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Who Will Be Crowned ‘CEO Of The Year’ in 2022? — Meet Your Finalists

ColoradoBiz has announced the 10 finalists for our 2022 CEO of the Year, awarded annually to the head of a Colorado company who best exemplifies the qualities of leadership, vision, company success and community involvement. Nominees from around the state were judged by a panel made up of the magazine’s editorial board.

The CEO of the Year winner will be revealed and profiled along with the other finalists in the upcoming Winter 2022 issue of ColoradoBiz, slated for delivery to subscribers Dec. 1.

In previous years, we’ve had the honor of featuring incredible business professionals, owners and CEOs during our annual ColoradoBiz Winter Print edition, and 2022 is no exception. Sure, being crowned CEO Of The Year is a special accolade that should evoke a sense of pride in every CEO that’s considered for this outstanding award. However, the ColoradoBiz staff feels just as honored to spotlight the incredible Colorado business community and the remarkable leaders that represent the entrepreneurial spirit of our Centennial state.

Curious about past candidates and winners of our CEO Of The Year award? Click here to access our digital catalog and discover Colorado’s most promising business leaders.

Top Company 2022: Tourism and Hospitality

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 — Travelers Haven


Travelers Haven
Travelers Haven Team Photo

Whether it is a first responder flying across the country to assist on a natural disaster or a technical consultant placed on a project, the need to house nomadic workers is on the rise, and Travelers Haven is at the forefront of that.  

Travelers Haven strives to secure the best housing at the best rates, and manages every aspect of the short-term housing process to save clients’ money, time and stress, offering a complete suite of tools and features to inform and optimize every housing program.  

In 2021, Travelers Haven placed almost 6,000 workers in more than 2,500 locations with an average stay of four months. As of June 2022, Travelers Haven had seen a 25% growth increase over 2021 and is projected to outperform 2020’s revenue by 40%, which would mark this year as the company’s strongest period of growth since its inception 14 years ago.

Finalist — Footers


Footers Catering provides a special Mediterranean Shrimp dish at an event

After monumental obstacles as a result of COVID-19, Footers rebounded impressively in 2021 and is set to continue on an upward trajectory well past 2022. 

“The hit our business took in 2020 was unlike anything the company had ever experienced in 40 years of business,” the firm shared in its Top Company application. “Like so many hospitality companies, due to the restrictions on gatherings, our revenue at Footers dropped 70%.” 

That set the stage for a dramatic comeback for the longtime caterer. In 2021, Footers served more than 450 events and more than 57,000 guests. Meanwhile, the company completed arguably its boldest undertaking yet: the opening of Social Capitol in Arvada. The venue boasts 20,000 feet of event space, a mezzanine, and a 20-foot customizable bar.  

To Footers, the completion of Social Capitol was not just a grand accomplishment, it was proof that the company’s owners would do anything to support their vision and invest in the catering business in a time of uncertainty.  

Construction was set to break ground in March 2020, and owners April and Anthony Lambatos faced the critical decision of whether to move forward with the development or not. Their decision proved motivational to the entire team. Going ahead with the plan underscored their belief that when the catering business returned, Footers would be poised to serve with the same standards of excellence that had been its hallmark for 40 years, but with even more resources. 

Footers forecasts 100% revenue growth over the next two years compared with 2021. 

Finalist — Harvest Hosts


Harvest Host 3537 Karen Blue Montavons Berries
Enjoying one of Harvest Host’s beautiful Colorado locations

Harvest Hosts is a unique membership club for RVers that allows access to stays at more than 6,600 locations across North America. The locations range from farms to golf courses to breweries and everything in between. When these property owners or managers register as a host, they earn extra income and — perhaps even more beneficial — they provide an environment for helping to uplift and support small businesses around them. 

“On average, each host garners an additional $13,000 in revenue each year from Harvest Hosts members, with some even earning more than $50,000 in additional revenue,” the company says. 

Despite the company’s national reach, CEO Joel Holland makes sure that Colorado still holds a special place in Harvest Hosts’ heart. Harvest sponsors the annual Vail Rotary Club Duck Race, the marquee event and largest fundraiser of the year for the club. Holland is also the vice president of Vail Mountain Rescue and is an active member of the rescue team, totaling an impressive 49 missions over the last two years.

Carlos Abisambra’s challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic

Travelershaven Carlos 1 1 1

Carlos Abisambra

CEO | Travelers Haven | Denver

Abisambra, 36, became CEO of Travelers Haven two months before the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, which presented him with a multitude of difficult decisions to ensure the sustainability of the Denver-based provider of temporary housing solutions. Among Abisambra’s immediate challenges as CEO: layoffs, reduced pay/hours for some employees, and budget cuts.

Throughout the worst months of COVID, Abisambra stressed transparency, sending out email updates three times a week. He took a pay cut himself amounting to 40% of his salary.

As part of his efforts to support client relationships, Abisambra worked closely with the Travelers’ account support teams to conduct customer outreach to better understand the challenges customers faced during the pandemic.

Thus, Travelers Haven was able to adapt customer care and support strategies, and after a precarious 2020, the 113-employee company has rebounded impressively, growing 36% in the past four months.


This article is part of ColoradoBiz magazine’s 2021 CEO of the Year feature. Read more about this year’s finalists: