Family-owned companies are at the core of the Colorado Springs business community.

In 2004, Dean Steward decided to retire from his position as CEO and chairman of Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc., a company his father started in 1947, putting the family tradition in jeopardy. But that’s when his daughter Kelly Eustace and her husband Bill stepped in to carry on for a third generation.

“I have watched in awe as she has successfully run a $60 million construction company, raised two talented kids and devoted time and resources to the community,” said Diane White of Tulsa, Okla., who has known Eustace 25 years. “And she has done it all with grace and style. She’s an inspiration to me and to women everywhere.”

In 2005, Eustace became COO and chairwoman of the company after working for her father since 1990.

She had previously worked at the company during high school before attending and graduating from the University of Denver with degrees in finance and marketing and going to work in the banking industry.

In the time between her return to the company and her father’s retirement, Eustace did it all — she became somewhat of a “Jill-of-all-trades” within the 300-400-person organization — and really came to identify with HPE’s motto: “Honest performance every day.”

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Since she and her husband purchased the business, they continue to carry on in the family’s footsteps — treating their employees with dignity and helping them develop professionally through training and apprenticeship programs.

“Professionally, I think my greatest accomplishment is being able to help my trades workers understand the value of being a solid leader-manger,” she said of helping her employees realize what leadership skills they may have.

When she isn’t working, Eustace enjoys spending time with her sons (ages 17 and 19), her husband and her eight cats and dogs. She is active in her younger son’s Boy Scout troop, having served three years as advancement chair and an adviser for the past two years. She is also on the board of trustees for the Fountain Valley School of Colorado and is a member of the National Association for Women in Colorado.

She said her preeminent personal accomplishment has been raising her two boys.

“They’re kind, and they’re compassionate and they understand what it means to be a solid servant leader,” she said. “I think both my children have accomplished a lot, and they’re hard working, but they’re also kind and respectful. That’s all I really wanted for them. … I’m very proud of both of them, and they inspire me every day.”

— Cameron Moix