Best Of Business — It’s back, and it’s hot
After the Colorado Springs Business Journal returned to local ownership in June 2012, the first order of “business” was looking back and seeing what worked — and what didn’t — for CSBJ through the years.
One of the first things we wondered about was the annual Best Of Business project, which had been discontinued after 2010. As popular as it had been, and with many regular readers telling us they wished it could resurface, we soon decided to make it happen again.
But saying it and doing it are two different things. Reviving the Best Of Business began with an initial meeting more than six months ago, setting up a timeline with the goal of turning it into reality by summer.
We decided to create most of the 70-plus categories for 2013 based on the CSBJ’s annual Book of Lists, also giving readers/voters the chance to submit write-in candidates. Then came the process of setting up the online vehicle for readers to sign on and vote for their favorites.
With no idea exactly how much participation to expect, we set a modest goal of 1,500 voters for this year. But when the voting began nearly two months ago, we were stunned when about more than half that many began casting their ballots — in just the first week.
In the end, we obliterated that goal and finished with just a shade fewer than 2,500 voters. They had to make choices in at least five categories for their individual votes to count, and many went far past that. We wound up with more than 30,000 votes in all, legitimizing the winners as much as possible in this format.
On the pages that follow, you’ll find quick looks at the winners, including a glimpse into what makes them special, as well as the top finishers behind them. We know the results in some categories might not be what some might have hoped or expected, but the outcomes are legitimate (and we eliminated some that were obvious cases of ballot-stuffing or ignoring the rule of voting in at least five categories).
So, with that, take a look at the winners in CSBJ’s Best Of Business 2013 — and rest assured the balloting will return again in 2014.
— Ralph Routon, Executive Editor
Mayor Steve Bach
Mayor Bach isn’t just business friendly. He looks upon local businesses as Ponce de Leon might have looked upon the mythical Fountain of Youth. In his view, the city’s health and well being are intimately and inescapably linked to the fortunes of the business community. His oft-stated goal: To make Colorado Springs the most business-friendly city in America. Given his energy and determination, he might just succeed in his quest — and if he falls short, like Ponce de Leon, it won’t be for lack of trying.
Runners-up: Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Council; Sallie Clark, El Paso County Commissioner.
Best Public Restrooms (in a business establishment)
Owned by Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz, everything at the Broadmoor is first-class — its dining facilities, its golf course, its amenities and its convention space. The Broadmoor provides impeccable service to its guests, whether they’re visiting for a week or just there for a business luncheon. And CSBJ readers also give a thumbs-up rating to the five-diamond, internationally famous resort’s public bathrooms, whether in the newer Summit restaurant, off the main lobby adjacent to the Tavern or at the Broadmoor Golf Club.
Runners-up: Dillards, Kum and Go.
Best Place for Team Building
Impact Leadership Development Group
The company’s website says expertise and focus are the key elements for developing superior leadership capabilities and high performing teams within a corporation or group. The Impact Leadership Development Group’s team of professionals utilize their expertise and focus to perform in-depth analysis of an organization, create custom-designed development interventions and achieve results designed and implemented to address the unique needs of the customer’s business.
Runners-up: Center for Creative Leadership, Challenger Learning Center.
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is a full-service, 522-bed facility with two locations: Penrose Hospital near downtown Colorado Springs and St. Francis Medical Center at the corner of Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard. The hospital has been named one of the 50 best hospitals in the nation for the past six years by HealthGrades, a nonprofit that analyzes health outcomes for 6,000 hospitals nationwide. It’s part of the Centura Health network, with 14 hospitals and seven senior living facilities.
Runners-up: Memorial Hospital, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospitals, Pikes Peak Regional Hospital.
Best Medical Facilities
Colorado Springs Health Partners
Started by six World War II veterans, Colorado Springs Health Partners was formed downtown in 1946. Since then, it’s merged with other doctors’ practices to become the largest physician-owned health group in Colorado Springs. The group believes that a multi-specialty group practice offers the best means of providing quality medical care. Since its inception, CSHP has grown to more than 90 physicians, 20 mid-level practitioners and more than 600 support staff at 11 facilities.
Runners-up: Front Range Orthopaedics, Centura Home Health.
Best Home Health Care Agencies
Discover Goodwill at Home
Independence is the key to the help provided by Goodwill at Home. The organization, part of Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, provides nonmedical, in-home care for people with disabilities, medical conditions and senior citizens. The organization provides companion services to arrange appointments, help with groceries and errands, help writing notes, reading assistance, and help with pets. It also provides homemaker services such as laundry, ironing, making beds and preparing meals. And workers for Goodwill also provide personal care help — bathing, dressing and hair care.
Runners-up: Home Instead, Independence Center.
Colorado Springs Health Partners
Located at 1633 Medical Center Point, Colorado Springs Health Partners operates an after-hours emergency clinic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. five days a week, with hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The group hopes to help patients avoid expensive emergency room co-payments and visits for medical needs that aren’t life-threatening. CSHP’s urgent care clinic can help with infectious illness, strains, sprains, simple fractures and insect bites or any kind of pain from headaches to back aches.
Runners-up: Penrose After Hours Clinic, Integrity Urgent Care.
Best Physician Groups
Colorado Springs Health Partners
There’s a reason CSHP wins in the best place to find a doctor — they have offices just about anywhere. The largest physician-owned group in Colorado Springs, CSHP has more than 100 doctors in 20 specialties in 10 locations. CSHP can help with urgent care, pharmacy or sleep help. They provide MRIs, outpatient surgery, diabetes support and weight management.
Runners-up: Mountain View Medical Group, Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.
Best Physical Rehab Centers
Spectrum Rehabilitation specializes in orthopedic, hand and sports physical therapy. With locations in Rustic Hills, Widefield and on Arcturus Drive, the company helps get people of all ages moving again. Spectrum provides services for cancer patients, sports performance, massage therapy and outpatient therapy. Spectrum has the only heated hydrogen peroxide pool in Southern Colorado. A hydrogen peroxide pool is good for people with pulmonary problems or skin problems that could react to the chlorine or bromine found in other pools.
Runners-up: Front Range Orthopaedics, Memorial Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers.
Since 1950, Bestway Disposal has been the leader in solid waste collection and recycling for the businesses and residents of the greater Colorado Springs area. Protecting the environment and public health is Bestway’s main focus. The Kiemel family has owned Bestway since 1967, serving thousands of residents in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Fountain Valley. The company began with three trucks and a few hundred customers. Bestway grew along with the city to become the state-of-the-art rubbish removal and recycling operation that it is now.
Runners-up: Blue Star Recyclers, Springs Waste Systems.
Best Accounting Firms
Stockman Kast Ryan & Co.
This isn’t the first time that Stockman Kast Ryan & Co., with offices at 102 N. Cascade Ave., in the heart of downtown, has been named a Best Of Business winner. The company is the largest locally owned certified public accounting (CPA) firm in southern Colorado, and its employees have experience with both small businesses and high-net-worth individuals to nonprofit organizations, medical practices, construction and real estate. The company offers tax, audit and consulting services to individuals and businesses in the state and region. SKRis affiliated with DFK International/USA, a worldwide association of independent CPA firms.
Runners-up: BiggsKofford PC, BKD CPAs and Advisors LLP.
Best Insurance Brokers — Commercial
CB Insurance is a locally owned and operated insurance company that has been in the Springs for more than 100 years. One of the city’s largest insurance brokerage firms, the company specializes in commercial insurance but also offers personal insurance. The company strives to “become a valuable partner to each client by helping to identify, understand, manage and finance the risks they face,” according to its website.
Runners-up: Wells Fargo, Hub Insurance, Six & Geving Insurance.
Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado
Discover Goodwill has several lines of service, all designed to help people become more independent through finding jobs. Goodwill offers retail stores full of donated items, and the sales allow job seekers, families in need and senior citizens become more independent. It also offers care services both in the home and in a community setting for people who face mental or physical disabilities. And Goodwill offers several commercial lines — from janitorial services to laundry services that allow people to maintain independence through learning a skill.
Runners-up: Care and Share Food Bank, El Pomar Foundation, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Best Law Firms
Sparks Willson Borges Brandt and Johnson
Sparks Willson was founded in 1976 by R. Kenneth Sparks. A full-service law firm, the company now has clients that include prominent local and national businesses, technology companies, construction firms and governmental agencies. The firm has 15 attorneys and paralegals, and specializes in corporate, commercial, real estate, intellectual property, estate planning, sports law and government, special district and zoning laws.
Runners-up: Mulliken Weiner Karsh Berg and Jolivet, P.C., Howard and Jensen.
Best Office Janitorial Companies
Jan-Pro boasts more than 10,000 franchises around the world and local franchise owners Yong and Charlie Werner bested them all to earn the Unit Franchisee of the Year award for 2013. The company touts a wide variety of clients, from health clubs and churches to medical offices, pre-schools and automotive dealerships. It offers customized professional cleaning plans where customers pay only for the services they desire. Owner/operators since 2002, the Werners have continued to excel and grow despite a volatile economy, and now employ 18 staff members.
Runners-up: Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, Vericlean Springs.
Best Moving Companies
Two Men and a Truck
When Eric St. Pierre and Jeff Walker opened their Two Men and a Truck franchise in Colorado Springs in 1993, they were literally two men and a truck. St. Pierre worked at the original location for the now-international business in Lansing, Mich., and was one of the first to franchise with the company, according to local manager Jeff Bayer. “We have been growing steadily over the years,” Bayer said. Between its locations in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, the local Two Men and a Truck franchise has grown to 60 men and 22 trucks. In June 2013, the company finished construction and opened a new storage facility with 70 units next to its office at 3220 Fillmore Ridge Heights. The storage was an amenity the owners felt the community wanted in a full-service moving company, Bayer said.
Runners-up: Arrow Moving & Storage, Armstrong Moving & Storage.
Pressed 4 Time
Looking for a place to get your ski wear or sleeping bag cleaned? Pressed4Time is known for specializing in pick-up-and-delivery dry cleaning, but it also offers service for hard-to-launder items, like wedding gowns, table linens and comforters, as well as outdoor sports items. Established in 1987, Pressed4Time is one of the nation’s largest dry cleaning and service franchises. The company has more than 160 operations in 34 states and four countries. Scott Randall bought the local franchise in 2006 after retiring from baseball. He pitched for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, among other teams.
Runners-up: Continental Cleaners, Tide Dry Cleaners.
Best Nonprofit Boards
Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado
The 30 members who make up the Discover Goodwill Board of Directors know they have to uphold a national reputation for helping people achieve independence. Discover Goodwill’s board is made up of people who are interested in community, led by Chairman Steve Condon of Central Bancorp. Together, they have been successful, as the local Goodwill is among the top 10 in the United States and Canada for job creation.
