mean, I went and called a half a dozen of

them, and they’re all real receptive. I’ve sat

down with Chris a number of times and Phil at

Operation 6035. Steve Bach and Richard Scoreman

both came to the Springs Vision Forum. When we

talked to them, they’re all really receptive. I

think they have as much of a desire to connect with

us as we do with them, and I think there’s this

communication barrier, and there’s no mechanism to

really find those people because they don’t have

any reason to network in this room here, really.

They’re at a different place in their career. So

we just have to find them and connect with them,

and I think most of them would have a long

conversation with us and help us.

MS. SCRUGGS: And I would say, as a female

business professional, that has been the

perception, that Colorado Springs is kind of a good

old boy network, difficult for women to break into

seats. We’re a very conservative town. That is

evolving though. There are more women going to

college, getting their education, and wanting to be

professionals in the workplace. That means more

females taking leadership roles, which we’re

seeing. You look at our panel today. There’s

quite a few females out there trying to take


There’s one business in town, it’s a

public accounting firm, that has traditionally had

95 percent men in their department, and it’s now

95 percent female. It’s evolving. It’s just for

sheer numbers of females going to school, getting

their education and wanting to be professionals.

So I think you’ll see that young professionals will

continue to evolve, and that will change in our

marketplace, and it is changing.

MS. McNEW: Just very quickly, just as a

younger female and breaking into that, you know

what, it hasn’t been very difficult. They are very

open, very nice. Going on trips with the Chamber,

and even running for office, things like that,

people have been very gracious and just wanting to

be mentors.

So you just have to go and talk to them

and then — let me tell you what, though, once you

are in, you are in. I mean, you know, it’s great.

The same people do the same things all the time and

stuff like that.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: That’s what Marcus was

talking about earlier too. As young professionals,

you can network with the top leaders of the city

in, like, 30 days, and it’s not difficult. That’s

why it’s such an interesting time for young

professionals, because we really have the


MS. McNEW: Where you might not in New

York or San Francisco or something like that.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I had one quick

question for all of you guys. Obviously, not all

of us are entrepreneurs. I am the financial

shmuck. My question is: Obviously we’ve talked a

lot about the fact that we live in a very

conservative community. Most of the time that I’ve

sees, like, an entrepreneurial city, very liberal,

going to the coast, very liberal, what can other

young professionals that aren’t entrepreneurs do to

help change that culture so that we’re not viewed

as this ultraconservative community in bringing

other entrepreneurs out of college to come here?

MR. HARDRE: I would say for you,

specifically, connect us all to your resources,

because you do have a lot of them. That’s what it

comes down to. People who are growing up in the

larger organizations that are, like, middle

management or higher, you guys get to control — I

don’t mean to be pointing the finger, because I’m

not. I used to be. I worked at my career in

large, privately-held organizations. I learned a

ton from that, and I got the leverage, the

resources of the entire organizations. If I was

passionate about something, the guys at the top,

they will get behind that.

So you get the opportunity, and everybody

who’s not an entrepreneur but they’re a young

professional in a large- or medium-sized entity,

you get the control of the people at the top, they

want you to be happy, and if they do that through

you, they accomplish both goals.

So, you know, guide your organization,

focus it in on the things that are going to help

the community, and you’ll build a more vibrant

community. You’ll be able to hire the right people

in the future, you’ll be able to find better

clients, you will be able to build a better

community that attracts the kind of people that

will make you more successful in the long run.

So help guide the organization. Say, Hey,

great, let’s get involved in these things, Send me

to this breakfast, because you can afford to pay

for my breakfast. So do it, and I’ll get involved

and I’ll make a name for our organization, and I’ll

make a name for our community and I’ll be really

involved. And in the long run, taking a long-term

view of that, it’s going to help everybody. As the

tide rises, all of our votes are going to rise and

we’re going to help each other out.

MS. SCRUGGS: I would add to that and say

I see three young folks over there who all work for

midsized organizations and are entrepreneurs, but

they want to get their face out there, the face of

the organization. I think to be able to get out

there and make a difference is to be involved in

something, and you are the face of your

organization. Take that information back. Your

employers are helping you with that. Networking

also helps with your career. You get to rub elbows

with other people that do what you do or people

that might be looking for someone like you and your

skill set. So I think networking brings a host of

other things whether you’re an entrepreneur or you

have a job and you’re looking for something

different, you have to be out there and be the face

of the community as well for your organization and


MS. MARTIN: I want to address, just

quickly, kind of the conservative nature of our

community. I’ve said for a while, and I actually

do believe this, it was sort of one of my

motivators to run for office. I’m a native of

Colorado Springs, so I spent my 60 years here.

