Best of – 2010


Best Minority Business Leader

Wendel Torres

Formerly CEO of Colorado Springs-based Torix General Contractors, Torres has been responsible for pulling dozens of buildings out of the ground in Colorado Springs and in a dozen other cities.

Torres has had a distinguished career as a businessman and community leader.

He was recently named a member of the National Advisory Council to the Small Business Administration. The council consists of small-business owners who advise the SBA, Congress and the president on small-business issues.

Eight years ago, Torres was named small business person of the year by the SBA for the entire six-state northern plains and mountain states area.

While CEO of Torix, Torres built the company from three employees to more than 100, along the way doing work for Schriever Air Force Base, Fort Carson, and the municipal airport.

An ardent volunteer, Torres has served on the boards of Rocky Mountain PBS, Goodwill and the Children’s Literacy Center.

Runners-up: Lynette Crow, Tie: Lionel Rivera, James Stewart

Best Minority-Owned Business


Conspire! is a Colorado Springs company that provides on and off-site drug testing and compliance services.

CEO Lynette Crow has long believed that effective drug screening is absolutely essential for reducing absenteeism, workplace injuries and conflict in the workplace. Having introduced drug testing as an add-on service in the occupational medicine clinic that she was managing during 2004, Crow began to understand the bottom-line benefits of such testing.

Conspire!, says Crow, “is built on the fundamental values that permeate all aspects of our business. We believe life is valuable, decisions can be difficult and choices should be easy. Our mission is to provide a total testing solution that directly improves the quality of life for all by lessening the abuse of drugs and alcohol in society.”

Runners-Up: El Taco Rey, Three-way tie: Tepa, Mushroom Monday, Monica’s Taco Shop

Best Business Leader

Greg Von Berg

Greg Von Berg has been the Managing Principal of Waddell & Reed’s Colorado Springs office for the last seven years. He’s the author of “Are There Cracks in your Nest-Egg?” a brief and purposeful tome about planning your financial future.

“Most books about financial planning end up half-read,” he said. “We may have great intentions, but the books we buy become colorful coasters for our coffee cups. We don’t have a shortage of material on the subject — we have a shortage of follow-through.”

In an interview with the Business Journal last year, Von Berg was concise and remarkably prescient.

“Quite frankly, we need to quit panicking and get back to the basics,” he said. “The Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ is two symbols — one for danger and one for opportunity.”

“Emotions and visceral reactions are the worst enemies of planning,” he continued, “and the only way to become financially secure is to spend less than you make and save and invest the rest — consistently — each month, no matter what else you would prefer to do with the money. Pay yourself first each month. Consider savings a fixed expense.”

‘Budget’ does not have to be a dirty word,” he wrote in his book. “Sure, it’s not as melodious as the words vacation or retirement, but it has the power to transform lives.”

Runners-up: Margaret Sabin, Chris Blees

Best Local Politician

Jan Martin

Jan Martin was elected to an at-large seat on the Colorado Springs city council in April 2007.

As the only woman on council and arguably the most liberal of its nine members, she occupies a unique position. She has been a forceful advocate for the moderate, consensual policies that once guided the city.

Last year, she joined former council member Mary Ellen McNally in a passionate attempt to persuade tax-averse Colorado Springs voters to approve a city property tax increase. Voters refused to do so, exacerbating the city’s ongoing fiscal crisis.

Prior to serving on council, Martin served on multiple boards and commissions. She was president of the Ronald McDonald House, vice president of the Pioneers Museum Foundation and served on the boards of Citizen Project and the Downtown Partnership. In addition, she was a member of the City’s Charter Review Committee

A Colorado Springs native, Martin graduated from University of Northern Colorado and received an MBA in finance from Regis University. She is the owner of the Martin Business Group which specializes in information systems and business training for local organizations. She is also a part time instructor in the online MBA program at the University of Phoenix.

Runners-up: Tim Leigh, Lionel Rivera

Best Woman Business Leader

Noreen Landis-Tyson

Noreen Landis-Tyson has worked for the Community Partnership for Child development since 1991, and has served as the organization’s CEO since 2001. She has been a tireless and remarkably effective champion for early childhood services both in Colorado Springs and throughout the state.

Landis-Tyson leads a team of 355 full and part-time employees. The organization provides 1,900 children living in poverty with early childhood education through Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Colorado Preschool Program.

In addition, CPCD provides health, dental and family support services to its clients.

Lanis-Tyson has recently served on state and national committees that address early childhood services and issues associated with poverty. She was named a “Woman of Influence” by the Business Journal in 2006 and received the Vernon F. Jordan Community Leadership Award in 2007.

A 2006 graduate of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Landis-Tyson is also an international cycling official at USA Cycling.

She graduated from Westminster College in Pennsylvania and received an MBA from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Runners-up: Margaret Sabin, Cari Shaffer

Best Women Owned Business

Add Staff

Add Staff was founded 26 years ago by Cari Shaffer to provide companies with high-level employees for temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire staffing needs.

Originally specializing in administrative and accounting staffing needs, Add Staff has since expanded and broadened its horizons. In the 1990s the company acquired Contract Technical Services, Inc. and began to provide technical staffing services to its clients. The company now offers it services to the defense, aerospace, information technology, engineering, human resources and light assembly/manufacturing industries.

Add Staff now employs 18 professionals who provide service to clients throughout the Pikes Peak region. The team has a combined total of over 200 years of experience in the staffing industry and/or human resources experience. Their job: match qualified employees with the urgent personnel needs of client companies.

Shaffer started the business as a way to channel her interests in matchmaking and making connections. In its 26 years, the company has employed well over 50,000 people. And not all of those are temporary assignments — in fact, the company makes three times as many permanent placements as temporary jobs.

A perennial ‘Best Of’ winner, Add Staff has garnered many other awards, including being named ‘Business of the Year’ by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

A tireless volunteer and community activist, Shaffer has served on the boards of the Chamber, Goodwill and the YMCA.

Runners-up: Service Engineering, Tie: Sales Department, Vladimir Jones

Best Place to Work

Small Company With Less Than 15 Employees

Service Engineering. LLC

Founded in 1979, Service Engineering has provided affordable heating and air conditioning systems to both businesses and residences.

The company has long prided itself upon its customer-centric policies.

Such polices include 24-hour availability, screened and uniformed service technicians who are required to “park the service vehicle where it is readily visible to help you identify who is at your door,” and adhere to “strict personal appearance guidelines for all our service personnel.”

In addition, the company pledges to provide “floor protection shoe covers, drop clothes, vacuum cleaners, and other cleaning products necessary to provide a clean working environment. Our service technicians are trained to leave your property cleaner than when they arrived.”

The company’s web site features dozens of testimonials from satisfied customers.

Jan M. wrote that “We have been with Service Engineering for many years — reliable, pleasant and have received excellent service,” a sentiment echoed by the CEO of a local bank, who said that “We have been most pleased with the service provided by Service Engineering and we would recommend them to any business or company for their heating or cooling needs.”

Runners-Up: Conspire!, Amnet

Best Place to Work

Mid-Sized Company 16-50 Employees

Waddell & Reed

Founded in 1937, Waddell & Reed has a very long perspective, especially among asset management firms. That longevity and corresponding institutional memory may be one of the reasons that the family of mutual funds sponsored by the company has been consistently successful.

Waddell & Reed manages more than $60 billion in client assets from 200 offices nationally and employs roughly 2,500 financial advisers.

Last year, Lipper cited the fund group’s “reliably solid, risk-adjusted performance” in naming it the best overall fund family in the small firm category (those with less than $28 billion under management).

Denise DeLeo, a senior financial planner at Waddell & Reed, spoke to the Business Journal during 2008 about her job, and about the company’s philosophy.

“As more and more baby boomers retire,” she said, “their priorities are changing from wealth accumulation to wealth management through their golden years. Those retirees who practice sound financial planning practices look forward to a financially comfortable lifestyle. Other retirees, who for various reasons did not plan soundly for retirement, are faced with the realities of a significant change in lifestyle. My responsibility is to assist my clients with dealing with and facing their realities vs. expectations.”

Runners-up: BiggsKofford, USA Triathlon

Best Place to Work

Large Company over 50 Employees

Penrose-St. Francis Health Systems

St. Francis Health Center, formerly St. Francis Hospital, was the first hospital in Colorado Springs. Established in 1887, the hospital began as a treatment clinic for injured railroad workers who were involved in the construction of the Midland Railroad’s Colorado Springs to Leadville Line.

Four Sisters of St. Francis served as nurses at the makeshift facility. Within a year, they raised $20,000 by soliciting from door to door in Colorado Springs, which funded the construction of the original St. Francis Hospital.