Runners-up: Special Kids, Special Families, Citizens Project.
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
As universities go, UCCS is a new kid on the block. Established in 1965 on the site of a former tuberculosis sanatorium, UCCS today enrolls nearly 10,000 on-campus students and 2,000 in online courses. Offering 36 bachelor degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees, UCCS ranks ninth among Western regional public universities and offers top-ranked programs in engineering, nursing, business and public affairs. Not so many years ago, it was widely regarded as a second-tier commuter college, the red-headed stepchild of its lofty state-funded brethren in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins. No more — today’s resplendent UCCS is one of the fastest-growing universities in the country and one of the acknowledged crown jewels of the Pikes Peak region.
Runners-up: Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College.
Best Private Schools, K-12
Colorado Springs School
The Colorado Springs School has focused on preparing local students for college for more than 40 years. Starting in pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade, educators aim to create lifelong learners with self-confidence, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The school proudly reports on its website that it places nearly 100 percent of its upper-school graduates into college. Student test scores are above the state and national averages with younger students consistently ranking in the top 90 percent on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. High schoolers boast an average American College Test score of 27, compared to the state average of 20.6 and the national average of 21.
Runners-up: Colorado Springs Christian Schools, Corpus Christi School, St. Mary’s High School.
GE Johnson Construction Co.
GE Johnson, born in Colorado Springs in 1967, has since grown to boast a resume of more than $6 billion in completed projects all over the Rocky Mountain West and beyond. More than 85 percent of its business comes from repeat clients, something president and CEO Jim Johnson says is a testament to the firm’s good work. The company has worked on projects ranging from $10,000 to more than $240 million from Michigan to California. Some well-known local projects include the U.S. Olympic Committee Headquarters, Plaza of the Rockies, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit and El Pomar Carriage Museum.
Runners-up: Bryan Construction Inc., Colarelli Construction Inc.
Best Professional Associations
Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs
The Housing and Building Association brings together a wide variety of businesses involved in new home construction and remodeling. Local businesses, including everything from roofing and concrete companies to landscapers, drywall installers, architects, plumbers and designers are members of the local HBA chapter. The organization grew its membership this past year after making a strong effort to direct people who lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon fire toward local contractors. The organization also hosts several events throughout the year, including home improvement expos, the tour of remodeled homes and its upcoming annual Parade of Homes in August.
Runners-up: Colorado Springs Executives Association, Executive Women International — Colorado Springs chapter.
Jim Johnson, GE Johnson Construction
Jim Johnson grew up in the construction business, spending summers working for his father before he went off to school at Kansas State University. He learned the business from the bottom up, and he created one of the most successful construction companies in the West. Johnson’s employees know him as the best boss. Johnson provides scholarships for sons and daughters of employees. The company’s website sums up Johnson’s business philosophy: “I was taught, by example, that corporate social responsibility includes investing in the communities in which you work. You must give, not only take.”
Runners-up: Chris Chippindale, Ent Federal Credit Union ;Linda Ellegard, Executive Director, Special Kids Special Families.
RTA Architects has offered “service by design” since 1975. The company, based in downtown Colorado Springs, has a talented pool of architects, architectural interns, designers and support staff who have led a diverse array of commercial architectural projects in Colorado Springs and throughout the state. Specializing in health care, education, retail, office and interior spaces, RTA has designed some of the city’s most visible projects in recent years, including the St. Francis Medical Center, the Penrose Hospital E-Tower, Bear Creek Elementary School, University Village Colorado, the interiors of Veda Salons and the redevelopment of the historic Hibbard Building downtown.
Runners-up: YOW Architects PC, HB&A.
Best Promotional Items
L.J. Promotional Products LLC
Co-owners Lee Durham and Jeannette Harris have more than 30 years experience in the promotional products industry and help customers find the perfect promotional bling for company picnics, trade shows, employee incentives. The company shows its commitment to the community with memberships in the Better Business Bureau, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Colorado Springs Executive Association, Pikes Peak Advertising Federation and Promotional Products Association International.
Runners-up: Fast Signs of Colorado Springs, The Shirt Stop, The Doodler.
Best Mechanical/Electrical Contractors
Berwick Electric Co.
Locally owned and operated since 1921, Berwick serves both residential and commercial customers and is available 24/7. Through three generations, the owners have provided hands-on local management and decision making. The current ownership team has managed Berwick operations since 1986. Rated AAA by the Better Business Bureau, Berwick enjoys exceptional financial stability with a surety line of credit that allows bonding projects in the high seven-figure range. The company’s access to credit and bonding gives it the resources to support large projects, but that doesn’t mean Berwick ignores smaller customers — and that may be the reason Berwick has kept its doors open for 92 years.
Runners-up: Olson Plumbing & Heating, Tolin Mechanical Systems.
Best Health and Fitness Centers
YMCA — Downtown
If you think you have deep roots in Colorado Springs, that’s fine — but the venerable downtown Y probably has you beat. First organized in 1878, the volunteer organization created the city’s first public library and reading room, and quickly expanded into other fields. Exercise classes, accompanied by a sedate pianist, began in 1900 (and you thought Zumba was cool!). The piano’s gone, but the Y is still the place to go for downtown residents and workers. Compared to the focused intensity of fitness-oriented clubs, the Y is casual and low-key. You may find yourself working out next to a former Olympian, a city councilor, or a server from your favorite downtown bar. It’s easy, relatively inexpensive and hardly intimidating — the perfect place to get fit and stay that way.
Runners-up: Corepower Yoga, Lifetime Fitness.
The Perk Downtown
For most locally owned coffee shops, finding yourself bracketed by two Starbucks locations (one across the street, the other two blocks to the north) would be reason enough to close your doors and slink away into the night. Not so for Pikes Perk. Supported for more than two decades by a loyal downtown clientele, The Perk Downtown has not only survived, but prevailed. Why? Chalk it up to superb coffee, great pastries and a two-story layout that includes an outdoor deck with panoramic views. It’s a favorite meeting place for everyone who works, shops or hangs out downtown, and will likely remain so for decades to come.
Runners-up: Starbucks, Dutch Bros.
Best Manufacturing Companies
Spectranetics was founded by Colorado Springs resident Bob Golobic in 1984 with the goal of using excimer laser technology to develop minimally invasive interventional procedures within the cardiovascular system. Golobic died while climbing Mount Humboldt in 1993, but the company endures. The revitalized company is now a leading manufacturer of laser catheters and other cardiac medical devices. With annual revenues of more than $140 million, Spectranetics has more than 550 employees worldwide, most of them right here in Colorado Springs. Patient stockholders have been rewarded, as the company’s stock reached an all-time high of $20.99 in May, more than double its 52-week low. Not bad for a Colorado Springs biomed startup!
Runners-up: Atmel Corporation, Agilent Technologies, Janska LLC.
The Olive Branch
The Olive Branch has been a downtown staple on Tejon Street for more than 32 years. On any given weekday morning, dozens of Colorado Springs’ most influential people will be huddled in pairs and small groups over their coffee and breakfast, talking business and making decisions that shape the city’s future. Over the years, the restaurant has become a standard meeting place for business breakfasts. The historic charm of the original wood floors, exposed brick walls and abundant greenery lend the local eatery a sense of austerity and importance befitting a business clientele.
Runners-up: Over Easy, Egg and I.
Best Business Happy Hour (restaurants/bars)
Horseshoe bar? Check. Great appetizers? Check. Diverse and merry crowd of regulars and newcomers? Check. Good selection of libations, reasonable prices and competent, friendly servers and bartenders? Check. Located just north of the Pioneers Museum in the south tower of the downtown Plaza of the Rockies, Nosh offers Happy Hour pricing between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. It’s best to arrive early if you want a seat at the bar with all the cool people — as one reviewer wrote on Yelp earlier this year, “Enter Nosh and you’re transported to an artistic dimension. Hand-painted Koi don the wall space, deep blues and dark grays set the mood, and a large window provides a glimpse into GOCA, bringing diners and art together.”
Runners-up: MacKenzie’s Chop House, Sonterra Grill, The Famous.
Best Place for a Business Lunch (restaurants)
MacKenzie’s Chop House
McKenzie’s Chop House, located in the historic Alamo Building at 128 S. Tejon St. downtown, is known for top-notch food and service. It offers a casual and elegant style with everything from simple salads to Kobe steaks on its menu. Established in 1997, it is the premier fine-dining restaurant in local Concept Restaurants’ lineup of businesses. Spring through fall, the garden-level patio fills with after-work revelers sipping on happy-hour cocktails. And the spot is just as popular among the city’s suit-clad business professionals during the lunch hour.
Runners-up: The Famous, Sonterra Grill.
Classic Homes consistently ranks among the top five homebuilders in the city by volume. And with good reason. The company, established in Colorado Springs in 1989, is committed to offering homebuyers a wide array of home styles and floor plans to choose from, boasting 40 distinct plans. Classic also changes up its offerings every year and keeps its styles fresh and modern, but with a classic feel intended to last. Classic was responsible for the Flying Horse master-planned community and was one of the first builders to begin constructing homes in far-east Meridian Ranch. Today, the builder is constructing homes at multiple price points ranging from the low $200,000s to more than $500,000 in neighborhoods across the county, also including Promentory Pointe, Mountain Shadows, Antlers Ridge, Wolf Ranch, Banning Lewis Ranch, Carriages at Indigo Ranch, Indigo Ranch and Lorson Ranch.
Runners-up: Keller Homes, Challenger Homes.
Best Shoe Repairs
Bon Shoe Repair
No business suit or classic dress is complete without the right pair of shoes. And if your shoes have seen better days, don’t throw them out — take them to Bon Shoe Repair, the clear choice among CSBJ readers. Established in 1982, Bon Shoe Repair is located at 2929 N. Weber. From broken boot zippers to worn-out soles, Bon Shoe Repair can fix nearly any shoe problem.
Runners-up: West Side Boot and Shoe Repair, Andy’s Shoe Repair.
One of the largest banks in the nation has humble beginnings. It began when Henry Wells and William G. Fargo founded the bank in San Francisco in 1852. The full-service bank is much more than just that; it provides insurance, investment, retirement planning, wealth management, and commercial finance at more than 12,000 ATMs and 6,200 banking locations nationwide. Here in the El Paso County area, Wells Fargo has 20 bank and ATM locations, with the downtown office at 90 S. Cascade Ave. But you can also find branches in some supermarkets.
Runners-up: US Bank, First Bank.
