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Top Company Finalists 2009

ColoradoBiz Staff //September 1, 2009//

Top Company Finalists 2009

ColoradoBiz Staff //September 1, 2009//


In a year of great economic challenge, being selected a Top Company finalist carries a deeper significance — it’s as hard to stay on top as it took to get there.

Top Company is Colorado’s most competitive business awards program, judged on the basis of sustained financial performance, operational excellence and community involvement.

Companies submit or are nominated to the program. Long-time sponsor Deloitte selects finalists after rigorous evaluations. Then a panel of business professionals and leading policy officials convenes to determine winners in each category.

Now in its 22nd consecutive year, Top Company and its roster of winners represent the best of Colorado business. The 33 finalists profiled on the following pages represent the class of 2009’s highest achievers.

Winners in each category will be announced Sept. 15 at an awards luncheon in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Contact Kelly Ness at [email protected] or (303) 662-5222 for registration information. You can also visit the “events” tab at


Bill Barrett Corp.
Years in business: seven
Location: Denver
CEO: Fredrick Barrett
Employees: 274
Company snapshot: The Bill Barrett Corp. (NYSE: BBG) explores for and develops natural gas and oil in the Rocky Mountain Region. Its development and exploration assets are located in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Natural gas makes up 96 percent of its proved reserves. Its net income for 2008 was
$107.6 million – a nearly 300 percent increase over 2007. Net production of gas and oil rose 27 percent during the period.
Notable practices: The company has been increasing the number of wells per pad to limit disturbance to the landscape and has implemented a water management system that eliminates thousands of truck trips per year. It’s also pioneering the use of completion and production equipment that nearly eliminates water emissions.
Community involvement: Bill Barrett Corp. matches employee donation requests up to $4,250. Its fundraising activities include the 2009 Heart Walk Team, the National Sports Center for the Disabled and United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. Every year, the company chooses a charitable cause to support, such as the Denver Rescue Mission and Toys for Tots.

Newmont Mining
Years in business: 89
Location: Greenwood Village
CEO: Richard O’Brien
Employees: 34,000
Company snapshot: Newmont (NYSE: NEM) is one of the largest gold companies in the world and the only one listed in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Fortune 500. In 2007, Newmont became the first gold company selected to be part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The majority of the company’s 34,000 employees and contractors work at core operations in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia and Ghana. The company’s net income in 2008 was $853 million, compared to a $1.89 billion loss in 2007.
Notable achievement: In 2008, Newmont significantly increased its non-reserve mineralization while purchasing the remaining 33.33 percent interest in Boddington, Australia.
Community involvement: Newmont works with the mining sector, governments and host communities to monitor work and curb corruption. It also actively participates in the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative. Newmont Nevada participated in a four-party agreement with county officials that led to the rejuvenation of a dilapidated mobile home park.

Tri-State Generation
Years in business: 58
Location: Westminster
CEO: Ken Anderson
Employees: 1,137
Company snapshot: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association supplies energy that electric cooperatives deliver to small towns and rural communities in the West. The not-for-profit consumer-owned cooperative provides electricity to 44 member co-ops throughout the Rocky Mountain West and has a service territory of 250,000 square miles.
Notable practices: Tri-State is investing in clean coal demonstration projects, exploring the most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its generating plants. It has distributed more than 500,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to rural consumers by providing an incentive of $1 per bulb.
Community involvement: Tri-State has provided financial incentives to two separate school districts, rewarding their decisions to integrate high-efficiency, geothermal air-handling systems in the construction of new schools. Its charitable efforts include $150,000 in donations ($50,000 each) to community colleges in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska. Other charitable efforts include donations to the Ronald McDonald House, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the United Way.


Years in business: 93
Location: Greenwood Village
CEO: Robert Engel
Employees: 700
Company snapshot: CoBank is a $63 billion cooperative bank that provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers nationwide. In addition to serving its direct borrowers, the bank provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit System associations and other partners across the country. CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and maintains an international representative office in Singapore
Notable practice: CoBank reported record financial results for 2008, with net income at $533.4 million, a 28 percent increase over 2007.
Community involvement: The bank’s corporate giving program provides for a $5,000 directed donation for each of the directors who serve on the board. Supported charities include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Food Bank of the Rockies and the United Way. Through employees’ $200 directed donations, CoBank supported more than 300 nonprofit organizations.