Today, Penrose-St. Francis Health Systems operates two acute care hospitals in Colorado Springs. Sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), the system is part of one of the largest faith-based non-profit health care systems in the United States.

With 2,520 employees, 781 affiliated physicians and 522 beds, the hospital system is one of the region’s largest employers.

Employee perks and benefits are extensive and generous.

All employees are eligible for tuition reimbursement programs, which provide up to $2,500 annually. Employees have access to free 24-hour wellness centers at both hospitals, as well as employee discounts at on-site pharmacies.

Most full and part-time employees are eligible for an array of medical and retirement benefits, including medical, vision and dental plans, paid time off, employer paid life insurance, short and long — term disability plans, and an employer-funded 401 (a) pension plan.

Runners up: Ent Federal Credit Union, Tie: Griffis/Blessing, Community Partnership for Child Development

Best Restaurant

The Famous

Among downtown cognoscenti, The Famous is famous not only for its steaks and seafood, but for Friday evenings at its horseshoe bar. Chances are that you’ll run into someone you know, or recognize or would like to meet. It’s a civilized, convivial atmosphere, deliberately reminiscent of urban steakhouses during the 40’s and 50’s. It’s all there, except for the cigarette smoke curling up to the ceiling and the sultry blues singer at the piano bar.

Owners Tony Leahy and Cindy Gough are always on hand to greet regulars and introduce themselves to newcomers. The service is swift and unobtrusive, the steaks superb and the prices correspond to the quality.

Those who have dined there rave about it online.

One diner wrote “…The Famous is a magnet for beefeaters, serving up choice cuts of U.S. Prime. It’s hard to go wrong here, but bring an appetite: Except for two filets, no steak is less than a pound…The lunch menu is similarly carnivorous, with a few salads for good measure. There are shiny booths and jet-black tables, as well as a full bar and live piano every night.”

Another reviewer described her strategy for reducing the tab.

“The food here is wonderful, however, we usually can’t afford to have a meal here. What we can afford is to eat in the bar. The wine list is very good and we’ll order the beef sirloin tips and their steak fries. Doing it this way is very affordable and we can still have the wonderful beef and their amazing fries.”

Runners up: Blue Star, Caspian Café

Best Landscape Company

Timberline Landscaping

Founded in 1982, Timberline Landscaping is a full-service residential commercial landscape company, equipped to take on both large commercial projects and custom residential jobs.

Timberline’s staff has a combined total of more than 100 years in the industry. The company creates and maintains some of the most visible landscaping projects in Colorado Springs.

The company’s website features testimonials from many satisfied customers. Doris Wall, a property manager for Griffis-Blessing wrote:

“We wanted to let you know that Timberline Commercial Landscaping did a really nice job this past season maintaining the Colorado Springs Family Practice & Endoscopy/Gastro buildings. The owners were very happy. We had a lot of positive feedback that the properties really looked great. Kudos to Timberline!”

Timberline’s resources include a nursery in southeastern Colorado Springs with a full stock of trees, ornamental shrubs, perennials and annuals, giving the company an unusual degree of flexibility and quality control.

And what do landscape companies do in the winter? Many essentially close up shop, but not Timberline. The company is one of the city’s largest snow removal contractors, and also puts up, maintains, and takes down holiday lighting displays.

Runners-up: Masterpiece Landscaping, Hiners Landscaping

Best Trucking/Freight Company

United Parcel Service (UPS)

United Parcel Service is the world’s largest package delivery company. UPS delivers more than 15 million packages a day to 6.1 million customers in more than 120 countries around the world.

The company was founded during 1907 by 19 year-old Jim Casey in Seattle with the aid of a $100 loan from a family friend. Casey led the company for the next 55 years, retiring in 1962.

The first UPS delivery truck was a 1913 Model T Ford. According to company legend, Casey wanted to paint it yellow, but one his associates persuaded him to paint it brown, arguing that it would be easier to keep clean. From that first Model T, the UPS fleet has expanded to more than 88,000 iconic parcel delivery vans, all painted “Pullman Brown.”

In Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, 11 UPS stores offer packing services, mailbox and postal services, and the ability to ship “everything from letters to surfboards.” Whether any Business Journal readers have shipped their surfboards via UPS is unknown; but, judging from their votes, they’ve shipped almost everything else.

Runners-up: Bennetts/FedEx/Meyers Trucking

Best Mechanical Contractor

Service Engineering, LLC

Founded in Colorado Springs in 1979, Service Engineering offers commercial and residential sales and service for air conditioners, furnaces and plethora of other indoor heating and cooling products ranging from boilers, humidifiers, evaporative coolers and home ventilators to dehumidifiers, hybrid heat equipment, water heaters and water purification systems.

Its service department hosts a fleet of vehicles and repairmen, and its crews can offer everything from complete system installation to scheduled maintenance and emergency repairs.

The company says each of its service vans carry more than 10,000 heating, ventilation and air conditioning service parts, meaning customers shouldn’t hear that their needed parts will have to be ordered.

Service Engineering’s web site offers visitors tips for improving the efficiency of their home and office HVAC systems and assists visitors in making decisions about repairs, product options and what to look for when choosing a repairman.

Runners up: Olson Plumbing and Heating Co., Heating and Plumbing Engineers

Best Waste/Recycle Company

Best Way Disposal

Planet-friendly minded folks in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Fountain Valley need not bother with separating their recyclable materials — if they’re Bestway customers.

As part of its Way Green program, the company offers single-stream recycling, allowing customers to collect their recyclables in one container, which is then picked up and sorted by Bestway.

Edward Kiemel founded the company in Chicago during 1927 with one simple truck covered by wooden planks and chicken wire. His family has kept the business going for more than 70 years, repositioning the business to Colorado Springs during 1950.

In 1967, the Kiemel family operated Bestway with three trucks and a few hundred customers here. Today, the company operates with dozens of trucks, more than 50 certified drivers, and state of the art solid waste and recycling facilities.

It offers a variety of services including waste and recycling services, portable restrooms and landscaping materials.

Runners up: Waste Management, Inc., Waste Connections, Inc.

Best Photography Service

Blue Fox Photography

When Wendy Pierce Nelson opened Blue Fox Photography more than 20 years ago, she strived to create a casual atmosphere for prospective clients. What better way, she thought, to capture the essence of a person on film.

Opened in 1987, her studio offers portrait, weddings, executive portraits and special event photography.

She holds a journalism degree from the University of Vermont, but her web site doesn’t bother listing her biography. Instead it’s loaded full of photographs, testimonials and brief personal snippets.

Her work over the past two decades has brought many honors, recognition and returning clients, but she’s not one to place heavy emphasis on awards. She continues to develop her craft and knowledge, attending seminars, workshops and associations.

No one can claim her art is abstract either. She believes the true measure of meaningful art is her client’s love for it.

Runners up: Silverstone Studios, Inc., Waldrons Photography

Best Business Consulting Firm

Janna Hoiberg, ActionCoach

Most elite athletes, business legends and performing superstars surround themselves with coaches and advisors, it’s one of the reasons they’re successful and continue to reach new heights.

According to Janna Hoiberg, a coach can see the forest through the trees, make you focus on your game, make you run more laps than you feel like, tell it like it is, provide you with invaluable business advice — and simply listen.

As an experienced Vice President, Director of Marketing and General Manager in businesses ranging from start up ventures to large organizations, Hoiberg has helped businesses grow amid dynamic times.

Hoiberg works with clients in four key areas: sales, marketing and advertising; team building and recruitment; systems and business development, and customer service.

She continues to adapt to the changing business environment as she has recently began focusing on helping clients benefit from social media.

Runners up: BiggsKofford, Stockman, Kast, Ryan & Co.

Best Staffing Service

Add Staff

President Cari Shaffer originally founded Add Staff as an administrative and accounting staff service in 1984. The company expanded to include technical staffing services when it acquired Contract Technical Services Inc. in 1992.

Add Staff specializes in accounting, technical, administrative, information technology, engineering human resources, purchasing, executive search and medical/dental segments.

Its long standing presence in the community and reputation for providing first-rate staffing solutions for more than 25 years has helped Add Staff develop loyal, repeat customers, who have continued to refer new customers and clients to the company over the years.

Shaffer and her staff are also active members in many community organizations including military, civic and commerce oriented entities, demonstrating their commitment to helping create a successful atmosphere for employers and employees in the Pikes Peak area.

Runners up: AccountAbilities, Apprentice Personnel, Goodwill Staffing

Best Executive Search Firm

Add Staff

Business owners and professionals who are searching for their company’s future leaders know how important it is to find a perfect match. Their business’s future success depends on it.

Add Staff’s success as an executive search firm has depended on its experienced in-house staffers since 1984. Company President Cari Shaffer has discovered the secret to retaining a quality staff because Add Staff’s 14 staffing professionals have over 200 years of combined experience and most have performed together with the company for more than a decade.

President and Founder Cari Shaffer opened Add Staff as an administrative and accounting staff service company, but expanded the business to include technical, defense, aerospace, information technology, engineering and human resources career fields over the past 26 years.

Runners up: Robert Half International, AccountAbilities

Best Office Furniture Dealer


Whether customers are looking for a single chair or a complete renovation for 1,000 cubicles, OfficeScapes provides a one-stop shopping destination.

OfficeScapes’ in-house designers can assist customers with making selections, it has its own installation staff and its own fleet of trucks. It is one of the largest companies of its kind and owns three subsidiaries: Floorz, which specializes in office flooring; Linx, a cable company that installs wiring for phone and data systems; and Audio Visual Network Solutions Inc., and audio visual company.

The company provides products and services to a multitude of military installations such as the Air Force Academy , Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson and also outfits school districts from Pueblo to Jackson, Wyo.

Founded in 1994, OfficeScapes is headquartered in Denver and also has an office in Fort Collins.

Runners up: American Furniture Warehouse, Office Depot

Best Moving Company

Two Men and a Truck

Jeff Walker and Eric St. Pierre have been good friends since middle school. Some 18 years ago they both caught the entrepreneurial bug. So after researching business opportunities and ideas, the Michigan natives decided the moving-company business might just work.

The two men bought a truck — and a franchise — then shed their flat-lander roots and moved to Colorado, where they started a Two Men and a Truck moving company.

“We could’ve ended up in Florida,” Walker said. “But while perusing through an almanac we noticed that Colorado Springs was ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for growth, business opportunities and climate. So we moved here.”

Walker grew up on a farm and his good friend St. Pierre was no stranger to manual labor either, so the business seemed like a good fit for both.

Luck was on their side as the early 90s proved to be a boom for the local housing market. By the end of their first year they had two trucks. Less than year later, they’d garnered two more. And they’ve added a truck a year ever since.

Today the pair of entrepreneurs has 19 trucks, 40 employees and a second location in Pueblo.

Ninety percent of the company’s business is local moves, both for housing and businesses, but Walker said Two Men And A Truck also offers storage boxes and packing services. Last year marked the first down year since its inception. Moving companies, after all, are intimately tied to the real estate market.

It appears however, this local franchise is fairing much better than most of the rest of the country.

“Having five military bases and the support and patronage of our military has been a huge contribution to our success,” he said. “Of course, it helps to have a catchy name. Most people just need two guys and truck.”

Runners up: Bennett’s Moving, Johnson Storage and Moving Co.

Best Wealth Advisor

Waddell & Reed Inc.

Founded in 1937, Waddell & Reed provides investment and planning services to individuals and institutional investors. The company is now publicly traded.
The company was recently awarded two of eight mutual fund group awards, presented by Lipper Inc., a national fund research fund. The fund family was named best overall in the small firm category for the second year in a row, while also receiving the top award for best mixed-asset small fund family.
Business Journal readers agree. For the first time, readers named Waddell & Reed the best wealth adviser.
The company – one of the oldest investment firms in the nation – administers and distributes more than 75 mutual funds. They also manage accounts for institutional investors and private clients.
Waddell and Reed services more than 4 million shareholder accounts at 450 locations across the nation.
Runners up: Strategic Financial Partners, First Command Financial Services

Best Location for a Business Conference

Cheyenne Mountain Resort

Cheyenne Mountain Resort boasts a championship golf course, four swimming pools, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a 35-acre lake, a fitness center and more than 300 hotel rooms, but it wasn’t voted Best Location for a Business Conference simply for its amenities.

With more than 40,000 square feet of meeting rooms and exhibit space, and its technologically advanced audio visual systems, this place was built for business. Its 38 meeting rooms were specifically designed with sound, sight and comfort in mind.

An overabundance of guest rooms allows the resort to accommodate large groups from distant places, while its variety of meeting rooms creates a flexibility to cater to day meetings or smaller groups as well.

Located at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain, the facility provides conference attendees with a resort atmosphere. Its main lodge holds the majority of meeting rooms, restaurants and hotel facilities, while its guest-room lodges overlook the lake, mountain and country club golf course.

Runners up: The Broadmoor, The Garden of the Gods Club

Best Document Copying, Scanning Company

FedEx Kinko’s

When FedEx acquired Kinko’s in 2004, business people around the city wondered if the package transportation company might change everything valuable about the copy services company.

FedEx did make changes, but the consensus among CSBJ voters showed those changes were for the better.

With its purchase, FedEx gained all 1,200 Kinko’s locations plus the resources and expertise needed to continue expansion of its corporate document outsourcing business and international operations. Kinko’s, meanwhile, gained enhanced FedEx document managing services and a more extensive reach.

Kinko’s provides online ordering, document finishing, document creation services and an array of paper and offices supplies, not to mention basic in-store copying.

The company also provides custom signs, banners and photo services for businesses.

Runners up: Documart, MinuteMen

Best Accounting Firm

Stockman Kast Ryan and Co.

Situated at 102 N. Cascade Ave. in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, Stockman Kast Ryan and Co. has been named best Accounting Firm by CSBJ readers in each of the past four years.

It is the largest, locally owned, certified public accounting firm in southern Colorado and provides clients with tax, audit and business consulting services. Boasting a wide range of industry experience, SKR accountants can cater to everyone from small businesses to high-net worth individuals and from nonprofit organizations to real estate and construction companies.

Launched during 1995, SKR was formed when a few partners from the Colorado Springs office of Deloitte acquired and merged their practice with Stockman and Kast, P.C., a locally owned CPA firm. Each of SKR’s 10 partners has more than 19 years of public accounting experience.

The firm’s philosophy is to provide the services that larger regional, national and international firms provide along with the personal attention only available from a local firm.

Runners up: BiggsKofford, Waugh & Goodwin, LLP

Best Architectural Firm

DLR Group

Irv Dana, Bill Larson and Jim Roubal formed DLR and began working in the Midwest during 1966. Over the past four decades the architecture and engineering firm has expanded to 18 U.S. cities and Shanghai, China.

The firm comprises much more than a simple architectural company. As a single-source provider of complete project design services, including architecture, engineering, planning and interiors, DLR is renowned for providing project teams to clients during their earliest stages of planning.

Examples of the firm’s work can be viewed around the country, from such international icons as Seattle’s Space Needle to modest community centers in some of America’s small towns.

Runners up: RTA Architects, YOW Architects, P.C.

Best Catering Firm

The Picnic Basket

Locally owned, The Picnic Basket provides full catering services to individuals and businesses, offering appetizer platters, full buffets, box-less lunches and more. Owners Kathy Dreiling and Michelle Talarico, who started the company 20 years ago, keep the adventure of food with flair going, and CSBJ readers keep voting the company best in the Springs.

The caterers also provide help with event planning and offer a selection of liquor, a serving staff, tableside chef and equipment rental for linen, glassware, silverware and more.

The company’s offshoot, Cravings Caterings, provides five-star catering for upscale social events for everything from formal weddings to galas. Cravings adds a distinctive touch with attention to details and a “kid gloves” approach to special events, including florists, musicians and photographers.

Runners-up: Blue Star, Garden of the Gods Club

Best Gym/Exercise Facility

Gold’s Gym

In 1965, after a modest beginning as a small fitness center in Venice Beach, California, Gold’s Gym has grown to become an international behemoth, spanning more than 600 locations in 30 countries across the globe. Yet is still provides personal service, and many locals wouldn’t dare sweat anywhere else.

Gold’s Gym boasts state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment along with group exercise programs that include classes in yoga, group cycling, mixed martial arts, muscle endurance training and pilates.

The gym offers the assistance of personal trainers and group exercise instructors, catering to marathon runners, soccer moms, Hollywood stars, and everyone else in between.

Every day its members demonstrate great feats of strength, collectively, they run 556,800 miles a day, or 23 times around the Earth, and lift 3.6 billion pounds, more than all the gold bars in Fort Knox.

Runners-up: 24 Hour Fitness, YMCA

Best Law Firm

Forbush & Associates

Forbush & Associates specializes in estate and business plans.

Forbush & Associates offers flexible appointments, including evenings and weekends and does not generally charge for initial consultations. Fees for most are based on flat rates rather than hourly charges.