Garden of the Gods
Not all business needs a stuffy conference room. Sometimes, a brisk walk in the fresh Colorado air finished off with a handshake is better for business than signed contracts. For those times, which might be increasingly common in the days of co-working facilities and jeans-clad telecommuters, the Garden of the Gods is the place to meet. With stunning red-rock formations, the scenery is inspiring and will get your creative juices flowing. Whether you want to hike dirt paths, mountain bike, ride horseback or stroll down a paved pathway as you talk business, you can do it with plenty of free parking, restrooms and picnic tables (just in case there is a contract to sign, after all).
Runners-up: Bear Creek Park, Garden of the Gods Club.
Best Credit Unions
Ent Federal Credit Union
Chartered in 1957 to serve military and civilian personnel assigned to Ent Air Force Base and Peterson Field, now Peterson Air Force Base, Ent is a community-chartered credit union. The company was named for Maj. Gen. Uzal Girard Ent, commander of the 9th Air Force during World War II. Ent offers membership to all who live, work, worship or attend school in El Paso, Teller, Pueblo and Denver counties or in zip codes 80010, 80012, 80018, and 80019, as well as those affiliated with Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
Runners-up: Air Academy Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union.
Central Bank & Trust
Central Bank & Trust earned our readers’ pick as best SBA lender the old-fashioned way — they loaned it. In 2012 the bank approved $11.3 million in SBA 7a loans — the most in dollar amount in El Paso County during the fiscal year. That’s one reason the bank was named to SBA’s preferred lender program, joining a small group of Colorado community banks allowed to process, close and liquidate most SBA-guaranteed loans without prior SBA review. It’s good for the bank, and even better for its customers. “SBA loans are a very specific type of lending, said CB&T president Gary Markle. “If the bank does not have the expertise in house, it can be a painful process to the borrower.”
Runners-up: Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Best Financial Advisers
Edward Jones Investments
Edward Jones Investments has 36 listed locations in the Colorado Springs area, including Manitou Springs, Monument, Palmer Lake and Woodland Park. Edward Jones’ goal is to help individuals reach their long-term financial goals. The company was founded in 1922 and is a full-service brokerage firm and private partnership, “a structure that we believe gives us the independence to make long-term decisions that are in the best interests of our clients and associates, without the pressures publicly traded companies face to meet short-term earnings forecasts,” the website says.
Runners-up: Northwestern Mutual — Colorado Springs, Pennica Financial Group.
Best Mortgage Lenders
Ent Federal Credit Union
Ent might be best known as a community-chartered credit union that provides a variety of services including car loans, but it also puts a high priority on its mortgage-lending operation. Ent offers special loan alternatives for college graduates, intended to help them develop the skill of paying off mortgage loans. There also are options for home-equity loans and lines of credit, with a full staff of consumer lenders available to help customers. Also, Ent prides itself in servicing most of its mortgage loans.
Runners-up: Peoples Mortgage Corp., US Bank Home Mortgage.
William Kurtz, Ltd.
Bill Kurtz has sold menswear from his current location at 10 E. Pikes Peak Ave. for nearly 20 years. You may not be familiar with his store if your normal business attire consists of a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. But if you wear a suit, you know Bill. As one new customer wrote in an online review, “When I walked in, the owner, William ‘Bill’ Kurtz greeted me at the door. He had an air about him, as if he was welcoming me into his own home…” Once you buy a suit from Kurtz, you’re hooked. You realize that a good suit coupled with a well-fitting shirt and an appropriate tie makes you look like the successful guy you’ve always been.
Runners-up: Rutledge’s, Dillards.
Best Title Companies
Land Title Guarantee Company
Founded in Denver in 1967, Land Title currently has 50 offices statewide. The company’s Colorado roots and long history in Colorado Springs offer comfort and security to all parties in real estate transactions large and small. Local expertise can be particularly important when dealing with property-specific elements of a transaction, such as water rights, taxes and HOAs. And when you’re sitting at the closing table, it’s nice to know that Land Title’s representative is a professional closer with years of experience who has likely been with the company for many years.
Runners-up: Unified Title Company LLC, Empire Title of Colorado Springs LLC.
Blue Fox Photography — Wendy Nelson
Wendy Pearce Nelson founded Blue Fox Photography in Colorado Springs 25 years ago. It was small, intimate and personal then — and it still is. “Tea in the kitchen, kids and dogs playing, friends working side by side, ours is a very familiar setting,” Nelson writes on her website. “We want you to feel right at home and that’s where the photo magic begins.” Nelson is a superbly competent event photographer, but she specializes in family photography. Subtle and artful, her work is suffused with warmth and humanity. And if you’re a Black Forest resident affected by the fire and lost photos that she took years ago, she’ll replace them without charge.
Runners-up: Shannon Coker Photography, Cayton Photogaphy.
Picnic Basket Catering
The Picnic Basket Catering Co. began in 1989 when two friends combined their passion for food and their quest for adventure and opened the door to an innovative yet affordable catering alternative in Colorado Springs. Co-owners Michelle Talarico and Kathy Dreiling could hardly have imagined that their little dream would have evolved into one of Colorado’s largest and most successful catering companies. Today, Picnic Basket provides affordable, portable feasts for all kinds of clients, from “boxless” lunches to VIP events, lunch for the boardroom or platters for the baby shower. The Picnic Basket is there, when you have more taste than time.
Runners-up: Cravings Catering, Buffalo Gals Grilling, Garden of the Gods Gourmet, The Pinery Catering, Flying W Ranch.