When I grew up here, Colorado Springs had 40,000

people. Today Colorado Springs is 400,000. So in

my lifetime alone, we’ve seen that change.

At the same time, I’ve seen our culture

change. You know, we have gone through some

periods where we have been really viewed

conservatively, and, actually, some of the

legislation that’s gone through has given us some

black eyes of who we are as a community. I can

honestly say, in the five years I’ve been in

office, I really think that we’re beginning to see

that change, that we are becoming more inclusive,

we do want to be more inclusive, and the

conservative nature in some respects has served us

well because we have a very business-friendly

environment here to help us to get out of the slump

that we’re in.

You know, I’ve said for a long time that I

think we’re suffering from a little bit of a poor

self-image in Colorado Springs. We just don’t feel

so good about ourselves. We need to find those

things, those wins that we can start to get our

arms around. Did any of you go to the Procycling

Challenge last summer? Did you sense it? It was

in the air. We felt better about ourselves in

those couple of days than we have in a very long

time. We just need to find more opportunities, I

think, to have those kinds of wins. I think we’re

there, and I think it’s what we want, but I think

we have to experience.

One last thing is, the Colorado Springs

Convention and Visitors Bureau is actually just

finishing up a new branding exercise to actually

sort of give a tag line for our city. So it’s

something that we can all begin to talk about and

look to and have an identity for us in this

community, which I think we’ve sort of let the

outside identify us rather than us doing it

ourselves. So I think that’s helped.


question. From that Brad Feld event, you know, he

said this idea of just get out and start doing

stuff, and actually he didn’t say “stuff,” he said,

Get out and start doing shit. What I like about

that is that it’s bold and it’s aggressive and it’s

also kind of fun.

So, as young professionals, we care about

our city because we live here and we want it to be

a great place. I was wondering if you guys could

speak to this. It seems to me that there’s a

little bit of sense of a fear when people talk

about starting new things and going out on new

endeavors and there’s not just this, like, exciting

sense of fun that we can just go out and start

doing things and have this bold, aggressive — I

think Feld described it almost as like this

subversive but not like everything — we need to

support each other, we need to have a safe place,

but it should be safe. If you’re feeling like the

needs of a networking group, I’m not a big

networker. I don’t like to walk around and

network. I like jumping on board with causes that

I’m excited about, and that’s how I learn a lot.

So actually getting out and just doing things and

starting things, like, you know, Springs Vision

Forum and just pulling it out because nobody else

was doing it, why not? If we failed, who cares?

We can just move up to Denver.

So could you speak a little bit to maybe

this sense? Because I’m guilty of this too, of

thinking, Well, there’s an old boys network and,

therefore, I can’t. Actually, I’m not entirely

sure why they matter to me doing — outside of the

fact that most of them that I met are like, great,

do it, awesome, cool; like, we need more stuff. To

this sense of, like, how we can start doing more,

what can we do to start great things? I like

Etienne’s point, it doesn’t have to be big, do

small things. There’s like this weight of this is

going to be big, this is going to be city-wide. It

doesn’t have to be city-wide. Just make it cool;

make it so that you enjoy it. If it’s really cool,

then maybe more people will come.

Can you speak to how we get the confidence

or where we can start jumping on board and just

start doing things that we enjoy and start becoming

the young professional leaders that are actually

creating value in this town rather than just

begging for a seat at the table?

MS. McNEW: Well, I think that the

confidence comes from within, first of all. I

think that we all have to have that confidence, but

I think that we all have to be pushing each other.

I mean, let me tell you what, when I

decided to run for school board, I didn’t decide

that just on my own. I knew that that’s kind of

what I wanted to do, but I would be lying if I said

that I didn’t get a little bit of a push as well.

And so, you know, that confidence comes from

within, but we have to be pushing each other to do

those things, saying, Hey, you know, you can start

those things; I’ll help you with it.

I mean, if I didn’t know that I wasn’t

going to get support, I mean, I don’t know that I

could have done it; whether it was from my husband,

whether it was from some people in the business

community or whatever it is. So if you have that

internal drive to do it, then we need to make sure

that we’re supporting each other and saying, Yes,

you know what, go and do it. So if it’s just

sitting down and having coffee and, Hey, this is

what I’m thinking about doing; absolutely, let’s do

it. I’ll support you or I’ll connect you with

Sandy, and I bet she would be happy to support you.

So I think we just need to help support each other.

MS. MARTIN: I know we’re out of time, but

this is an interesting topic. My experience in my

five years on council has been that we tend to

allow the fringes of our community be the voices

that drive us. Rather than jumping on board to

support the people who are trying to do some

positive things, we tend to, and our media tends

to, give voice to the people who are just always

saying, You can’t do that, and, You’re wrong

because you tried it and you shouldn’t be doing


I’m in the middle of this right now, as

most of you probably know, with Memorial Hospital.

Our community has been trying for two years to

reach some sort of a conclusion on what to do with

Memorial. And every time, every group who has come

together, it has been our community who stood up

and shot down the ideas and the work that has been

done by these different groups. We can be our own

worst enemies around here. And you guys are

exactly right, we’ve got to stop that. We’ve got

to start supporting that as a community and quit

listening to the fringe groups and come together

and support the ideas that we believe are good and



Q-and-A session with Jan Martin and the Business

Journal on Friday.

MR. HARDRE: I would add to that point,

just to kind of wrap up, you know, I’ve been doing

my own entrepreneurial thing here for about a year

and a half, but I’ve done it for my entire career,

and it is a load of fun. It really is. I am

completely ruined for working for anybody else ever

again. I mean, I cannot express it to you until

you experience it, but I will promise one thing.

That was kind of the tail end of my bio, I will

plug every single person who comes and talks to me.

I will do it. I will find some way — I have a

massive network in town, which actually pales in

comparison to some of these people compared to

their networks, but I will at least connect you to

them. I will connect you to anybody I know who I

think could help you. I’ve never turned down a

meeting with an entrepreneur who wanted to come

talk to me, which has actually completely destroyed

my ability to make money because I’m talking to all

these people at all odd hours of the day instead of

billing hours. But that’s my commitment because

that’s what I love to do. It is a load of fun, and

I’m willing to support you guys and whoever else

wants support. And if you have a terrible idea,

I’ll tell you right upfront, you don’t want to

waste your time on it.

So, anyway, it is lots of fun. You just

have to get out and do it. The network is here.

We all just need to communicate with each other.

I’ll hang my hat out there as the first scapegoat.

Call me, and I guarantee I’ll plug you in. I’ll

find any little thing that you would like to do and

I’ll put you in touch with somebody else who can

get you involved and your effort won’t be wasted,

but you have to take that step because I don’t know

who’s out there. I mean, I have a network that’s

constantly swirling around me, and I don’t know who

wants to get plugged in more. So just ask me.

Talk to me and talk to the person next to you too.

There’s Leadership Now is here; half the room has a

huge network. John has a network that would pale

everybody in the whole room, and that’s amazing.

You just ask him and say, Hey, I’m interested in

this. And he’ll say, Oh, I know five people who

are doing that, go talk to them. If you can click

with them, great. If not, go try something else.

MS. GOBOS: Wow, what great conversation

we’ve had here today. Thank you so much. Thank

you, Bob Beveridge, from Wells Fargo. Thank you to

our fantastic panel. A round of applause for them.

And the audience, fantastic, absolutely fantastic

engagement, lots of ideas that we have that we’ve

talked about in the room.

We’ve transcribed this whole entire

conversation, so look for it in the Business

Journal. We were in the back. We have a million

ideas that came up here. We’re committed to this

particular topic and the young professionals, so

look for our Kudos Connection and our expanded

calendar and our blog. We want to be engaged with

you guys and help move forward. So thank you very

much. We really do appreciate it. Thank you,

everybody, for coming, and have a fantastic day,

and we’ll keep the conversation going. Thank you.

(The proceedings concluded at 9:33 a.m.)


I, Connie S. Dyke, Registered Professional

Reporter and Certified Realtime Reporter, appointed

to take the above-mentioned proceedings, do certify

that the Leadership Forum was taken by me at

4 South Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado,

on October 27, 2011, then reduced to typewritten

form consisting of 79 pages herein; that the

foregoing is a true transcript of the proceedings


In witness hereof, I have hereunto set my hand

this 7th day of November, 2011.


Connie S. Dyke, RPR, CRR

Notary Public

My commission expires June 28, 2014