The attorneys and counselors-at-law also offer continuing education courses in such areas as aid and attendance pension benefits, issues in planning with family limited partnerships and limited liability, federal estate tax updates, Medicaid and estate planning, IRAs and qualified plans, applications for life insurance and estate tax issues of IRAs and qualified plans.

Runners up: Muliken Weiner Karsh Berg & Jolivet, Holland and Hart

Best Commercial Printer

Allegra Print & Imaging

Allegra works in both PC and Macintosh platforms and works with a variety of software such as PageMaker, QuarkXpress, Corel, Illustrator, PhotoShop, Microsoft Office, Publisher and others.

Customers may have access to their archives through Allegra’s online ordering system which saves time and money.

In addition to full-color print in one- or two-color process, offset and digital, the company can provide mailing and marketing services, high-speed copying in black and white or color, marketing and communications solutions with consultation, production of signs, banners and posters, graphic design, bindery and finishing and promotional products to be imprinted on practical items with a logo or message to support the customer’s market.

Runners up: Fittje Bros., Mastercraft

Best Electrical Contractor

Berwick Electric

Founded in 1921, Berwick Electric Company is celebrating 88 hears of serving Colorado Springs by quality personnel doing quality work for quality customers.

Residential customers can receive such services as new construction and remodeling work, appliance outlets, home inspections, whole house/attic fans, panel upgrades, outdoor lighting and electric heat.

For commercial customers, Berwick can provide such services as commercial service and repair, new construction, security lighting, underground fault locating, parking lot lights, design/build capabilities and installation of motor sensor lights.

Berwick specializes in design/build for the high tech industry as well as commercial and industrial projects and teams with the state’s leading architects, engineers and contractors to smooth operations in major construction projects.

Recent projects include the St. Francis Medical Center, The Aerospace Corp., Columbine Hall at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Rolling Pin Barracks at Fort Carson and the Broadmoor Golf Cottages.

Runners up: Foster Electric, West Electric

Best Engineering Firm

RMG Engineering

Founded in 1986, RMG’s structural engineering services include new construction design documents, building renovation, residential design, foundation engineering, structural evaluation reports, foundation repair and structural design and consultation.

Geotechnical services include subsurface investigation, foundation engineering, geologic hazards evaluation, environmental assessment, slop stability evaluation, earthwork specifications, pavement designs and foundation damage mitigation.

Construction services include fill control and density testing, concrete testing, asphalt testing, soil characteristics and special inspections.

RMG structural projects have included the Porsche Building, Gold Hill Police Substation and Hope Community Church. Geotechnical projects have included Gold Hill Mesa, Bolts Lake and Cumberland Green.

Runners up: Infinity Systems Engineering, Consulting Engineers

Best General Contractor

G.E. Johnson Construction

Gil Johnson started his construction company in Colorado Springs in 1967. Back then, he had one pickup truck to get him from job to job and his family helped run the office.

As Colorado Springs grew in the 1970s, Johnson kept pace. He worked on health care facilities, education buildings, correctional buildings and resorts. Over the years, the company has worked on such large-scale projects as the Citywalk Downtown Lofts and the Federal Express Rocky Mountain Tech Center. In May, G.E. Johnson Construction was chosen as construction manager for the $23.6 million phase-one Centura Health Hospital project in Castle Rock.

At G.E. Johnson, employees operate under the idea that customers want a company big enough to get the job done, but small enough to listen. It’s how Johnson spent 30 years building his company. He turned over the company to his son Jim Johnson in 1997.

The company that started with one pickup truck now has 500 employees and has completed more than $3 billion in projects across the state.

Runners up: Bryan Construction, Service Tek Construction

Best Telephone Equipment/Systems Provider


Qwest offers high-speed Internet and DIRECTV in one package, high-speed Internet with WindowsLive, residential phone services with four levels of service, broadband phone service and four levels of DIRECTV.

In addition to basic telecommunications services, the company provides assistance to customers with disabilities, White & Yellow Pages online and information on telephone, computer and Internet fraud.

Qwest has two stores in Colorado Springs, American Satellite at 3020 N. El Paso St. and Data & Cabling Solutions at 902 N. Circle Drive.

Runners up: West Tech Communications, Inc., Cbeyond

Best Nonprofit Organization

Community Partnership for Child Development

The CPCD, founded in 1987, operates three early childhood education programs, including Early Head Start, Head Start and the Colorado Preschool Program.

It serves more than 1,900 children and families in El Paso County. About 80 percent of CPCD families live below federal poverty guidelines, and about 20 percent have an identified disability.

Nationally the Head Start program has enrolled more than 20 million children since it began in 1965.

Children and families in CPCD programs receive regular health and dental services whose families might otherwise not afford them.

Runners up: Pikes Peak United Way, Care & Share

Best Nonprofit Board to Sit On

Community Partnership Child Development

Community Partnership Child Development serves nearly 2,000 children and families in El Paso County through its Early Head Start, Head Start and Colorado Preschool Program.

It receives funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, contracts with local school districts, private grant and contributions from corporate and individual donors. For the 2009 — 2010 fiscal year, its budget tops more than $15 million.

CPCD staff number 325 full-time and 21 part-time employees.

Board member Paul Andrus said the biggest challenge of the board is that the non-profit has more need than capacity, and they are also feeling the pinch of present economic times.

“We know we can’t do it all ourselves,” he said. “We have to make what we have go as far as possible.”

Runners up: CASA, YMCA

Best Event

Community Partnership Child Development Breakfast

Last year’s fund-raising breakfast, themed “Take a Child’s Hand,” raised $145,000 for the nonprofit’s programs Early Head Start, Head Start and the Colorado Preschool Program.

The CPCD services 1,900 children and families in El Paso County, of whom approximately 80 percent fall below federal poverty guidelines.

In addition to regular Head Start programs, the CPCD also helps out small children when a military family member is facing deployment. It serves more than 300 military families.

The fourth annual breakfast will again be hosted by the Crowne Plaza Hotel is set for Thursday, Oct. 7.

Runners up: Balloon Classic/Furr Ball, Ruff Life Wine Tasting

Best Business to Support a Local Charity

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix is considered by the nonprofit world as a model for corporate/community partnerships and has been noted for its creativity in encouraging children to explore the world around them and providing materials to them and their families.

The university’s contributions began in 2008 with a literacy project when staff put together materials for Literacy Totes containing school supplies and books to have at home.

The University of Phoenix staff also created “Wellness Boxes” last year for a class which included jump ropes, balls and music as well as healthy snacks and nutrition information for parents.

Students in the school’s counseling programs completed practicums working with Family Services and in the classroom.

Runners up: G. E. Johnson Construction Company, Ent Federal Credit Union

Best Mortgage Brokerage

WR Starkey Mortgage, LLP

Among Starkey’s services are a variety of products to fulfill individual homeowners’ needs, state of the art technology to streamline the mortgage process and a commitment to the community.

Starkey employs licensed loan officers who work with financial representatives to assist customers with the home financing program that fits their personal situations precisely.

Runners up: Ent Federal Credit Union, Freedom Financial

Best Property Management Company


The real estate services firm, founded in 1985, represents individual, corporate and institutional owners of real estate throughout the United States and offers comprehensive real estate asset management services.

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Griffis/Blessing maintains additional offices in Denver and manages over 4,000,000 square feet of office, retail and industrial space and approximately 6,500 apartment units.

In its early years, the firm specialized in multi-family services and then expanded its expertise to include office, medical, retail, industrial and corporate and government properties.

Giffis/Blessing has grown to over 150 employees and manages assets valued in excess of $600 million for numerous private and institutional owners.

Runners up: Hoff & Leigh, Dominion Property Management

Best Residential Real Estate Brokerage


RE/MAX Properties, Inc. was established in 1986 and works to offer top-notch home buying, selling and relocation services.

Locally owned and family-operated, RE/MAX boasts more than 230 experienced associates who provide superior consultation-based real estate services to clients. Associates specialize in all areas and all property price ranges.

The company’s website, serves as a comprehensive resource targeted at providing online tools to explore the Colorado Springs real estate market and the community. Users can search for a home by area, property type, floor plan or price, and it also allows for customized searches by school district or other specific personalized criteria.

RE/MAX Properties has provided support to the Children’s Miracle Network with sales associates donating about $10,000 to the organization every year. The company also donates to other non-profits including Habitat for Humanity, the Arthritis Foundation, TESSA, American Cancer Society and the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center.