Best Graphic Designers
Allegra Colorado Springs
Far beyond just putting ink onto paper, Allegra Colorado Springs offers full-service printing expertise combined with marketing know-how. Services include graphic design, full color printing, copying, one-to-one marketing, direct mail and signs. Allegra says its job is to make you look good on paper. Quality printing can help your business make a lasting impression on your customers and clients. Whether it’s business cards, brochures, or banners, Allegra has the solution for printing needs. It provides people and businesses with a full array of services, customized to meet their print and graphics communications goals — from quick copy jobs, to design and consultation, to total solutions.
Runners-up: CoPilot Creative, Crystal Peak Design.
Best Office Furniture Companies
Providing office furniture in Colorado and Wyoming since 1951, OfficeScapes was recognized as the market leader in the Denver Business Journal with annual sales of $123 million. The company, which has offices in Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins, was named to the INC 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2007. And according to the company’s website, its recognition as the DBJ’s top place to work is echoed by its customers: 9.5 out of 10 customers would recommend OfficeScapes.
Runners-up: Rhino Office Products Inc., Business Furniture Systems.
Rhino Office Products, Inc.
Rhino Office Products, committed to 100 percent customer satisfaction, makes its mission clear on its website: “We do all we can to exceed your expectations.” Rhino offers a full assortment of environmentally friendly options for paper products, break-room supplies, toner cartridges, cleaning products and more. The company also is committed to providing choices to help protect the environment. Rhino offers more than 35,000 items for free next-day delivery.
Runners-up: Total Office Solutions, Bircham’s.
Best Internet Service Providers
Springs Hosting is a solutions-oriented company focusing on delivering flexible technology for today’s business. As an information-technology service provider, the company provides co-location, dedicated servers, web and email hosting, VOIP systems, continuous backup protection and related Data Center services. Springs Hosting employs talented engineers, provides Tier 1 Fiber delivered bandwidth and a service to help clients deliver their online presence. Springs Hosting has partnered with several top-name companies to deliver “best of breed” technologies to businesses in Colorado Springs.
Runners-up: Comcast, Qwest/CenturyLink.
Best Staffing Firms
ADD STAFF, Inc.
For nearly three decades, ADD STAFF has set a standard of excellence for staffing in Southern Colorado. Originally founded as an administrative and accounting staffing service, ADD STAFF has continued to anticipate, recognize and meet its clients’ staffing needs. The company currently consists of 14 staffing professionals who serve clients throughout the region with a combined 200-plus years of experience in the staffing industry and/or human resources experience. The company works to match qualified employees with the urgent personnel needs of client companies, whether for one day or the long term.
Runners-up: Goodwill Staffing, Corporate Resource Services.
Best Telecommunications Equipment and Services
CenturyLink, an S&P 500 company, is included among the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. The telecommunications company is the nation’s third-largest and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers. CenturyLink provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber-optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers in Colorado Springs.
Runners-up: Springs Hosting, Comcast.
Best Retirement/Assisted Living Facilities
MacKenzie Place offers something for everyone looking for a retirement home. For those 55 and older, The Cottages offer a chance to buy a home with access to campus amenities. Apartments, called The Terrace, are available for lease. And for those who need assistance, the Arbours are the organization’s assisted living and memory care apartments. MacKenzie Place features resort-style living in all three levels of care.
Runners-up: Palisades at Broadmoor Park, Brookdale Village.
Best IT Computer Support Companies
Springs Hosting is a different kind of information technology company. The local business owns everything the company touches — the racks, servers, switches, UPS. They own their building and their parking lot. Since its inception, Springs Hosting has invested its profit into its growth — making sure it’s both profitable and debt-free. The company’s website shows why they were chosen: 96 percent favorable customer ratings, 52 percent savings for their customers over other companies and 98 percent customer retention.
Runners-up: Colorado Computer Support, Amnet.
Best Website Development Companies
Infront Webworks, Inc.
Infront is a small company that builds websites that work. Its staff works for the user and for the client, helping companies develop solutions for their needs in building an online presence and using the Internet to their maximum advantage. Infront’s team pursues the philosophy of building positive client relationships because the web development process — from conceptualization to launch to promotion — has become too complex for one person to master. Each team member has defined responsibilities upon which the rest of the team relies. The result is a product that reflects the efforts of highly skilled professionals who take great pride in their work.
Runners-up: 720MEDIA, Crystal Peak Design Ltd., SANDIA.
Patty Jewett Golf Course
Patty Jewett Golf Course, just northeast of downtown Colorado Springs down a long, romantic tree-lined drive, provides sweeping views of Pikes Peak and a sort of old-world charm you can only find at one of the most historic golf courses in the country — and one of America’s top public courses. Built in 1898 by Willie Campbell, the municipally owned-and-operated course features both an 18-hole and nine-hole alternatives. Patty Jewett, the third-oldest public course west of the Mississippi River, has been city-owned since 1919.
Runners-up: Broadmoor Golf Club, Kissing Camels.
Best Networker in Town
Michael Pennica, owner and founder of Pennica Financial Group, networks “the old fashioned way.” Sure, he’s on Facebook, he says, “but I don’t use social networking to get clients.” He likes to meet people in person, get to know them and find out what they need and how he can help. That means he’s out in the community a lot, not just to meet new clients, but he also volunteers for a variety of organizations. A member of the Military Affairs Committee, the BBB Foundation board, the Discover Goodwill Board and deeply involved with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Pennica is always mingling. “Oh yeah, I’ve probably had enough rubber chicken for a lifetime,” he said.
