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Top Company 2022: Aerospace

The outpouring of applications for this year’s Top Company awards is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of enterprises that do business in the state. Applications for the 35th annual awards numbered in the hundreds, and it was particularly encouraging to see so many companies rebounding from two years of COVID restrictions, with most posting revenue and employee gains approaching—and in some cases, exceeding—pre-pandemic numbers.

This year’s Top Company winners and finalists represent 13 industry categories, plus a startup category for companies in business less than four years. Entrants were judged on three criteria: outstanding achievement, financial performance and community involvement. The judging panel was made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial board and two representatives from the business community.

Winner — Barber-Nichols

Arvada 

Since 2015, Barber-Nichols has grown more than twofold – in terms both of revenue and its workforce, as the company has expanded from 72 employees to 180 in the past seven years. 

The Arvada-based firm provides pumps, compressors, turbine systems, rocket engine turbo pumps, motors and thermal management solutions across aerospace, cryogenics, defense and energy sectors. Barber-Nichols has been at the forefront of aerospace innovation for 50 years and is showing no signs of stopping.  

“BN continues to experience rapid growth in current business industries including undersea power and propulsion systems, thermal management systems, space-based applications and advanced power generation and energy storage,” the company says. 

To facilitate expansion, the company acquired property adjacent to its current campus. The new facility will improve manufacturing efficiency by consolidating BN’s machining, quality control and manufacturing support operations. By designing, manufacturing, and testing turbomachinery, Barber-Nichols continues to push the envelope of integrated engineering. 

Among the company’s goals: Continue 15% year-over-year growth in four product group areas; maintain a top-notch employee-centric culture with a 4.9 out of 5 Glassdoor score; and manufacture mission-critical products that impact the world. 

Meanwhile, the company is helping to develop the next generation of aerospace technicians, as it offers an apprenticeship program with Red Rocks Community College.   

Top Company 2022: Professional Services

The outpouring of applications for this year’s Top Company awards is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of enterprises that do business in the state. Applications for the 35th annual awards numbered in the hundreds, and it was particularly encouraging to see so many companies rebounding from two years of COVID restrictions, with most posting revenue and employee gains approaching—and in some cases, exceeding—pre-pandemic numbers.

This year’s Top Company winners and finalists represent 13 industry categories, plus a startup category for companies in business less than four years. Entrants were judged on three criteria: outstanding achievement, financial performance and community involvement. The judging panel was made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial board and two representatives from the business community.

 

Winner — National Valuation Consultants

Centennial

National Valuation Consultants provides a broad range of appraisal, consultation and real estate advisory services. In 2021, NVC served nearly 600 clients and completed valuation and advisory assignments on commercial properties with an aggregate value exceeding $500 billion.  

To retain its top talent, NVC offers opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as having staff mentor and review other appraisers. For those demonstrating strong managerial skills, there is the prospect of leading a practice group or regional office.  

NVC’s motto is “Thinking Big to Better Our Community.” Employees held a fundraiser for Marshall Fire victims and, with the help of NVC’s corporate match, raised more than $12,000 to help the cause. Employees are also involved with Food for Thought, and helped to pack PowerSacks filled with nonperishable food to help fill the weekend hunger gap for school children and their families in the Denver area. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the X-Drive Classic golf tournament fundraiser for Joshua School and Treeline Pass, NVC employees created an in-office, socially distanced miniature golf tournament with holes designed and sponsored by employees, raising $10,000.   

To simplify many business processes and procedures, NVC has invested in technological solutions that enable employees to perform their jobs more efficiently and with greater accuracy. Among the solutions are Keystone, a web-based valuation data management system, and Velocity, a cloud-based proprietary appraisal management tool. NVC also developed appraisal report templates that reduce the time required for data entry.

Finalist — GavinHeath

Centennial

Named for founder Holly Steele’s late brother Gavin Heath Whitrock, GavinHeath is a search and solutions firm. It is dual-certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.  The firm has a mission to provide unparalleled and inclusive staffing solutions, connecting people, businesses and communities, while equally fulfilling the diverse needs of its customers. 

In 2019 the company adapted quickly to market changes. GavinHeath shifted from primarily supporting contract, IT-related staffing solutions in specific business verticals to expanding the company’s offerings outside of IT, placing more permanent candidates and offering fee flexibility. 

GavinHeath has a commitment to expanding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) initiatives within staffing. The firm strives to deliver exceptional professionals who can diversify and grow their clients’ ecosystems while simultaneously providing new opportunity to nurture and broaden one’s own career. In 2021, the firm initiated a DEI Committee to develop an overall DEI strategy for the company, accelerate DEI initiatives with dedicated focus, create accountability for results, and set key milestones.   

Holly and her husband, COO Dan Steele, are actively involved in charitable work such as helping at Project C.U.R.E. To support employees’ volunteer activities, leadership established a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program. In lieu of traditional holiday gifts for clients, GavinHeath reallocates those funds to selected charities, which in 2021 represented local (Denver Kids), statewide (Food Bank of the Rockies), national (SHIFTai) and global (Solar Buddy) communities.    

Finalist — Buehler Companies

Aurora

Buehler Companies specializes in household goods moving, office moving, warehousing and storage. The company offers installation services and offers customers a “One-Stop Shop” to serve all their moving needs. From packing, to moving, to unpacking and putting it all away, the company handles every move big or small. Over the years, Buehler Companies has diversified its business model and purchased additional equipment to cover different types of jobs, including flatbed services, hazardous materials, hotel projects, libraries and larger exhibits.  

For community work, Buehler Companies makes good use of its trucks and warehouse space.  

The mover picks up food from Food Bank of the Rockies each week and delivers to local schools in need. For Fill The Mayflower, it stages a truck outside a Safeway to gather non-perishable items for troops at Buckley AFB, for families of service members serving overseas. With Cops Fighting Cancer, police officers from all over the state gather in the warehouse and hold a donut eating contest, host a silent auction, and gather donations for Children’s Hospital Colorado.  

Buehler Companies’ core values are, “We’re in this together,” “Be part of the solution,” “Do the right thing,” and “Attitude is everything.” These are written on a wall and on cards for employees. Leadership speaks about the core values at company meetings and at training at Buehler University, which was established to help educate the incoming staff to find and create career paths so they can grow professionally and personally within the company. 

Finalist — Griffiths Law

Lone Tree

Griffiths Law is a mid-size, full-service family law and civil litigation firm. The team of attorneys can assist with any aspect of family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, and maintenance. The civil litigation attorneys handle cases involving construction defects, insurance, real estate corporate and partnership matters. The attorneys have earned numerous awards and recognitions for achievements in law as well as business management.  

In 2021–2022, the firm and its attorneys prevailed at the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court, several times changing the law and advancing their clients’ interests in cases that involved nonparent rights, property division, maintenance, and child support.  

Attorneys actively take part in legal education, author legal scholarship and articles, teach legal education courses, and serve on boards. The firm is involved in pro bono commitments and volunteer work, and employees are engaged in everything from fighting breast cancer to providing pro bono legal services to human trafficking survivors to ensuring that programs like CASA (court-appointed special advocates) are funded and thriving. 

Griffiths Law provides training to up and coming legal professionals. The Pathfinders Program, which pairs aspiring attorneys with mentors, contributes toward tuition for those Pathfinders who continue working at the firm while attending law school. The firm also has a culture that who empowers women. Over 70% of the firm’s attorneys at present are women, in roles varying from president (Suzanne Griffiths) to legal assistants starting their careers, and leadership structured the firm to encourage women to grow through the ranks.  

Finalist — Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

Denver

For more than 100 years, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has served clients nationally and internationally, with a strong focus on corporate finance and governance, mergers and acquisitions, natural resources, environmental law, real estate, intellectual property, and complex litigation. The lawyers, who operate out of a single office in Denver, have extensive experience working with companies in the energy, mining, technology, hospitality, private equity, and asset management industries. 

DGS is the exclusive Colorado member firm for Lex Mundi, a network of top-tier independent law firms across the U.S. and in more than 125 countries. With 145 attorneys and a 1:1 partner-to-associate ratio, the firm represents both Fortune 500 companies and startups. 

As a firm, DGS has been consistently recognized for its commitment to fostering a culture that empowers diversity, equity, and inclusion. Half of the firm’s executive committee members are women, and in 2021, DGS ranked 12th in Law360’s 2021 Glass Ceiling Report. In partnership with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), DGS and four other law firms formed the Denver Law Firm Coalition for Racial Equity. The Coalition’s mission is to make the Denver legal community a desirable place for attorneys of color – with an initial focus on African American attorneys – from across the country. 

In 2021, DGS completed 20,153 hours of legal pro bono work and community service. In 2024 the firm will relocate to the top three floors of Paradigm River North, a state-of-the-art office development in RiNo. 

MotoMinded Relocates to Mesa County

MotoMinded LLC, a small but efficient company with a passion for imaging, designing, and producing quality products for motorcycles, has announced its relocation from Colorado Springs to Mesa County.

MotoMinded specializes in manufacturing LED lighting and mounts for motorcycles. The company utilizes several advanced manufacturing techniques to produce products in-house along with outsourced billet CNC vendors. Their current capabilities include additive manufacturing, laser cutting and etching, and CNC routing. They are committed to sourcing as many materials as possible from U.S.-based suppliers and manufacturers and emphasize trail advocacy with donations to the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance.

Chis Vestal, owner of MotoMinded, stated, “We chose Mesa County for several reasons. The most important reason is a better quality of life for us and our employees. Outside the shop we love to ride our bicycles and motorcycles, hike and look forward to getting into water recreation on the Colorado River. The local outdoor recreation economy has grown to a point we feel can support us and we look forward to getting involved and help to grow it further.”

READ — Colorado’s State Parks: Economic Forces of Nature

MotoMinded has been working closely with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership throughout the process of relocating to Mesa County. Curtis Englehart, GJEP Executive Director stated, “We are very excited to announce the relocation of MotoMinded to the Grand Junction area! MotoMinded is a very impressive outdoor recreation manufacturing company that has a lot of potential to thrive in their new home. This relocation is a great example of GJEP’s vision to help create a strong and diverse economy in Mesa County.”

MotoMinded is working through the process of renovating its facility and will be utilizing the Enterprise Zone tax credit incentive gaining them incentives for job creation, employee training, and expenditures on capital investment.

As MotoMinded moves its operations to Mesa County, they plan to hire several positions. Currently, MotoMinded is seeking a full-time Production Operator. This position is responsible for assembling motorcycle accessories, performing quality control, and working closely with leadership on daily operations. For more information on this job posting, please contact [email protected].