Denver Community Credit Union
Years in business: 75
Location: Denver
CEO: Carla Hedrick
Employees: 82
Company snapshot: The Denver Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that serves anyone who lives, works, volunteers or attends school in the city and county of Denver. Its services include loans, checking and saving.
Notable practice: Since 2005, more than 4,600 adults and youth have received free financial education, and more than 40 organizations received support from the cooperative.
Community involvement: The credit union received the 2008 Community Impact Award from the Colorado Credit Union Association. It supports community events and several local organizations that work to provide goods and services to those in need.

Pinnacol Assurance
Years in business: 94
Location: Denver
CEO: Ken Ross
Employees: 635
Company snapshot: Pinnacol Assurance, a 2006 ColoradoBiz Top Company winner, provides workers’ compensation insurance for more than 57,000 Colorado businesses. It covers nearly 1.5 million workers – 57 percent of the state’s work force. Pinnacol operates as a mutual insurance company and serves as the source of coverage for businesses that, due to their size or accident history, are unable to obtain coverage from private carriers.
Notable achievements: Pinnacol has lowered rates by 42 percent over the past four years, saving Colorado businesses $205 million. In 2009, 89 percent of policyholders received dividends, totaling $120 million. Over the past five years, Pinnacol has returned $347 million to Colorado businesses.
Community involvement: The Pinnacol Foundation awards college scholarships to the children of Colorado workers injured or killed on the job, regardless of which insurer handled the parent’s claim. The foundation awarded $246,500 to 84 students for the 2009-2010 academic year, bringing its total to more than $1 million.


Years in business: 15
Location: Centennial
CEO: Tom Cycyota
Employees: More than 300
Company snapshot: AlloSource provides specialized bone products for neurosurgical and orthopedic spine surgery and fusions, and processes ligaments and tendon replacement tissue to repair torn tendons. The nonprofit was founded in 1994 as the Mile High Tissue Bank.
Notable practices: In 2008, AlloSource made process changes to accommodate the time-sensitive production needs of Osteocel, the industry’s only viable stem cell product.  Osteocel promotes the growth of new bone cells. In 2008, LABS Inc., an AlloSource company, opened new facilities in St. Louis and Philadelphia and also moved into a new facility in Centennial. These laboratories offer the full range of infectious disease testing.
Community involvement: In 2008, AlloSource allocated nearly 45 percent of its annual revenue to its Organ Procurement Organization corporate partners. The money was used to fund organ and tissue donor education and awareness programs. AlloSource also sponsors the AlloSource Tissue Collaborative, a forum that enables best practices for tissue recovery to be shared.

Bonfils Blood Center
Years in business: 66
Location: Denver
CEO: Thomas C. Puckett
Employees: 435
Company snapshot: The nonprofit Bonfils Blood Center provides more than 80 percent of the state’s blood supply and has collected more than 3 million blood donations for the benefit of more than 9 million people.
Notable achievement: Last summer, Bonfils began a capital project to renovate and upgrade its Lowry headquarters. The blood center secured a $6 million private equity bond that will allow it to adopt new industry standards, acquire new testing platforms, replace the roof, resurface the parking lot and make improvements to the facility.
Community involvement: Bonfils had more than 110,000 individuals donate more than 195,000 units of blood in 2008, helping more than 585,000 patients. It operates seven fixed-site community donor centers, including centers in Pueblo and Sterling, and partners with more than 1,300 businesses, civic groups and faith-based organizations across the state to hold mobile blood drives.

Centura Health
Years in business: 13
Location: Englewood
CEO: Gary Campbell
Employees: 13,000
Company snapshot: The state’s largest health-care provider, Centura Health is sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health System. While the organization is relatively young, its 12 hospitals have served Colorado communities for decades, some for more than 125 years, from Boulder County and mountain communities to rural communities surrounding Pueblo and Canon City.
Notable achievement: Over the past three years, Centura has invested more than $700 million in its communities and facilities, including renovations and capital additions and new technology such as an electronic medical record system, the da Vinci  Surgical System and CyberKnife. 
Community involvement: In fiscal year 2009, Centura Health contributed $15.6 million to nearly 300 community service activities throughout the state, including parish nurse programs, flu shot clinics, blood drives and family education classes.


Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP
Years in business: 40
Location: Denver
CEO: Bruce James
Employees: 300
Company snapshot: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is the 174th largest law firm in the country, as measured by revenue, and the 130th most profitable law firm, as measured by profits per partner. 
Notable achievements: The firm completed two mergers in 2007 and 2008. It merged with Schreck Brignone to increase its Western footprint and establish itself as a leading private equity and gaming industry law firm; it merged with Hatch and Parent to expand into California and enhance its natural resource practice.
Community involvement: Of the firm’s 128 Denver attorneys, 81 sit on local nonprofit or civic boards. The firm created a community relations manager position to organize philanthropic and community efforts, supporting 185 nonprofit groups in 2008. The firm provides annual informal training for attorneys to learn about ways to get involved in the community and the skills necessary for successful board participation.

Gutterman Griffiths PC
Years in business: 7
Location: Littleton
CEO: Sheila Gutterman
Employees: 18
Company snapshot: Gutterman Griffiths offers clients going through a divorce a range of options from complex litigation to resolution-oriented cooperative alternatives.
Notable practice: The firm is a proponent of collaborative law, which presents a unique way of handling family law that focuses on the needs of each member of the family as the spouses separate.  In collaborative cases, the parties agree to avoid going to court and bring in the experts they need to determine the best solution for their families.
Community involvement: The firm provides assistance in pro-bono and low-fee legal cases. It also presents seminars, workshops, lectures and videos; serves on commissions and task forces, and publishes numerous articles and books. Programs the firm has been involved with include the Women’s Vision Foundation, the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Family Services and the Domestic Violence Task Force.

Holme Roberts & Owen LLP
Years in business:  112
Location: Denver
CEO: Patty Fontneau
Employees: 483
Company snapshot: Holme Roberts & Owen, one of the oldest law firms in the Rocky Mountain Region, has been built on creating lasting relationships with entrepreneurial pioneers, including railroads, mining, oil and gas, complex business transactions, technology and the environment. It has grown into one of Denver’s few truly international law firms, with approximately 250 lawyers and eight other offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and Europe.
Notable achievement: The firm played a key role in advising Boulder-based Lefthand Networks Inc. in connection with the $360 million sale of the company to Hewlett-Packard. It has continued to represent a variety of U.S.-based Olympic organizations, including USA Swimming, basketball, hockey and others. It achieved a significant victory for the major U.S. record companies in a case involving the illegal sharing of music over the Internet.
Community involvement:  The firm organizes numerous projects and volunteer events throughout the year such as fundraising lunches, book fairs, blood drives and bowl-a-thons.  The firm has participated in the daily delivery of hot lunches to the elderly through the Meals on Wheels program and donates more than 200 turkeys every year as part of a Thanksgiving food basket program.


Colorado Uplift
Years in business: 27
Location: Denver
CEO: Mike Painter
Employees: 41
Company snapshot: The mission of Colorado UpLift is to build long-term life-changing relationships in urban youth, inspiring and preparing them to embrace free enterprise and succeed in a global economy.  More than 30,000 youths have participated in the program since 1982.
Notable practice: Colorado Uplift has relationships with 19 Denver public schools and teaches an average of 100 classes per year. Ninety percent of students in the program three years or more graduate, compared to a 50 percent average in the schools. Between 60 percent and 75 percent of students in the program who apply for post-secondary education are accepted. Many are the first in their families to attend college.
Community involvement: After they are taught the UpLift curriculum, they teach younger students in elementary schools. In 2008, Colorado UpLift’s Advanced Leadership Training Course had 43 high school participants build five houses in Mexico for impoverished families.

Denver Rescue Mission
Years in business: 117
Location: Denver
CEO: Brad Meuli
Employees: 161
Snapshot: The Denver Rescue Mission is the oldest full-service Christian charity serving the poor and needy in the Rocky Mountain Region. It operates five facilities and has an operating budget of $21.5 million, funded through individuals, foundations, local government, business and gift in-kind donations.
Notable practice: The New Life Program gives people with histories of abuse, addiction and homelessness a chance to become self-sufficient, productive members of society. Program residents advance through five phases of ordered, staged growth in academics and literacy; program performance; spiritual/psychological/social/emotional growth; relationship and life skills; and work habits.
Community involvement: The Denver Rescue Mission provides meals, shelter, food, clothing, education, medical care, Christian counseling, case management, work discipline, transitional housing programs and assistance for permanent housing. Among its many programs are a men’s shelter with 200 overnight beds; a safe, loving home for single mothers; and a rural rehabilitation facility for men.

Project C.U.R.E.
Years in business: 21
Location: Centennial
CEO: Douglas Jackson
Employees: 20
Company snapshot: Project C.U.R.E. is the world’s largest provider of donated medical relief and has served people in more than 120 countries. Founded in a garage in Evergreen, it has grown to include four distribution centers in Denver, Phoenix, Houston and Nashville and 10 collection sites nationwide.
Notable practices: Each week, Project C.U.R.E. receives hundreds of thousands of dollars of donated medical supplies. It performs detailed on-site assessment studies prior to any donation to ensure the items delivered are needed. Thousands of volunteers sort the donations and catalog the items using Project C.U.R.E.’s inventory system. Donations are customized according to the specific needs of each country and loaded into 40-foot semi-truck trailers for ocean freight delivery to the developing world.
Community involvement: Project C.U.R.E. builds sustainable infrastructure by providing medical supplies and equipment that medical personal need to deliver health care to their communities. It also provides C.U.R.E. kits of medical supplies that are designed for travelers to carry as luggage to hospitals and clinics. It sponsors clinics through which medical personnel travel to partner hospitals and assist doctors and nurses in the field.


Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture
Years in business: 34
Location: Denver
CEO: Roz Schneider
Employees: 33
Company snapshot: Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture focuses on design projects for communities where people work, learn and play, especially community recreation centers. It also designs libraries, schools, National Park Service projects and municipal buildings.
Notable practices: The company has created interactive games and activities that enable people to participate and have ownership in the final design. The REC09 (Recreation Energy Connection) conference included tours of new and retrofitted recreation centers for a hands-on experience.
Community involvement: The company has organized and participated in River Sweep to help clean up the Platte River. It helped Outdoor Colorado eradicate weeds near the Moffat Tunnel. Employees have participated in company teams to run, walk and raise money for such causes as the Melanoma Run, the Colfax Marathon and the Colorado Relay for the Outward Bound School. Each December the company adopts two families through Denver’s Department of Social Services and buys food and gifts for them.

Colorado Asphalt Services Inc.
Years in business: 16
Location: Commerce City
CEO: H. Wayne Leiser
Employees: More than 100
Company snapshot: Colorado Asphalt Services is a privately held paving company that focuses on property owners and managers who need parking lots built or resurfaced, and cities and counties that need roads repaired. It has avoided layoffs and remained profitable despite a severe downturn in the industry.
Notable practices: In December 2008 when the company determined it would record a profitable year, it gave all employees an extra week’s pay to thank them for their dedication. The company was selected as one of only seven in the country to manufacture EZ Street and EZ Street Hybrid, cold patch products made of recycled materials that can permanently repair potholes and surfaces in cold temperatures.
Community involvement: The company has provided free asphalt and concrete to COMPA Ministries and provided a new parking lot to the Women’s Crisis and Family Outreach Center. Other philanthropic work includes supporting the Denver Rescue Mission, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the inner city YouthBiz program and the American Heart Association.

Mass Service & Supply LLC
Years in business: 13
Location: Pueblo
Operating Manager: Mary Catherine Grasmick
Employees: 35
Company snapshot: Woman-owned construction business specializing in general contracting for clients that include the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, city of Pueblo, Wyoming Air National Guard and the Forest Service. Mass’ projects include resurfacing parking lots, asbestos abatement, roof installations, new construction and renovations. Mass is a HUBZone-certified business, and one-third of its employees (primarily categorized as minorities) come from historically underutilized business zones. Mass ranked No. 21 on this year’s ColoradoBiz Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies list.
Notable practices: Despite a decline in gross receipts from 2007 to 2008, Mass was able increase profit margins without laying off any employees. It remains dedicated to hiring and subcontracting locally. The company was named the 2007 Fort Carson Small Business Contractor of the Year.
Community involvement: Mass assisted with the rebuilding efforts of tornado-ravaged Holly in 2007, setting up a donation account at the local Home Depot and soliciting donations from the construction industry to purchase home-repair, cleaning and other supplies. Top executives Mary Grasmick and Mohammed Ghamdi provide support and contribute to the “Living Values” program at the McClelland School in Pueblo, and Ghamdi serves on the school’s board of trustees. 


American Furniture Warehouse
Years in business: 34
Location: Englewood
CEO: Jake Jabs
Employees: 1,500
Company snapshot: A ColoradoBiz Top Company winner in 2005, American Furniture Warehouse is one of the country’s top furniture retailers, with 12 stores in the Denver area, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Glenwood Springs. The company’s centerpiece is the headquarters and mega-store off Peoria Street and E-470 in Englewood that sits on 17 acres and boasts an interior of 635,000 square feet and a warehouse four football fields long.
Notable practices: The company has been able to make its mark as a low-price leader by focusing on sales volume over per-unit profit and by employing various money-saving initiatives, including: self-insuring all 12 of its locations; using company-owned trucks for hauling goods from suppliers and for delivering to customers; relying on salaried employees to cut down on commission costs; recycling virtually all cardboard packaging, which reduces waste by two-thirds; and using fluorescent lighting in all showrooms and warehouses, which saves money on energy.
Community involvement: The company contributes more than $2 million a year to charities that include Children’s Miracle Network, The Children’s Hospital, Easter Seals and the March of Dimes.

Years in business: 10
Location: Greenwood Village
CEO: Vince Jones
Employees: 87
Company snapshot: eBags is the world’s leading retailer of luggage, handbags, business cases, backpacks and accessories. The company has had seven straight years of profitability and averaged annual growth of 25 percent since its inception in 1999. eBags offers more than 43,000 products and more than 550 brands on its site and celebrated the sale of its 10 millionth bag in May.
Notable practices: eBags hosts an online boutique called “On the Streets” that showcases more than 70 emerging handbag designers and allows customers to meet new designers through intimate avenues that include video and personal interview Q & A sessions. The company currently ranks No. 93 among Internet Retailer’s Top 500 companies.
Community involvement: eBags partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure by donating 10 percent of any pink product sold on The initiative has raised $545,869 for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment since 2004, including $121,540 last year. eBags also volunteers at the Denver Race for the Cure by operating a booth and donating more than 3,000 bags to cancer survivors. The company provides three days off each year for employees to perform community service.

Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc.
Years in business: 54
Location: Lakewood
CEO: Kemper Isely
Employees: 1,200
Company snapshot: Vitamin Cottage operates 31 retail locations, offering more than 25,000 products including natural groceries, vitamins, herbal supplements and beauty aids at affordable prices. The company’s roots go back to 1955 when Margaret and Philip Isely borrowed $200 and started going door-to-door in Golden, selling whole-grain bread and lending nutrition books to people they met. Within six months they opened their first retail outlet, called The Builder’s Foundation. In 1963 they renamed the business Vitamin Cottage.
Notable practices: Vitamin Cottage is among the first grocery chains in the country that is “bag free,” cutting waste and reducing the impact of grocery bags on the environment. A nutritionist is on hand in every store to provide free customer nutrition consultations.
Community involvement: Vitamin Cottage sponsors a Clean Water Coloring Contest in which children under 10 color pictures designed to illustrate the importance of clean water. The company participates in Check Out Hunger each holiday season, providing meals for children in need.

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AES Group Inc.
Years in business: 7
Location: Parker
President: James “Mike” Summers
Employees: 10
Company snapshot: AES Group provides engineering and design-build services throughout Colorado and the U.S. The company’s projects range from small building renovations to multimillion dollar design-build contracts for the federal government. Recent roles included serving as prime contractor and engineer for the rooftop photovoltaic system for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and designing a multi-purpose building for the Bechtel Pueblo Chemical Depot. AES Group is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
Notable practice: AES has provided reviews for new-building construction for the town of Parker the past five years.
Community involvement: Charitable causes that AES supports include the Franktown Fire District Holiday Outreach Program, Avon Foundation for Breast Cancer, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and services for local Boy Scouts projects.

MWH Global
Years in business: 55
Location: Denver
CEO: Robert B.Uhler
Employees: 7,000
Company snapshot: Conservation and control of the world’s irreplaceable resource – water – is the