Runner-up: Julie Richman.
Best Advertising and PR Firms
Vladimir Jones is one of Colorado’s biggest advertising firms, with more than $70 million in annual billings. The company is homegrown in Colorado Springs, started as PRACO by James and Nechie Hall in 1967. The firm, which counts among its clients everything from major energy companies like Xcel to local icons like the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, employs more than 80 people between Colorado Springs and its Denver office. The company credits its success to the truth, saying on its website: “We believe that there is a fundamental truth behind each success story, and our ability to discover and leverage that truth makes us a valuable partner.”
Runners-up: Blakely + Company, Graham Advertising, VI Marketing and Branding.
If you like your in-laws, The Broadmoor is the place to book them a room. Visiting royalty and countless presidents have rested their heads on Broadmoor pillows in the near-century since the stately, historic five-star resort opened in 1918. The longest-running winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards, it boasts a five-star spa and the Penrose Room, the state’s only five-diamond restaurant. Since Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz purchased the company that owns The Broadmoor in late 2011, the resort has started work on $90 million in renovations and improvements. Many of the upgrades, including new and expanded dining options, cater to bringing locals into the fold. Others, like the newly acquired and renovated Emerald Valley Ranch that offers overnight guests a luxurious alternative to “roughin’ it” in the woods, are meant for those visiting in-laws.
Runners-up: The Mining Exchange a Wyndham Grand Hotel, Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
Best Tourist Attractions
Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is the most visited attraction in the area. The center sits at the edge of the 1,323-acre registered National Natural Landmark, a city-owned park filled with amazing red rock formations standing out against the blues and purples of Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range. In addition to stunning views, the center features a state-of-the-art interactive exhibit, the world’s only Theophhytalia Kerri fossil discovered in the park in 1878 and a 14-minute multimedia show titled, “How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?” Once visitors have seen the sights and learned a bit about the Pikes Peak region, they can shop for souvenirs in the center’s expansive gift shop.
Runners-up: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Pikes Peak — America’s Mountain.
Best Residential Property Managers
All Seasons LLC
All Seasons LLC got its start during hard times for the real estate industry in 1986 and prospered through that period — and many others — in the 27 years since. The small residential property management company doesn’t think small. It has five licensed property managers on staff and balances the needs of tenants and property owners in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Pueblo, Canon City and Florence. “We care about our customers and place special emphasis on your individual needs,” say company founders Carolyn and Matt Rogers on their website. The company has maintained an impressive 3 percent average vacancy rate for years, but announced in 2012 that it achieved a 0 percent vacancy rate in the properties it represents.
Runners-up: Griffis/Blessing, Rusinak Real Estate.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been at the heart of the city’s art scene since it was established in 1936. In addition to bringing works and collections from internationally renowned artists for display, it has prominently featured local and regional artists. The FAC’s collections can transport visitors around the world to see ancient and historic works from the far reaches of the globe while imbuing them with a sense of pride in their local arts culture. A 2007 expansion designed by nationally recognized architect David Owen Tryba made the now 132,000-square-foot facility into a gathering place and center for community events. In 2009, the center commissioned famous mural artist Eric Bransby to create a 5-by-27-foot work for its 75th anniversary, forever transforming the museum’s glass hallway.
Runners-up: Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Garden of the Gods Trading Post — Art Gallery.
Best Place to Work
Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado
Discover Goodwill offers a nonprofit option to donate your clothing, housewares, furniture, computers, cars and other items, but that’s only part of the story. Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado is much more than thrift stores and donation centers, offering job training and other services to help people with disabilities or disadvantages achieve individual success. Through Goodwill, job seekers, individuals with special needs, families, seniors and others gain self-esteem and become independent, self-sufficient citizens. Donations to Goodwill will help people with special needs find employment and independence.
Runners-up: Griffis/Blessing Inc., GE Johnson Construction Company.
Best Business with Social Media Presence
Pennica Financial Group
Pennica Financial Group is an independent Colorado Springs financial services company that serves many states. Founded in late 1993 in Colorado Springs and incorporated in 2000, PFG has grown with the help of its loyal clients and advisers. Pennica Financial Group now has clients throughout the United States and other affiliate locations. On the website, there is Cramer’s Corner, a blog for animal lovers written by a poodle service dog named Cramer, and a blog written to people interested in their finances. You can also hear Michael Pennica’s radio interviews in full on the website.
Runners-up: Colorado Springs Utilities, 720MEDIA.
Best Real Estate Brokers — Residential
RE/MAX Properties, Inc.
Joe Clement moved from Illinois to open a Re/Max real estate franchise in Colorado Springs in 1986. “My dream was to have one office and 32 people,” he said. Today, RE/MAX Properties employs roughly 200 agents and support staff and holds 14.77 percent of the market share, nearly double any other single brokerage. “We did it by attracting and keeping great real estate professionals with us year after year,” Clement said. In 2012, the company closed 3,295 home sales in the Pikes Peak region, an average of nine homes a day. The total dollar value of the property transactions RE/MAX Properties oversaw in 2012 was almost $744 million. Clement will soon open a new 4,700-square-foot office downtown at 102 S. Tejon St. “I’m doing it because I believe in downtown and I believe the future is great for downtown,” he said. “We’re going to be right in the thick of things there.”
Runners-up: ERA Shields, The Platinum Group Realtors.
Griffis/Blessing manages commercial real estate assets valued in excess of $600 million and employs 175 people between its Colorado Springs headquarters and its Denver office. The company has come a long way in the years since Buck Blessing and friend Ian Griffis founded it during their senior year at Colorado College in 1985. “We scraped money together from a few fellow students and bought a small house near the campus, renovated it, and leased it to some friends,” Blessing said in a 2011 CSBJ interview. Today, the company manages more then 7 million square feet of commercial space, including multi-family, office, retail and industrial buildings. The company also owns properties, and still brings investors together to buy promising properties. Griffis/Blessing is an Accredited Management Organization, a coveted distinction from the Institute of Real Estate Management, bestowed on just 6 percent of all management companies in the country.
Runners-up: Olive Real Estate Management Services, Quantum Commercial Group.
Mark Copelin, OfficeScapes
Mark Copelin has earned the loyalty and praise of his boss in his years as salesperson at Office Scapes. “I would walk over hot coals for him,” said Peter Husak, owner and CEO of Office Scapes, the area’s largest supplier of commercial furniture. Copelin has worked there some 30 years and is “unbelievably dedicated, unbelievably good, just the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet,” Husak said. The store has three divisions: commercial, government and K-12, and Copelin directs the commercial division. “He has a great balance between work and play. He is a community guy, a family guy; he is well-respected in the community,” Husak said.
Runners-up: Kevin Kaveney, CLTC, Northwestern Mutual; Suzi Adamson, All Seasons LLC.
Hoff & Leigh
Hoff & Leigh has been focusing on the local commercial real estate market since Bob Hoff and Tim Leigh founded the brokerage in 1987. “Our focus on local property owners and tenants gives us a niche that national commercial real estate firms have not recognized as a source of big business,” according to the firm’s website. When Leigh served on Colorado Springs City Council, his daughter and son-in-law Holly and R.D. Trinidad began taking over leadership, expanding the firm. In addition to a long-standing office in Akron, Ohio, Hoff & Leigh has opened new franchises is Castle Rock, Salt Lake City and Tucson, Ariz. “We’re talking very seriously with Albuquerque and we’re in serious discussions with some people in Boise, Idaho,” Holly Trinidad told the CSBJ in May.
Runners-up: Nor’wood Development Group, Olive Real Estate Group.
Best TV Station to Get the News
KOAA News First 5
KOAA TV has earned Station of the Year honors by the Colorado Broadcasters Association 18 times and routinely wins awards from the Associated Press. Recently, the station received the Edward R. Morrow award for investigative reporting for the second consecutive year and won 2012 Colorado Broadcasters awards for best investigative reporting, best regularly scheduled newscast, best website, best community affairs campaign, best station promo and best news special for “fire on the mountain.” The station has served the Colorado Springs market as an NBC affiliate since 1953. This year, KOAA celebrated its 60th year on the air in part by purchasing a 25,000 square foot building and expanding its studio and employee operations. It now has two fully operational production facilities (Colorado Springs and Pueblo).
Runners-up: KRDO News Channel 13, KKTV Channel 11
Best Radio Station to Get the News (AM or FM)
KRDO 105.5 FM/ 1240 AM
KRDO News Radio broadcasts four straight hours of live, local sustained news and weather during the morning rush hour and features the area’s only noon news simulcast with its television station, News Channel 13. The station provides news, weather, sports, the latest updates and other content in a variety of formats to suit today’s modern device owners. Listeners can tune in on both AM (1240) and FM (105.5) settings and get the same content at KRDO.com and at the KRDO facebook page.
Runners-up: KVOR 740 AM, KRCC 91.5
Best Golf Tournament (including fundraisers)
Northwestern Mutual Rocky Mountain Charitable Golf Tournament — Benefiting Citizen Soldier Connection
More than 50 corporate entities sponsored the 2012 tournament hosted by the Broadmoor Golf Club. Earnings benefit the Citizen Soldier Connection, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to the soldiers and military families stationed at Ft. Carson. Participants get a chance to play one of the world renowned Broadmoor golf courses, they’re treated to complimentary wine, beer and Hors d’oeuvres at pre-tournament reception/auction on site. This year’s event is slated for July 12, again at the Broadmoor.
Runners-up: Infinity Wounded Warrior Project Charity Golf Tournament at The Club Flying Horse, St. Paul Community Outreach Center Golf Tournament, Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs PAC Golf Tournament.
Best Engineering Firms
CH2M Hill, Inc.
Tens of thousands work for the employee-owned multinational CH2M Hill in locations from Buenos Aires to Colorado Springs. Since its founding in Denver in 1946, CH2M Hill has provided full-service engineering, construction and operations across the country. Colorado projects include decommissioning the Rocky Flats plutonium processing plant, which the company completed 60 years earlier than projected and at a cost $29 billion less than government estimates. That’s a telling indicator of the company’s reach and competence, which led Colorado Springs Utilities to select it to provide project management and design services for the billion-dollar Southern Delivery System. CH2M Hill also supervised the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX).
Runners-up: RMG Engineers Group, Matrix Design Group.
Intelligent Software Solutions Inc.
Repeatedly named one of the fastest-growing firms in the country by both Deloitte & Touche and Inc. Magazine, Intelligent Software Solutions is headquartered in the Springs, with offices in Virginia, New York, Florida and Washington, D.C.
The company provides cutting-edge solutions based on the latest advances in software design and integration. It has developed sophisticated event analysis, pattern detection, mission planning and mobile software for a variety of clients — and has workers in locations as far away as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Runners-up: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman.