Everything I know about business, I learned from my family — from a number of patriarchs in business whose entrepreneurial offspring spawned even more businesses, created hundreds of jobs and kept people working even during the most severe downturn since the Great Depression.
My brother runs a company; so does my sister. My father and uncles all run their own businesses. And they owe their entrepreneurial success to my grandfather, Robert W. Gillentine Sr.
While my grandfather died earlier this month, his legacy lives on through the business skills he taught others. My grandfather’s business spawned my father’s, R.W. Gillentine Construction; and my uncles’ — John Gillentine Architecture and Construction, and Joe Gillentine Painting and Construction. The third generation launched William Gillentine Construction. Maybe my brother’s kids — or my own — will make it four generations of entrepreneurs.
My sister’s business, Rice Rehab, is an occupational therapy company that assists employers with workers compensation claims, finding new jobs for people hurt at work.
My grandfather started working in construction just after World War II, and he put a hammer in my father’s hands at the age of 5. My dad remembers nailing together a wooden chair on the construction site and taking it home — and he used that same design to make rocking chairs for his grandchildren many decades later.
My grandfather taught him never to cut corners, never be afraid to take risks and always treat people fairly. He never hesitated to train people in the craft he loved — and he brought success to many in a challenging industry that can be buffeted by economic pressures outside any single individual’s control.
What I learned from my father, brother, uncle and grandfather — always be fair, always treat people well, always do your best. And always, work hard.
Here at the Business Journal, we believe in providing those same values to businesses large and small in the Pikes Peak region. We strive to be a reflection of the business community, to provide the kind of news that helps people make wise business decisions, to point out overreach in government regulation — and to point out when government regulations fail to protect businesses and the public.
We’ll always ask for transparency in government — if not in business. We understand that business deals are made in secret because business owners are taking risks with their own assets as well as the livelihood of others.
Governments aren’t businesses. Their assets belong to the taxpayers — and so does the risk.
We strive to be a reflection of the business community, to provide the kind of news that helps people make wise business decisions.
If governments were just like businesses, the Fourth Estate would play a much different role. But newspapers have a sacred responsibility to their readers to serve as an unofficial balance to keep the government from wielding power without repercussions. It’s one reason the First Amendment prohibits Congress from placing restrictions on the press — newspapers serve as the watchdogs of government, and that’s the way the Founders wanted it.
Colorado Springs is not a business, and being a business-friendly city doesn’t mean selling or trading away public assets in secret, presenting agreements as finished deals. Everyone should know what’s at stake in the negotiations so they can model their businesses’ future accordingly.
The small business that is operating on the thinnest of margins should know its water rates won’t increase because CSU might sell or trade water to a larger, more successful business. Developers need to know that codes won’t be changed to make it more difficult to build homes or subdivisions. It shouldn’t take a year to get plans for new commercial development through all the government channels.
Small business owners need a voice and need to know about changes at the local, state and national level that could affect their business model. The CSBJ seeks to be that voice.
We also want to reflect the role of large corporations that make their home in Colorado Springs — the ones headquartered here and the ones that are here because of the military, the city’s emerging cybersecurity role or its workforce.
We’re always willing to hear the other side, and to give voice to it on our editorial pages. We encourage dialogue, and we want to serve as a springboard to continue the conversation — whether it’s about who’s leading Colorado Springs Utilities or the latest government regulations that affect the way you do business.
Our goal: to be fair and responsible, to provide business news and shine a light on the successes — and the failures — of the local business community. We can’t do it without you. Community journalism requires the support of the community. We invite you to partner with the Business Journal as we strive to be the best business resource for the Pikes Peak region.