 

About the Grand Junction Economic Partnership: The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) works to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the Grand Junction area by supporting high-impact capital investment and job creation. GJEP is a single stop for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the Town of Palisade, and surrounding communities of Colorado’s Grand Valley (Mesa County). Operating as a 501(c)3, GJEP offers free services that connect businesses with realtors, developers, the workforce, local leadership, and more. Visit www.gjep.org for more information.

 

Top Company 2022: Manufacturing

The outpouring of applications for this year’s Top Company awards is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of enterprises that do business in the state. Applications for the 35th annual awards numbered in the hundreds, and it was particularly encouraging to see so many companies rebounding from two years of COVID restrictions, with most posting revenue and employee gains approaching—and in some cases, exceeding—pre-pandemic numbers.

This year’s Top Company winners and finalists represent 13 industry categories, plus a startup category for companies in business less than four years. Entrants were judged on three criteria: outstanding achievement, financial performance and community involvement. The judging panel was made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial board and two representatives from the business community.

Winner — Growing Spaces

Pagosa Springs

Gardeners in Colorado looking to grow year-round can turn to Growing Spaces, which manufactures and installs geodesic greenhouse kits. The greenhouse is 100% solar powered and utilizes a thermal mass in the form of an above-ground pond. The company supports customers through blogs, videos and Facebook groups offering help with gardening challenges.

Growing Spaces purchased a new manufacturing facility and has used the additional space to improve production efficiency. The manufacturer also added solar, so both shops are run off 100% renewable energy.

Each year Growing Spaces offers an Urban Farming Grant for an underserved community. In 2022 the grant winners were Harlem Grown in New York City, and Valor Point VA Domiciliary in Lakewood. The 26-foot Growing Dome for Valor Point, scheduled for September installation, will be used for both inpatient and outpatient education, and to help veterans learn a new skill and get back into the workforce.

Employees are active in the Pagosa Springs community, and volunteer at the local food hubs and Habitat For Humanity. Employees get first choice of the produce grown in the company’s own domes, and Growing Spaces also donates the food it produces to the local food hubs in Pagosa Springs and Golden. Growing Spaces is looking to expand its presence in the Front Range, and hopes to open a new office and manufacturing facility in Denver in 2023. It also wants to establish hubs in other states and countries through either expansion or partnerships.

Finalist — Alpen High Performance Products

Louisville

Alpen High Performance Products custom manufactures super-insulating, thermally efficient residential and commercial windows and doors. The company uses a proprietary combination of component products including lightweight suspended-film technology, ultra-thin glass, and either fiberglass or fiberglass-reinforced uPVC framing systems.

Alpen’s new product, WinSert, is a high performance secondary window insert to improve existing single-glazed or lower-performing double-pane windows. The new product was recognized as a BuildingGreen Top 10 Product for 2022. Also, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Green Proving Ground (GPG) Program conducted nearly year-long testing and evaluation of WinSert secondary window inserts and reported that the inserts demonstrated up to 18% whole-building energy savings based on energy modeling.

After the December 2021 Marshall Fire, Alpen employees assisted with the relief efforts for neighbors in Louisville and Superior by collecting donated goods and supplies. Alpen is further helping with the long-term relief efforts by developing a specific window product line to assist with rebuilding homes. This product will make it more accessible for homeowners to rebuild with high efficiency window components, helping the fight against climate change.

Alpen hosts quarterly meetings to recognize employees and show appreciation for the hard work that goes into manufacturing this product. The company is a sustaining sponsor for the Colorado Green Building Guild (CGBG), helping make high performance building more accessible for all, and looks to become a major influencer in the retrofitting and upgrading of existing older building stock to bring it up to today’s energy performance standards.

Finalist — Agri-Inject

Yuma

Agri-Inject manufactures chemical and fertilizer injection systems that connect to irrigation systems. The equipment allows the irrigation systems to do double or triple duty by applying both water and fertilizers, chemicals, or other helpful products simultaneously. The system promotes environmental benefits, user safety, timely and precision application as well as cost savings for growers.

Since 2013, Agri-Inject has been undergoing an operational transformation. Beginning with a digital 3D model, the company reorganized the entire factory to promote efficient movement of people, product and information. It removed walls, installed lighting, polished old concrete, and designed and installed new storage and production cells. It expanded the facility by 40% and recently broke ground to add another 25%. There is also a one-piece flow production line for a product line that is about 60% of total business volume, switching from an outmoded batch philosophy and reducing assembly time by over 70%.

Among the company’s product innovations is ReflexCONNECT. The Reflex product line is centered around sophisticated controls to operate injection pumps featuring PLC control and touchscreen interfaces. ReflexCONNECT takes that step to the age of IoT (Internet of Things), bringing the control features to the web, allowing remote control and monitoring of equipment from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Agri-Inject works with schools to educate students about manufacturing, and holds a Manufacturing Day event, bringing in students from nearby schools for a tour of the facility, and discussion of products, markets and processes.

Good Company: Mike Shand, CEO of Bron Tapes

Mike Shand joined Bron Tapes as a sales representative in San Diego in 2003. The company manufactures, customizes and distributes adhesive tape of all kinds to industries ranging from aerospace to construction to film. Its Killer Red Tape is trademarked as “the world’s best double-sided tape.”