Runners up: ERA Shields, Keller Williams

Best Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Hoff & Leigh

Back in 1987, Bob Hoff and Tim Leigh had a plan to become experts at property leasing in Colorado Springs. The pair had been working together in the commercial property business as leasing agents. Back then, the partners, although 25 years apart in age, made quite a team. They drove around town in a car with no passenger window and a door that swung open on every right-hand turn. But they were striking at least one real estate transaction a day.

Since breaking out on their own, Hoff & Leigh grew their business into one that specializes in commercial leasing, commercial building sales, landlord representation and tenant representation, among other things. They stayed focused on locally owned buildings and locally based tenants or, as Tim Leigh calls them, “the mom-and-pop businesses.”

In 2003, Hoff sold his interests in the business to Leigh and moved into semi-retirement. And while 2009 was a tough economy, Hoff & Leigh expanded its offices into Ohio, where its first listing was on a property amounting to 400,000 square feet, the size of the Citadel Mall.

Now, Leigh’s daughter Holly Trinidad and her husband RD Trinidad, president of Hoff & Leigh, will oversee the company’s expansion to Fort Collins, Denver and Dallas.

“We thought that if we can’t expand vertically in Colorado Springs, we can expand horizontally to other places,” Leigh said.

Runners up: Olive Real Estate Group, Sierra Commercial Real Estate

Best Commercial Developer

Nor’wood Development Group

Nor’wood Development Group, a locally-owned developer, has been building in Colorado Springs for more than 35 years. The company has built 1.8 million square feet of retail, office and other commercial space, helping to define the city’s look.

Nor’wood’s executive team, with its 100 years of combined experience, says it is focused on creating a promising future for Colorado Springs.

The company’s retail centers are home to some of the region’s leading merchants and restaurants.

Beyond retailing, Nor’wood Vice President Chris Jenkins is part of a group of community leaders that hopes to look out for the city’s economic health and development for years to come.

Runners up: Schuck Corp., Hammers Construction

Best Residential Developer

Classic Cos.

Cruise through the east and northeast sides of Colorado Springs and you are bound to come across a Classic Cos. neighborhood.

The 16 neighborhoods feature a variety of floor plans with homes starting in the low $200,000s in neighborhoods like Banning Lewis Ranch, Indigo and Stetson Ridge Highlands and Cumbre Vista to multi-million luxury homes at Flying Horse.

Classic Cos., the largest privately held local home building company, has been building in Colorado Springs since 1989. Every year, the company updates or expands its collection of homes because, it likes to say, Classic is not just building homes, but is building communities. It’s something the company takes pride in, said Dan Winter, Classic’s executive vice president.

“When you drive through one of our neighborhoods that we built 15 years ago, it still looks great,” Winter said. “It’s a place that in 20 years, you feel proud to own.”

Runners up: La Plata Communities, Banning Lewis Ranch

Best Custom Home Builder

Keller Homes

From Italian inspired courtyard villas to ranch-style floor plans, Keller Homes is known for its attention to detail.

In its five neighborhoods — four in northern Colorado Springs and one in southwestern Colorado Springs  —  the company is building new homes ranging in price from the high $200,000s to the $800,000s. The company, which has been building homes for 25 years, takes pride in not following fad designs. Rather, it tries to stay focused on home space design, like three-car tandem garages that keep the street view intact and designs that make every side of the house appealing.

Keller Homes are neither the least or most expensive homes in town. But the homes are energy- efficient. In 2009, the company was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for its energy-efficient construction. Collectively, the 80 Keller Energy Star-rated homes are estimated to save its customers nearly $36,000 in utility bills each year.

Runners up: Classic Companies, Saddle Tree Homes

Best Sustainable Builder

Classic Cos.

In home building, quality is half the battle. The other half is building a home that is energy-efficient and environmentally responsible. To Classic Homes, building sustainable homes starts from the type of products they use in the home; thinking green is more than just the doors or the windows, said Dan Winter, Classic’s executive vice president.

“It’s the total package,” he said. “We think through the whole process.”

Building a sustainable home is thinking about everything from the insulation to the type of light bulb. But there is more. An entire sustainable neighborhood would have ripple effects into the whole Colorado Springs community in its use of water, for example. The types of appliances and irrigation then make a difference in the amount of water used.

“If it is done carefully, it has an impact on the whole community,” Winter said.

Part of building sustainable neighborhoods includes adding parks and lots of trees, Winter said. In June, the company began construction on Frog’s Leap Park — a $400,000, five-acre park, the third neighborhood park to be developed on the 1,400-acre Flying Horse property.

Runners up: Keller Homes, G.E. Johnson Construction

Best C.S. School for Online Degree

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix’s online students, usually working adults in their mid-30s, have no time to sit around in the quad drinking coffee and watching fellow students walk by. They start their day at college checking e-mail and looking at Facebook and Twitter for student discussion forums. And, they are more likely to do research online at the school’s database, rather than hitting the traditional stacks.

University of Phoenix, a private for profit higher education institution, started in 1976. Today, it boosts the largest student body in North America with 450,000 students enrolled. The higher education institution’s online degree programs makes college accessible to students who might have let go of their college-degree dreams in favor of families or work.

The university offers classes in five-week terms, designed so that a person could earn an associate’s degree in two years and bachelor’s degree in four years — much like a typical on campus program. And the university is accredited in dozens of degree programs, from accounting to education.

Runners up: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Regis University

Best C.S. Business School

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs College of Business graduates might get a good laugh that the UCCS’s campus was purchased for just $1 back in 1965.

Today, the UCCS offers 29 bachelor’s programs, including its world-class business program with new degree offerings that even MIT wants to model. The college of business has 56 full-time faculty and staff members and an undergraduate student body of 1,300 students.

“Our greatest asset is our faculty and staff who tirelessly pursue our vision of building successful futures for not only our students, but all of our stakeholders,” said Jana Hyde, UCCS College of Business and Administration special projects analyst.

Each year the UCCS College of Business graduates about 350 students who earn degrees in business and in innovation in business. The college is among 5 percent of business schools in the world to have the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation, which makes the school relevant to its community.

“It’s important to be able to make sound business decisions no matter what field you work in, especially during a difficult economy,” Hyde said. “A business degree from an AACSB-accredited program will give (students) the knowledge and tools to make better and more confident choices in their day-to-day work life.”

Runners up: University of Phoenix, Regis University

Best C.S. MBA Program

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

When the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs College of Business reviews its MBA applicants, it is looking for students who want an education, not just a degree.

“You may have strong technical knowledge or even an advanced technical degree in your field — nursing, engineering, communications, etc. — but you will be a more valuable employee if you have a deeper understanding of business principles,” said Jana Hyde, College of Business and Administration special projects analyst.

The college of business Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation ensures students are taught by Ph.D.-qualified faculty. The UCCS MBA offers a mix of theory and practice with class projects often involving local companies.

“Our program gives students the flexibility to take classes on campus, online, or a combination of both,” Hyde said.

Runners up: Regis University, University of Phoenix

Best C.S. Technical School

Colorado Technical University

Employers from across the country that have hired Colorado Technical University graduates say they would eagerly hire another CTU graduate. In a survey, released in June, of nearly 500 employers, 82 percent said they would hire another CTU graduate. Nearly 100 percent of respondents said CTU graduates were performing as well or better than other employees.

The key to the students’ success in the workplace is CTU’s efforts to continually refine the programs so that students are ready to meet employers’ expectations, said Wallace Pond, CTU chief executive officer. “The high level of employer satisfaction shows that we are on the right path,” he said.

CTU, a private university, was founded in 1965 and provides higher education for a growing number of technology-dependent industries.

The university focuses on teaching applied, real-world and industry-current programs. Students can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in areas of business management, criminal justice and public administration, engineering and computer science and health sciences.

The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and it was recently given high praise from National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Defense for its computer security programs, making its students eligible to apply for grants through the Defense Department Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Runners up: Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Best Employee Benefits Provider

Benefit Resources

Benefit Resources has been in the business of benefits for about 25 years, though it’s not really that old. George Martin started his business, Colorado Insurance Center, in 1981 while Jeff Ahrendsen founded Benefit Resources in 1987. In 2004, the companies joined forces.

The combined experience of the two companies allows the 20-person staff of sales, service, claims and technology specialists to solve client problems and reconcile claims. More importantly, the sales team helps customers weed through the complicated issues in Medicare, the Family Leave Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Benefit Resources offers group insurance, employee benefits and financial services that help business owners manage their resources. And the team helps businesses understand the changes in the industry.

Runners up: Waddell & Reed, Penrose Hospital/Anthem

Best Insurance Brokerage

Waddell & Reed

Forrest Gump said it best: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” That’s where Waddell & Reed come in. Their agents try to ensure that no matter what you get, you will have coverage.

Waddell and Reed has put together financial plans for thousands of customers for more than 70 years.

Their agents believe that risk management is an important part of a financial plan. They help people identify and safeguard against threats like loss of health, loss of property and loss of income.

Waddell & Reed offers a variety of insurance and annuity products including life insurance, long-term care, and Medicare supplements.

Runners up: Six & Geving Insurance, CB Insurance

Best New or Re-launched Local Web Site

Community Partnership for Child Development

Unlike many predictable, template-based websites, the Community Partnership for Child Development’s collage-style site draws visitors into the colorful, inquisitive world of young learners.

Launched in February, the site incorporates some of the same modern, eye-catching features used by snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding company websites.

CPCD Communications Manager Mike Neustedter shepherded the process and worked with local web design firm InFront to come up with the final look and navigation.

“We looked at a lot of nonprofit websites. Most of the time they insist they don’t have the money or can’t dedicate a person to manage the site full-time. But it’s important to stay current with younger as well as more mature audiences and to market your organization,” he said.

The shift has already netted tangible results. Not only have web hits increased from about 500 to 4,000 or more a month, but its authentic Photoshop-reproduced children’s artwork and script seems to have resonated with potential volunteers and donors.

“We’ve actually had donors that we don’t even know contact us to make a contribution. One local school raised money and brought us a check for $1,000, all because they’d followed us on the website and liked what they saw,” he said.

Runners-up: BiggsKofford, Q2Interactive Media

Best Blog

John Hazlehurst

John Hazlehurst’s wit, insight and natural political instincts made his blog on the 2010 readers’ favorite.

When he’s not on the phone interviewing the rich and powerful, he’s gathering updates from his favorite “homies” over coffee or mingling with city politicos. His local pipeline is filled with contacts, developed during a career that spans almost 30 years.

Hazlehurst traveled the world before returning to Colorado Springs in 1981. Since then he has served as a two-term Colorado Springs city councilman and worked as a freelance journalist before joining the Business Journal staff in 2006.

This Colorado Springs native rarely has met an issue that he couldn’t explore, dissect and recount. A prolific journalist whose career started in 1973 with a story published in Yachting Magazine, he presents both sides of the story but isn’t afraid to offer his own point of view.

That’s evident in such memorable blog posts as “Council members plan to ditch Mayor’s speech,” “Boulder a techie mecca — and we’re chopped liver,” or “PERA: rolling in dough or rolling the dice?”

Runners-up: Vladimir Jones, Ent Federal Credit Union

Best Twitter

Community Partnership for Child Development

Once again, a nonprofit organization aced out the competition in a key social media category.

Through its tweets, the Community Partnership for Child Development maintains regular communication with its increasingly mobile and tech-savvy support base.

“But you have to be smart about it,” said spokesman Mike Neustedter, adding that CPCD tries to adapt different strategies to different age and interest groups. Twitter usually appeals younger folks, people comfortable with social media.

After researching how to best use Twitter, the organization decided to adopt brief, frequent updates, including open-email messaging and updates. Those are best-suited to a small iPhone screen, for example.

Instead of restricting tweets to meeting notices or administrative announcements, staff members allow anyone interested to follow day-to-day activity.

“We ordered some bags from a promotional product company and tweeted the order. Within a few days, we were contacted by another company that wanted to know more about what we do and how to get involved,” Neustedter said.

Sometimes the same tweets used to announce program benchmarks, new grants or new hires also come in handy for fundraising or recruiting volunteers.

“People hear about what we’re doing and it creates a lot of energy that supports our educational mission,” he said.

Runners-up: Amnet, Vladimir Jones; Your Organic Life

Best Facebook

Community Partnership for Child Development

By topping the “Best Facebook” category, the Community Partnership for Child Development scored a “Best Of” social media trifecta that also included Best New or Re-launched Web Site and Best Twitter.

The local nonprofit organization, which is affiliated with the national Head Start program, wanted to distinguish itself, not only as a worthy human services group but as a smart, accessible child educational organization.

Along with the launch of a new and improved web site earlier this year, CPCD’s communications department also jumped full-force into building a social media presence on Facebook.

The benefits, especially to a nonprofit are obvious: with 88 CPCD links with supportive individual, civic or corporate web sites and hundreds of “friends” giving their thumbs up to special events, mission statements and fundraising projects, it’s aligning itself with top talent.

“We took our time and looked at so many other Facebook and web sites. So many are text heavy, uninspired,” he said, adding that his organization collaborated with a past “Best Of” winner, InFront Webworks, to design an active, inviting social media presence that would attract curious browsers as well as stalwart supporters.

The CPCD’s Facebook pages also convey important mission-based information. For example, one day, Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien’s signing of legislation designed to improve early-childhood education and health care for Colorado’s children made headlines.

Runners up: Tie: Ent, Amnet; Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Best Cell Phone Service Provider


Locals like Verizon’s cell phone service by a whopping two to one margin.

Verizon could be the winner because the company has 11 authorized Verizon wireless dealers in the Pikes Peak region and broad coverage throughout the state of Colorado. Or it could be because Verizon is the largest wireless provider in the United States.

Like most companies, it offers a wide selection of ring tones, wallpaper, entertainment and games and downloadable applications. The VZ Navigator GPS service includs a family locator option, and a broad selection of compatible phones including the Blackberry Curve, the LG enV3, Motorola Rival, the Samsung Omnia II and the Nodia 7704 Twist.

Verizon employs 81,000 people and had annual revenues of $62.1 billion last year.

Runners-up: AT&T, T-Mobile

Best Internet Service Provider


Comcast has been around since 1963, and is the largest cable television company and home Internet service provider in the United States, boasting more than 23 million video customers, 15.9 million high-speed Internet customers and 7.6 million digital voice customers, according to

Broadband cable Internet is increasingly surpassing DSL (digital subscriber line through phone wire) offered by some of the company’s competitors in terms of raw download speed.

As cable Internet service customers thirst for faster download speeds, so does the cable provider’s share of the broadband Internet market.

Locally the company offers premium cable Internet packages, touting download speeds up to 50 megabytes per second. Even the firm’s lower-cost standard plans are very fast with speeds ranging between 4 and15 Mbps.

In 2010, Comcast rolled out its Xfinity service as part of a re-branding and upgraded “triple-play” services (digital voice, data and television) campaign. It also added a Comcast photo center and a free comprehensive security suite for all subscribers earlier this year designed to strengthen firewall protection and spam filters.

Runners-up: Qwest, TW Telecom

Best IT/Computer System Consultant


Amnet did it again this year, pulling off a six-year sweep in its category.

If top-of-mind awareness is key to building a successful brand, owner and CEO Trevor Dierdorff certainly deserves a lot of credit.

Dierdorff says his team can deliver a two-hour or less response to network crashes, an impressive promise in the increasingly computer-dependent world of business.

The 10-year old firm markets its cyber security and network solutions services mostly to small and medium-sized businesses along Colorado’s Front Range. Its IT services include proactive maintenance, anti-virus, files backup, spyware, remote access and firewall solutions as well as technology solutions consulting.

Dierdorff works hard to come up with innovative ways to introduce the benefits of smart networks and security.

One of those efforts includes a partnership with several other local businesses to offer an Extreme Tech Makeover. Entrants are required to submit a 3- to 5-minute video explaining how it would benefit from a makeover by Sept. 3. The winning company receives more than $25,000 in technology products and services.

Runners-up: Navakai, Elk Creek Computers

Best Hospital

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services

With two hospitals and two urgent care facilities, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services this year was ranked one of HealthGrades America’s Best 50 Hospitals.

It was the only hospital in Colorado to receive such a distinction. The healthcare system also received the 2009-2010 HealthGrades Women’s Health Excellence designation.

The hospital does what it can to show its dedication to the community.

“In January we kicked off the Healthy Neighborhood project in the Old North End. It was aimed at our immediate surrounding neighborhood and was designed to promote wellness and good health,” said spokesman Chris Valentine.

Penrose-St. Francis CEO Margaret Sabin also made sure the network took part in parent company Centura Health’s broader initiative, “Moving Upstream.” As a result almost 300 neighbors took part in free health screenings, coaching workshops and a wrap-up based on individual progress tracking.

In addition, the hospital saw about 22,000 admissions last year and 71,500 emergency visits.

Other recent highlights include the acquisition of a DaVinci Robot, enabled by an anonymous donor. The equipment allows doctors to perform minimally invasive surgery.

The decision was also made this year to move all operations out of the former St. Francis Hospital off Prospect Street by year’s end.

Runners-up: Memorial Health System, Evans Army Community Hospital

Best Doctor or Physician Group Practice

Colorado Springs Health Partners

This physician-owned multi-specialty practice includes 100 doctors and another 500 employees.

Headed by CEO Debbie Chandler, CSHP is also the city’s oldest medical practice, founded in 1946. Its original office opened in a Victorian house at 209 S. Nevada Ave. but was expanded and a new medical office building was constructed during the 1950s.

“We’re on call 365 days a year,” said spokeswoman Beth O’Brien, adding that the practice includes 22 specialties “from allergists to urologists.”

It also operates a full-service radiology unit that is open to doctors and practices outside CSHP.

“Our radiology department offers everything from CAT scans and PET scans to ultrasounds and MRIs,” O’Brien said.

CSHP physicians have access to both hospitals and accept dozens of insurance plans, including Medicare.

With 11 offices ranging from Fountain on the south to Falcon on east side to Monument in north El Paso County, its patient base is about 70,000 individual patients.

The group’s administrative headquarters is in First Bank building downtown. It also owns a parcel of land atop the Fillmore Street/Fontmore Road hill, purchased for a future medical office campus.

In a recent move to consolidate its operations, the group made plans to relocate its specialty practitioners from the original South Nevada complex along with an urgent care facility to the Union Medical Center on the northwest corner of Fillmore Street and Union Boulevard.

A September move-in is anticipated.

Runners up: Mountain View Medical Center, Center Pointe Family Medicine

Best Healthcare Insurance Provider

United Healthcare

United Healthcare is the largest health insurance provider in the state — and in the rest of the country as well.

The company provides services to more than 70 million people nationwide and employs more than 8,000 people. United Healthcare prides itself on its investments in research and development, technology and business process improvements, spending more than $3 billion during the past five years.

This year, United launched the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, a partnership with YMCA of the USA and Walgreens to help prevent and control diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity.

And last year, they moved into social media — launching its doctor and facility network on the iPhone, improving access to health care for customers.

Nationally, the company had revenues of nearly $23.2 billion and net earnings of $1.1 billion.

Runners-up: Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Best Dental Practice

Comfort Dental

Comfort Dental operates eight offices in El Paso County and another three in Pueblo.

The company’s mission is to expand access to quality dental care by making full-service dental care affordable and convenient to its more than 1.5 million patients in five states.

Comfort Dental is one of the state’s largest Medicaid providers. Its commercial fees are also highly competitive: new patients pay $19 which includes exam and X-rays; braces for kids are $109 per month; adults on the company’s Gold Plan pay just $119 per month. The company’s dentists also provide oral cancer screenings for $10.

For those without dental insurance, Comfort Dental also offers its own dental discount plans.

The company gained notice earlier this year when it joined Live Nation as a three-year partner with naming rights to the former Fidder’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village.

The facility is now known as Comfort Dental Amphitheatre.

The move was designed, said Comfort Dental’s Dr. Neil Norton, to underscore that “good dental health and good overall health is what we deliver to patients.”

Runners-up: Musolf Dental Care; Seth Kimmelman/West One Family Dental/Cheyenne Mountain Dental Group.

Best TV Station for Business News

KOAA-TV/News First 5

KOAA has been named Station of the Year by the Colorado Broadcaster’s Association more than 20 times and wins awards from the Associated Press each year as well as an occasional Emmy.

During August 2006, the station launched KOAA-DT, the most powerful digital signal of any television station in Southern Colorado.

The station started broadcasting in the Colorado Springs market in 1953, and became an NBC affiliate just days after its first broadcast. It was purchased by Denver’s KOA-TV in 1961 and became KOAA. With a video recorder brought down from Denver, the station was able to record and play back programs for the first time.

Today, the station employs 40 people and has added a state-of-the-art digital switcher that allows them to produce better video effects. It also has a satellite news gathering vehicle, allowing the news department to broadcast live from remote areas.

Runners-up: KKTV, KRDO

Best Radio Station for Business News


For the past 72 years, KVOR has provided both business news and talk radio for the Colorado Springs area.

Business Journal readers obviously depend on the station’s news coverage and web site, And like the rest of media, the station has its own blog.

Currently, the station employs 23 people, the largest radio news gathering team in the region.

Focusing on both local and national news, KVOR hosts CNBC’s financial news, as well as a local news program by President Financial.

The station also broadcasts programs by conservative favorites Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck.

Runners up: KRDO, KRCC

Best B2B Advertising Campaign

Tie: Ent Federal Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente

Ent Federal Credit Union

Ent has been advertising in the Business Journal for the past three years — and this year changed their campaign to achieve a very strong response.

The new look focuses on actual business experience, connecting local business to the credit union.

Ent also has made an effort to focus on service convenience, operating expense and efficiency. Their ads focused on electronic services such as remote deposit capture, to save business’s time.

Ent officials say the response to the new ad campaign has been strong — overall, they’ve had a positive year attracting new businesses to the credit union.

Kaiser Permanente

“Live well and THRIVE!”

Kaiser Permanente’s national campaign encouraging healthy, active lifestyles while promoting Kaiser Permanente was the result of a nationwide “big dig” on what people need to improve their health. The result — the Thrive campaign.

“Choose more fruit and vegetables, exercise, friendship, love. It all helps you thrive,” said local Kaiser spokeswoman C.J. Moore, who served on the national effort to develop the campaign series.

The campaign focuses on more than just Kaiser, and has gotten attention from several advertising groups, she said.

Kaiser isn’t finished. The health insurance group is doing another nationwide survey to revamp its Thrive campaign.

Best Business Bank

Wells Fargo

Started as a frontier bank in San Francisco in 1852, Wells Fargo is now one of the largest banks in the nation.

But it hasn’t forgotten its humble beginnings. The bank survived the San Francisco earthquake and it prospered during the 2008 financial crisis, even buying rival Wachovia to bolster its mortgage and banking portfolio.

Today, Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company — more than just banking, it also provides insurance, investment and commercial finance at more than 10,000 stores and ATMs nationwide.

The bank has $1.2 trillion in assets. And it’s done well despite the financial crisis that hit the banking industry in 2008.

Runners up: Ent Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank

Best Commercial Lender

Ent Federal Credit Union

This Colorado-based credit union remains tops with Business Journal readers. For the second year in a row, Ent was named best commercial lender by readers.

Ent was chartered during 1957 with 30 members and just $602 dollars in deposits. From its modest beginnings, the company has now grown to be the largest financial institution in the Pikes Peak region.

The credit union has $3 billion in assets and has $1.7 billion in loans. It has nearly 200,000 members.

The National Credit Union Administration federally insures each member’s savings up to $250,000, and members receive the benefits of Ent’s net earnings in the form of higher dividends on savings, lower interest rates on loans and lower, or no fees, on services.

Runners up: Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank

Best Credit Union

Ent Federal Credit Union

Ent Federal Credit Union seems to be a favorite with readers of the Business Journal.

The credit union, which serves the Front Range, also earned Best Commercial Lender and Best Business-to-Business Advertising campaign. The company also was runner up for Best Business Bank and Best Corporate Financial Services.

Ent was chartered in 1957 with a mere $602 in deposits. It now is one of the largest financial institutions in the region — and one of the most respected. Ent has more than 27 locations throughout the Pikes Peak region and assets of $3 billion.

Runners up: Air Academy Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union

Best Investment Brokerage

Waddell and Reed

Waddell and Reed won three awards this year, marking the first time it’s appeared on the pages of the Business Journal’s top awards.

Perhaps it’s because of the company’s belief in a long term outlook for the market. Despite recent volatility and trouble in Europe, the company says the long-term outlook is positive.

The company believes the market is struggling with the growth rate — not solvency issues.

Their expertise comes from a disciplined investment process to its family of mutual funds. Waddell and Reed has more than 70 years experience in the investment management business.

“We do our own work, believe in our own research and act on our own ideas,” the company’s web site says. “Our steady approach is guided by a belief in fundamentals over fads.”

Runners up: Strategic Financial Partners, Corundum Wealth Management

Best Corporate Financial Services

Waddell and Reed

Waddell and Reed is making a name for itself, despite the slow pace of economic recovery.

Even in the face of tight commercial lending, Waddell and Reed maintains its market standing as the Business Journal’s Best Corporate Financial Services.

It’s done so by focusing on the fundamentals of investing, instead of fads. It’s maintained its reputation since its inception in 1937, making it the oldest investment firm in the United States.

Runners up: Strategic Financial Partners, Ent Federal Credit Union

Best SBA Lender

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s classic stagecoach emblem has come to symbolize the more than 11,000 banking locations nationwide and, according to CSBJ readers, it also symbolizes the best business bank in the Springs.

Colorado Spring’s team of more than 25 business banking professionals focuses exclusively on meeting the needs of the business community.

The team takes a long-term approach to business clients and understands that start-up businesses have much different needs than an established business looking to transition into the next generation.

The team’s success comes from providing the right advice, products and services to each business at the right time.

Runners up: U.S. Bank, Central Bank & Trust

Best Energy-Efficient Vehicle

Toyota Prius

When gas prices go up, Prius drivers save cash. By driving the hybrid electric vehicle, they also are saving the environment.

The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrid car. It is now sold in 40 countries worldwide.

In May 2008, global cumulative Prius sales reached a major milestone: 1 million vehicles sold. Earlier this year, the Prius reached worldwide sales of 1.6 million cars. As the global top seller market, the U.S. makes up more than half the Priuses sold worldwide, with 814,173 units registered by December 2009.

The third generation Prius sells for slightly more than $22,000.

Runners up: Tie: Smart Car, a bicycle; Ford Fusion

Best Luxury Vehicle Dealer

Red Noland Auto Group

Selling Cadillacs, Saabs, Jaguars and Land Rovers, Red Noland Auto Group is one of Colorado Spring’s most active luxury car dealerships.

In business for 35 years, Red Noland’s motto is: “The way you want to be treated. The way you ought to be treated — and then some.”

Business Journal readers named them best luxury vehicle dealer, and people who buy their cars agree.

Testimonials on their web site show their commitment.

“The staff is very knowledgeable and unlike most car dealers when they say we will take care of you that is exactly what they do,” said Eric G. “I was deployed to Iraq and my daughter had a driving course scheduled, my wife brought the car in and they gave it the once over and checked everything on the car to make sure it was ready for her to take the course. This is the most professional dealership I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of…”

Best Fleet Dealer

Phil Long

Painters, construction companies — and the occasional defense contractor — rely on Phil Long’s commercial vehicle department to lease a variety of cars, trucks and vans.

The city of Colorado Springs is one of their clients.

Businesses that need a fleet of cars or trucks can get special financing options designed specifically for business, and they can order vehicles from a selection of body styles, size options and specialized features.

Runners up: Daniels Chevrolet, Enterprise Fleet Services and Heuberger Motors

Best Golf Tournament

Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce

When The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Golf Classic, business owners line up in droves to drive.

Although the chamber has been around for more than 100 years, this is arguably its most popular event.

Perhaps it’s because the chamber hosts its tournaments at the best private golf courses in town. Or it could be that they give golfers a choice of an 8 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. shotgun start, not to mention serving coffee and burritos in the morning and lunch and drinks as golfers pass the clubhouse.

On the course, they also serve ice cream bars, beer, soda and, of course, water. For those who like to puff while they putt, even cigars are offered. The operative phrase is “party on every hole.” At the end of the day, dinner is served and door prizes and awards are distributed. No wonder people keep coming back.

Runners-up: Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs, The Junior League of Colorado Springs’ Top of the Hill Golf Classic

Best Public Golf Course

Patty Jewett Golf Course

Patty Jewett Golf Course was designed in 1889. In commemoration of its 100th anniversary, Jack Nicklaus autographed and inscribed a photo which hangs in the clubhouse. But that’s not the course’s only claim to fame. It is the third-oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River.

City-owned since 1919, Patty Jewett has hosted the Pikes Peak Amateur Tournament for more than 70 years.

Nowadays, Patty Jewett is a par-72 course at 6,811 yards.

Driving through its wrought-iron bordered entryway under a canopy of century-old trees is akin to making a journey back in time. But everything else is modern, including being one of the state’s busiest courses. About 130,000 nine-hole rounds are played annually at Patty Jewett. Players of all skill-levels can be accommodated, as each tee features four different positions. The municipal course aims to cater to a broad range of players.

Runners-up: Valley Hi Golf Course, Pine Creek Golf Course

Best Private Golf Course

The Broadmoor

The golf courses at The Broadmoor are world-renowned.

The 18-hole East Course, which has held championships since 1959, is known for its wide, tree-lined fairways and large greens, not to mention mountain views. Architect Donald Ross began designing it in 1916, and the course is ranked among the best in the country. It has hosted numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open and USGA championships.

Better heed the advice of The Broadmoor’s golf pros — putts break away from the mountains.

Originally designed in 1918, the hotel’s west golf course has narrower fairways, plays tighter off the tee and affords players some spectacular approach shots. Formidable sand bunkers are part of its appeal, as are water hazards that enhance three of the par threes.

Word around the resort is not to let the stunning mountain views distract you. The doglegs and steeply angled greens make for a very challenging round of golf.

Then there’s the mountain course, which opened in July, 2006. It plays to a maximum of 7,700 yards, and is par 72, with wide fairways and vista views.

Runners-up: Colorado Springs Country Club, Kissing Camels Golf Course

Best Networking Group/Event

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce

Established in 1892, The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce has been championing the growth and stewardship of the community ever since. The chamber was influential in such major developments as the establishment of Fort Carson in the 1940s and the Air Force Academy in the 1950s.

But it doesn’t merely ride on the glory of yesterdeay’s achievements. It is a forward-looking organization, working hand-in-hand with community partners in the business, non-profit, military and governmental sectors to ensure continued prosperity in the region.

The chamber has several groups that business owners gravitate toward for networking — including Rising Professionals, Ambassador’s Club and the Military Affairs Council, not to mention its monthly Business After Hours, which includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Its most popular events include Taste of the Chamber, Evening in Tuscany and its annual dinner.

Runners-up: Strictly Business, Colorado Springs Young Professionals

Best Cultural Attraction to Support

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

Established in 1936, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is home to world-class art galleries, Broadway-worthy live theater and an art school for all ages and abilities.

Built on the foundation of the Broadmoor Art Academy, the FAC is considered an architectural landmark in the region. It was designed by John Gaw Meem and is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. In 2007, the FAC unveiled a $28.6 million renovation and expansion.

The FAC gallery has works by American artists Georgia O’Keefe, Walt Kuhn, John Singer Sargant and Dale Chihuly. It also has one of the strongest collection of Hispanic, Latin American and American Indian art in the nation.

FAC members get free gallery admission every day, discounts on theater tickets and art classes.

Runners-up: Cheyenne Mountain, Garden of the Gods

Best Colorado Airport for Business Travel

Colorado Springs Municipal Airport

In 1927, the same year Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean, the City of Colorado Springs started in the airport business, purchasing 640 acres of grassland seven miles east of the city for $17,500. It had two short gravel runways.

By 1929, the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport complex two hangers and a combined administration residence and lounge building.

During those years, the airport was busy if they served a half a dozen customers each month.

Flash forward to 1966, and the airport gained a new terminal, after sharing facilities with the military for a quarter century.

By the 1990s, the airport gained three wide, modern runways and a three-level, 280,000 square-foot terminal, with 16 gates.

Nowadays, more than 2 million passengers use the Colorado Springs Airport each year.

Runners-up: Denver International Airport; Meadowlake, Centennial

Best School District

District 20

It may not look like it these days, but Academy School District 20 hearkens back to the bygone era of the Wild West. In the 1900s, settlers came to the region, drawn by numerous sanitariums for tuberculosis, and a school in Woodmen Valley was the official start of what later became District 20.

After its inauspicious beginnings, the district — which for more than 20 years had only one high school, one junior high, and several elementary schools — opened at least one new school each year from 1985 to 1990.

Nowadays, District 20 is recognized throughout the Pikes Peak Region for providing students with a strong basis in core academic subjects. From science to Shakespeare, District 20 students receive a firm foundation in academic essentials. In the district, standardized test scores remain consistently high, and each year many graduates from the district win awards and scholarships.

Runners-up: District 11, District 12

The Best Sporting Event to take a Client

Sky Sox baseball

From the highest professional ballpark in the United States, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox are the AAA top affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

The Sky Sox franchise is an original member of the Pacific Coast League, which was founded in 1903. The franchise started in Sacramento and relocated to Honolulu before finding a home in Colorado Springs. That’s where the franchise got its name, in honor of the first team to play at Memorial Park from 1950 to 1958.

In 1988, Sky Sox ownership privately funded the construction of a new $3.7 million ballpark, which as built on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, near the corner of Powers Blvd and Tutt Ave.

The 8,500 capacity stadium is now known as Security Service Field.

Runners-up: Colorado College hockey, Air Force Academy football