The 150-employee business now has locations in seven states beyond its Colorado headquarters, as well as Bron Aerotech and Bron Converting in Denver. Shand, who took the reins as CEO from Bron founder James Flynn in 2017, recently talked with ColoradoBiz about his career with the 45-year-old company and his plans for the future.

Mike Shand, 53

CEO of Bron Tapes 

 

Mike Shand 2

Hometown: Born in Phoenix, grew up in Torrance, California.

What he’s reading: “Sell or Be Sold,” by Grant Cardone

ColoradoBiz: How did you come to start at Bron Tapes? 

Mike Shand: It was kind of a friend of a friend. At that time, I was living in the western suburbs of Chicago, and I was selling land and homes, but I did not like the cold and I missed my family. I was single at the time. This job opened up, and I was going to go start for Bron in the Las Vegas branch.  

When I came back from Chicago to start my job in Las Vegas, they told me they didn’t have a spot for me, but to call our founder—his name is Jim Flynn—and Jim had a spot for me in San Diego. 

 

Tell me about your career path. How did you advance from sales to becoming CEO? 

I’m still a sales guy. That’s what I am. I’m still learning as I go, but I’m mostly geared toward sales. 

The answer is: I was a rookie salesperson and did really well early on, and then our founder, my boss [Flynn], asked me to take over the San Diego industrial location, so I did that for a period of time, maybe, 10 years. During that time, I was asked to participate in our aerospace business [Bron Aerotech], so I started to wear a dual hat: I was selling and managing our industrial sales team at the San Diego location, but I was also participating in our aerospace division in a sales role. 

Then, unsolicited by me, our founder, who at that time was trying to plan his succession, had looked outside the company for a potential successor, and that was not successful. Then he came to the realization that hiring somebody internally was the best path. So he showed up impromptu in San Diego one summer day along with his brother, and came in my office and asked me to take over for him. I was pretty speechless. I was not expecting it. That was about eight years ago. 

For about a year, I had a high level of frequency flying back and forth from San Diego to Denver each week in preparation for moving here. Then when I moved here, they named me president of the aerospace division in preparation for this position. I ran that for a couple years and then I took over this role five years ago. 

 

How has the company grown and changed in your tenure as CEO? 

Our model used to be: For every brick-and-mortar location that we had, we had converting capabilities, meaning we have a slitting machine—or two or three—in that location. What we started looking at as we were trying to build our brand is being consistent with how the material looks, how it’s packaged, and how it’s presented to the customer. It gets a little tricky when you try to duplicate that at 10 different locations. 

For us to get a really robust safety program and for us to get more efficient, we started to centralize our production. Currently, we have converting locations here in Colorado and two locations elsewhere. It’s really helped the bottom line, and it’s allowed us to become more consistent.  

We were looking at three big pieces of equipment [at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic] that were millions of dollars, and then when the lockdowns happened, we had to make the decision of whether we were going to go forward with that investment or hit the pause button. And thank god we hit the go button and did it. Those machines are now online and bringing us a lot of value—it increased our capability and increased our capacity. As of [June 2022], we had a record-setting month—our best-ever sales and profits from all three companies, not just one. 

 

What are the top initiatives and priorities at Bron in 2022? 

Our power statement, if you will, is that we are the premier producer, distributor and converter of pressure-sensitive tapes, specialty materials, and innovative solutions in North America. That’s really what we are. 

Currently, we sell into all 50 states and 48 foreign countries, but our brand is growing. Our quote-unquote law of familiarity with the customer with the Bron brand continues to grow across the globe. We’re looking at partnering with companies that supply innovative products to industry, whether it be manufacturing, fabrication, metalworking, trying to acquire new innovations . . . so that we’re ahead of our customers. What I mean by that is we’re able to provide a wider range of solutions for our customers’ customers than our competitors can. 

We are going to be coming online with a full e-commerce site for BronTapes.com. We’re targeting the end of this year, but no later than Q1 of next year. That’s a big shift for us, to be able to sell online. We’re way behind the eight ball on that; we should have done it 20 years ago.  

There is one new geography that we want to expand into, and that is in the Northeast. We are looking at, probably in the next 12 to 18 months, establishing a location in the Northeast. 

 

What’s your leadership philosophy? Do you have any advice for newly minted CEOs? 

I don’t like to be a micromanager. I know when I’m seeing what I like and what I don’t, but you have to allow the people the ability to share ideas and to use their own creativity when it is being designed to try and help the business.  

Not every idea is a home-run idea—certainly not every idea of mine is a home-run idea—but I feel like when you micromanage people, that you can get results, but they’re short-term and short-lived. If you allow the opportunity for an employee to spread their wings, to kind of make their own mark on the company, that has a greater impact—not only for the employee but for the business. 

 

Was there a mentor or someone you learned from along the way? 

Our founder, Jim Flynn, who just passed away in recent weeks. It was a blow to us. Jim used to do it all by himself. The truth is that I’ve got an incredible team, but it takes 10 of us to do what Jim did by himself. 

We were very grateful and honored and—in retrospect—appreciative that we had the national sales meeting to honor Jim while he was still alive at our 45th annual national sales meeting that we did in person in downtown Denver in May of this year. 

A lot of people flew in from around the country and around the world to pay tribute to Jim. In retrospect, it was great he was able to receive that while he was still here. 

 

Why do you like living in Colorado? What do you do when you’re not at work? 

I have two young kids, so they eat up a lot of time. I’ve gotten my son into golf, so that is a nice little reprieve to go out with him on the golf course. I like to go on a getaway trip with the kids on a family vacation, somewhere generally that has a beach or a pool for us. Just spending family time would be high on the list. 

I have one vice: I love the sport of horse racing, so I follow that sport very closely. I love horses and own a couple that race. 

When I moved here from Southern California, people used to ask me, “What do you like better? Do you like San Diego better?” Some people would say, “Why would you ever move from San Diego?” But it’s apples and it’s oranges. It really is. One thing I would say about Colorado is that the people here are really genuine. I like doing business in the state of Colorado: People are people. 

 

Any other comments, Mike? 

I’m excited for the future. If you buy what the news says—and I follow the news from the left all the way to the right to try to get a good understanding of what’s going on in the business world—if you buy into people saying we’re going into a recession or there’s already a recession, or there’s going to be growing inflation or stagflation, the truth is that, through our 45-year history, in the toughest of times, Bron has really persevered the best. We really have. We’ve had a reduction sometimes in total revenue, but our profitability and us coming out of it on the other side, we’ve always been bigger and better.  

The reason for that is: We don’t just have great products and solutions to offer our customers, it’s because of our people. We have great customer service. Our outside salespeople—we call them our application specialists—they are really experts in the area of finding the right solution for every customer. 

The interview was edited for length and clarity.

GenXYZ 2022: Finalists (11-15)

This year’s Top 25 Young Professionals vary in their backgrounds and their professional pursuits – they’re leaders in banking, real estate, nonprofits, law, entrepreneurship and architecture, to name just a few. 

Some are lifelong Coloradans who couldn’t conceive of living anywhere else; others are transplants from the East and West coasts or somewhere between. What they have in common is a relentless achiever’s mindset, a can-do spirit and a desire to do good for others as they do well for themselves.

Read on to learn more about this year’s GenXYZ finalists.

Shawnee Adelson, 38 

Executive Director, Colorado Brewers Guild | Denver

Shawnee Adelson
Shawnee Adelson, Executive Director at Colorado Brewers Guild

Shawnee Adelson has worked with the Colorado Brewers Guild for nearly seven years and has consistently proven herself as a valuable ally to more than 400 independent brewers in the state. 

Taking over as the nonprofit trade assocation’s executive director when the position was vacated in 2019, Adelson had little time to settle into the job before COVID unleashed its wrath on the business landscape. She worked tirelessly to support breweries, communicating to them weekly on how to navigate shut-down orders, mask mandates and constantly changing ordinances. Efforts from the guild included teaming up with the Left Hand Brewing Foundation to create the Colorado Strong Fund, a campaign to provide for those impacted by COVID, working with Gov. Jared Polis and the Liquor Enforcement Division (LED) so that breweries could deliver and sell beer to-go during Colorado stay-at-home orders, and lobbying to ensure reopening guidelines for restaurants, including breweries and brewpubs.  

Operating as a one-person team after COVID-induced layoffs of two guild staffers, Adelson juggled multiple jobs during this time, including member communications, member recruitment, event planning, and legislative and regulatory advocacy. She also strived to maintain the guild’s financial stability to ensure the organization would survive the pandemic. 

Fortunately, Adelson was able to weather the storm and hire a business-development manager in 2021 and a marketing and events manager in 2022. 

Adelson is particularly proud of two legislative priorities that passed during the pandemic:   

In 2020, Senate Bill 20-194 was signed into law, allowing brew pubs with multiple locations to sell beer to-go from both locations if the beer is brewed under the same ownership. Another big win was SB21-082. The bill expands festival permits – previously limited to wineries—to include Colorado licensed breweries and brew pubs. Thus, breweries can sell samples as well as beer to-go and invite other breweries, wineries and distilleries to participate.  

Colin McIntosh, 31  

CEO & Founder, Sheets & Giggles | Denver 

Rh 0378 Edit
Colin McIntosh, CEO & Founder of Sheets & Giggles

Colin McIntosh is reinventing the bedding industry through comfort, sustainability and puns. He started the sustainable bedding brand with a joke and Indiegogo campaign and now oversees the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brand in the bedding industry.  

As the sole employee during the company’s first six months in business in 2018, McIntosh received more than 6,000 orders and generated nearly half a million dollars in revenue. He finished 2021 with more than $9 million in revenue.  

McIntosh’s business is build on this concept: The bedding industry can sell better products for better prices without retail margins, give people a good customer experience, unlimited returns and full confidence in their products. Sheets & Giggles entered the space in 2018 with previously unseen levels of transparency and customer engagement to ensure it was giving shoppers a memorable experience at every touchpoint in an incredibly competitive space. This means bending over for customers. Defects? Free replacement. Delayed shipment? Amazon gift card. Social follow? Relentless giveaways. McIntosh “personally answers reviews and Facebook posts within minutes,” says Jason Michael, senior vice president at markeing firm Elasticity, who nominated McIntosh for this GenXYZ honor. 

Sheets & Giggles also strives to share its prosperity with worthy causes. The company donated $20,000 to koala conservation in 2019, $40,000 to Colorado COVID relief in 2020, and $28,000 to cancer organizations in 2021. The company is also an environmental steward, planting one tree for every Sheets & Giggles sale. To date, the company has planted nearly 70,000 trees; it also tracks how many pounds of carbon dioxide those trees absorb every year and posts the figures on the company website. 

McIntosh is a graduate of Techstars Denver and has remained active in the program, mentoring students and guiding Techstars classes.  

Anthony Halsch, 29  

CEO, ROXBOX Containers | Denver

Anthony Halsch
Anthony Halsch, CEO of ROXBOX Containers

Halsch’s first company in Colorado, Overcon, disrupted the container sales industry by using new technology in the space to sell and deliver containers. He had the first e-commerce platform to buy new and used shipping containers in Colorado. 

While expanding Overcon to Texas, Halsch was able to create a new shipping lane for containers between Houston and San Antonio so that his containers would arrive without the shipper having to pay for transport, increasing margins dramatically. 

Out of this came his idea for what he calls the “BeerCan” model, fashioined out of a 20-foot shipping container. This product is now the best selling unit at ROXBOX Containers Inc. With ROXBOX, Halsch and his team were able to create a product to assist restaurants with extra seating during the pandemic. “The PatioBox” was developed and received two-day approval from the Denver Building Department for placement on Larimer Street in downtown Denver, creating covid-safe seating for an additional 24 patrons per establishment. 

ROXBOX was started in a dirt lot in Erie, Colorado, with a good idea but  little knowledge of what was needed to produce a modified container for serving beer to thousands of people. Halsch was able to sell and build containers as he bootstrapped the operations with little outside investment. After receiving a large investment from the City of Denver, ROXBOX hit the hiring requirement for the city in hiring 14 people in the first two months of receiving funding. This enabled the company to move into a 31,000-square-foot warehouse, and it increased revenue more than fourfold from 2020 to 2021. The company how has 25 employees and a pipeline to double or triple revenue in 2022. 

A graduate of Colorado School of Mines, Halsch was a board member of the Denver Transportation Club for three years, hosting events to educate students about the transportation industry. He also was a board member of the Golden-based nonprofit GoFarm for three years, helping to build 20-foot containers to pull behind trailers for cold food storage, and dedicating many hours to business development, planning events and assisting at events for GoFarm.    

Kristin Strohm, 38  

President & CEO, Common Sense Institute | Greenwood Village

Kristin Strohm
Kristin Strohm, President & CEO of Common Sense Institute

As co-founder (and now president & CEO) of Common Sense Institute, Kristin Strohm is guided by the belief that when people have solid information, they are more likely to make sound choices. Free markets and free people function when they have facts and data to frame vital choices.  Strohm took the non-partisan nonprofit Common Sense Institute from vision to reality, and now CSI is driving the debate across the state on the most important policy issues. 

While in her 20s, Strohm, along with her business partner started Starboard Group, a groundbreaking political and nonprofit fundraising firm that enabled clients to capitalize on the momentum of their last election cycle and successfully build and expand their base.  Several firms have since copied this successful model designed and executed by Starboard Group. 

Since its founding in 2010, CSI has become a leading voice in Colorado, providing citizens and leaders facts they need to make informed decisions about the future for their families, and to empower state lawmakers to shape policy with sound fiscal and economic research. Building CSI to the point that it exerts this much influence has been no small task. Strohm has amassed a top-flight board of respected community leaders; she’s been a dogged fundraiser; and she’s hired a smart, ethical and committed staff of economists and bi-partisan fellows whose insights are helping policymakers and the public reach important decisions with facts as their guide. 

Strohm defies the stereotype or label of any political party. She’s been a trailblazer in the LGBTQ movement, recognized by a gay rights organization for her commitment to kicking down-barriers for same-sex couples. In 2016, she received the Ally Award from the pro LGBTQ organization One Colorado in recognition of her work.  

She was the only Republican board member of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the security of elections. For several years, she was the volunteer chair of the Denver Area Boy Scouts Annual Sports Breakfast, shattering  fundraising records under her watch, and she was a six-year board member and two-term chair of the Women’s Bean Project.  

Francis LeGasse Jr., 39 

Managing Partner, Assured Senior Living | Wheat Ridge 

Francis LeGasse Jr.
Francis LeGasse Jr., Managing Partner at Assured Senior Living

Francis LeGasse Jr. is the co-owner of Assured Senior Living and Sevens Home Care. At the age of 25, after having watched his parents provide care for his grandfather living with Parkinson’s, he joined forces with a college friend to create a different future for the way we age. 

The two purchased a small home-care agency in the Castle Rock area, then added a couple of existing memory care residential homes in Lakewood and Castle Rock. LeGasse learned the business inside and out, doing everything from hands-on care to house repairs to training his staff to providing house tours for new move-ins. The multi-tasking helped leave them with enough revenue to survive and grow the business.  

LeGasse was one of the first senior-care providers to recognize that shifting demographics required a stronger role for the primary supporting family members. He proactively embraced clear, consistent, two-way communication with families of those in his care, and he searched for ways to modernize an antiquated, siloed industry. 

Assured Senior Living has set the stage for a new way of thinking about senior care. For example, he often asks partner providers such as hospice and home-health providers to collaborate when they have a shared patient.  

Having started small in order to learn the market, Francis and businss partner Brian Turner have grown to 10 residential care homes from Castle Rock to Wheat Ridge; their home care business is now a steady supplier of staff to other senior care providers.   

Francis takes his business and the quality of life for those in his care seriously. And personally. He became certified in renowned dementia care expert Teepa Snow’s “Positive Approach to Dementia” so he could better serve his residents and continually train and coach his staff.  

GenXYZ 2022: Finalists (6-10)

This year’s Top 25 Young Professionals vary in their backgrounds and their professional pursuits – they’re leaders in banking, real estate, nonprofits, law, entrepreneurship and architecture, to name just a few. 

Some are lifelong Coloradans who couldn’t conceive of living anywhere else; others are transplants from the East and West coasts or somewhere between. What they have in common is a relentless achiever’s mindset, a can-do spirit and a desire to do good for others as they do well for themselves.

Read on to learn more about this year’s GenXYZ finalists.

Jessica Ostoyich, 38

Market Director, Mortenson | Denver 

Jessica Ostoyich
Jessica Ostoyich, Marketing Director at Mortenson

Jessica Ostoyich started her career as a field engineer at Mortenson’s Central Park (formerly Stapleton) project.  

A 15-year veteran of the company, Ostoyich has since overseen projects such as Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Woodward corporate headquarters in Fort Collins, Facebook’s massive data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah, and The HUB Project in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Along the way, she’s built strong community partnerships with local nonprofits, making an impact in the communities in which she works and lives. Two years ago, Ostoyich was named project executive and is now responsible for Mortenson’s Corporate Market, which also includes life sciences, manufacturing, industrial and corporate projects. 

She credits great mentors with helping her chart a path in the building industry and aims to provide the same support for others. She’s become a vital leader in Mortenson’s national event for Women in Construction Week, leading discussions at Mortenson’s “Cup of Joe” conversations, and coaching field team members. 

Ostoyich is currently overseeing a new $15.5 million research laboratory on the South Table Mountain Campus of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The 15,700-square-foot laboratory will provide multipurpose lab space for cross-disciplinary research within the fields of chemistry, materials science, bioscience and engineering. This project will be the first of its kind on the NREL campus. 

Ostoyich has served on the boards of Firefly Autism and the American Society of Civil Engineers Concrete Canoe Committee and is a founding board member of the Eagle Mountain Chamber of Commerce in Eagle Mountain, Utah.  

Ginnie Logan, 39

Program Director, Chinook Fund | Denver 

Ginnie Logan
Ginnie Logan, Program Director at Chinook Fund

Born and raised in Denver, Ginnie Logan has worked for several nonprofits in the Denver area, including one she founded—Big Hair, Bigger Dreams—advocating for and providing opportunities for students needing adults to advocate for and support them.  

As a leader focused on equity, Logan has led efforts to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Through this lens and her lived experience, she has positively impacted thousands of individuals and families in classrooms, schools and communities across metro Denver and the country. 

One of her strengths is her ability to engage in interdisciplinary efforts that connect with a wide range of community members. 

This ability is evident in her current role as Program Director at Chinook Fund, a Denver-based community foundation working across Colorado to support organizations and leaders engaged in community organizing and social justice. Logan has brought her strengths in planning, project management, change management and teaching to strengthen the organization’s cornerstone program, the Giving Project. She has also been active within the National Giving Project Network, a collaborative of 11 social justice organizatons across the country advancing political education, donor organizing and movement building. 

One of her most notable achievements was the curating, co-editing and publishing of the book, “Black Girl Civics.” By incorporating intersecting identities of race, gender and age, Logan and her co-editor and authors have reframed these issues from overlooking and minimizing Black girls and women to centering them. In doing so she is challenging educators, youth development professionals and policy makers to consider how to improve civic education not only for Black girls, but any marginalized community.  

Erin Beffa, 36

Threat Intelligence Practice Lead, Digital Silence | Denver 

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Erin Beffa, Threat Intelligence Practice Lead at Digital Silence

Working as a one-woman department, Erin Beffa created an open-source intelligence (OSINT) practice at Digital Silence from scratch, bringing external security intelligence to information security clients.  

Beffa works one-on-one with clients to ensure online security. This includes clients in the legal field, whom she helps with case matters such as legal and plaintiff discovery. Beffa also has worked several financial cases to untangle account ownerships, business registrations, asset identification, cryptocurrency research and theft.  

Beffa was accepted to teach a workshop at this year’s National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) conference in Phoenix. This provides an opportunity to present OSINT methods and techniques to the legal field, specifically to help paralegals.  

In 2018, Beffa earned a lifetime pass to the NOLA security conference in New Orleans, also known as a black badge, after her team won a Capture the Flag-style competition. The competition consisted of hunting down specific clues (flags) online using OSINT methodology. These competitions require a wide OSINT skill set to enable participants to investigate all corners of the internet to solve the clues provided.  

Beffa laso has contributed intelligence found online to law enforcement case files. This involves finding specific details regarding missing persons and providing that data to law enforcement. She is also an active participant in several online communities sharing tips and resources with fellow OSINT researchers.  

Beffa volunteers for the Innocent Lives Foundation (ILF), a nonprofit working to identify online child predators and bring them to justice. Many online predators use fake personas; Beffa and other ILF volunteers work to un-mask these predators. The work helps to stop child predators before any victims are hurt. 

Beffa has been invited as a guest lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis to speak with law students on the advantages of using OSINT (open-source intelligence).   

Victoria Donovan, 29  

CEO, Clinically Media | Denver

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Victoria Donovan, CEO of Clinically Media

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, only 25% to 30% of drugs in clinical trials make it past Phase 3. A University of Pennsylvania study concluded that around 86% of clinical trials do not reach their patient enrollment timelines. 

Victoria Donovan established Clinically Media to improve these numbers; she’s also redefining what it means to recruit and retain patients for clinical trials. Her Clinically Media team seeks to advance medicine and improve patient outcomes, while bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront of clinical research and streamlining processes with cutting-edge technology. 

Clinically Media recognizes the historical exclusion of marginalized communities and strives to break down the systemic barriers still present. For example, Donovan established a partnership with Uber Health to provide transportation to and from clinical trials to increase accessibility for all patients. 

To address the challenge of tracking patients in clinical trials, Donovan launched Clinically Portal, a proprietary software designed to help research sites track patients as they move through the enrollment process, while giving the Clinically Media team and clients valuable insights into recruitment campaign success. Donovan is continually evolving the software and services Clinically Media offers to provide the most valuable product to patients and industry professionals, leading to more medical advancements and more patients served. 

Through her company, Donovan supports women in business and the life sciences and promotes diversity in clinical research and beyond. She also started an internship program with University of Colorado Denver, CU Boulder and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to invest in young professionals in the life sciences industry.  

Bobby W. Dishell, 29 

Associate Attorney, Moye White LLP | Denver

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Bobby W. Dishell, Associate Attorney at Moye White LLP

At just 29 and barely two years out of law school, Bobby Dishell is a publicly elected official with an active practice at a well-respected law firm. 

As a member of Moye White’s real estate team, Dishell focuses on real estate transactional matters, including industrial acquisition, development, leasing and disposition; commercial lease agreements; and multifamily assets. He also assists clients with solar leasing and development and other advanced energy matters. 

Dishell also is a member of the Regional Transportation District’s board of directors for District D. In this  elected position, he serves as vice chair of the Performance Committee, which oversees RTD’s GM/CEO evaluation. He also serves on the Ad Hoc Audit Committee, which is tasked with reforming RTD’s internal audit committee structure and overall internal audit process. 

Dishell spends about 40 hours a month tending to RTD-specific work, attending meetings and preparing for upcoming projects, in addition to his legal practice and community involvement. The RTD board position has also allowed him to develop expertise in areas important to his legal practice, including requirements related to federal funding, the impact of TABOR on the ability to increase revenue, and other public finance and general board governance matters.  

Dishell writes frequently on sustainability – he’s currently focused on solar power – and how it can impact the real estate industry; his work has been featured in Law Week Colorado and ColoradoBiz 

Celebrating Black Business Owners in Boulder: Leontyne Ashmore’s Barefoot-inspired Shoes

Last month was Black Business Month, a time to celebrate Black-owned businesses here in Colorado and across the country and honor the rich heritage of Black entrepreneurship and Black-owned businesses. It’s important that the Boulder community recognizes the significance of supporting Black-owned small businesses, not just for one week or one month, but all year round.

READ— Empowering Black Women in Leadership

I founded my company, Lisbeth Joe, after developing diastasis recti—or separation of the abs—from childbirth. I realized going barefoot helped make my body stronger. I started wearing minimalist shoes, which are nice and wide, so there is plenty of room for your toes to move freely and your whole foot to move in comfort. They are lightweight and flexible, with no artificial arch support or heel elevation.

However, I still needed shoes to wear in the workplace and I couldn’t find any stylish options. So, I decided to quit my job and start my own business making stylish barefoot-inspired shoes.

Like most small business owners, I’ve had to get creative to survive during the pandemic, and I find myself doing the same thing now since I’m dealing with production delays. My sales are down this year as supply chain issues continue to result in significant inventory delays. My winter boots were delivered after the winter season had already ended and my summer loafers and summer sandals, which were supposed to come in May, still haven’t even arrived.

Thankfully, Instagram has been a great platform for me. It’s become the place where I get most of my sales and has afforded me the ability to keep my business afloat. Social media has been a lifesaver when it comes to supporting small businesses. I use several of the available business tools including Instagram Reels, which helps me demonstrate how to style some of my shoes, primarily the boots. I’ve noticed people like to save these videos to refer back to when they’re putting together an outfit.

I also use social media to post giveaways and conduct polls to drive engagement from my followers and utilize Business Manager to place targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to promote my business.

It is crucial that Black-owned businesses have greater access to these digital tools. Small business surveys show that the pandemic had a devastating impact on their ability to survive, where 26% of minority-led businesses closed, and many more faced a troubling drop in sales.

That’s why I believe it’s so critical to support other business owners. I contribute a portion of my sales to Kiva, which directly benefits women entrepreneurs. It’s a great organization, providing opportunities and empowerment to female entrepreneurs all over the world who can’t access the financial services they need.

This month is a reminder to continue to empower Black business owners in our communities and advocate for economic inclusivity for all — during this month and all year round I encourage everyone to go out and support their local Black-owned businesses.

Leontyne Head Shot 1Leontyne Ashmore is a Chartered and Certified accountant, with a background in corporate finance. Having left that world, she founded Lisbeth Joe to follow her passion for fashion.