Colorado Companies to Watch 2016: Making it in the mountains
Real estate, financial, IT and transportation innovators in Colorado's high country
Here are the 2016 Colorado Companies to Watch winners who have made it in the mountains and beyond:
Pinnacle Mountain Homes
In 2002, serial entrepreneur Chris Renner and his wife, Shannon, found themselves facing a decision: He had just cashed out of the Texas internet company he founded, leaving them free to live anywhere in the world.
So, they chose Breckenridge, where they had met and married years before. And Chris Renner, whose resume includes businesses ranging from technology to education, brought his varying experience to a new industry, starting in 2005.
Within six years of inception, Pinnacle was named “America’s Best Builder 2012” in Builder magazine, published by the National Association of Homebuilders, one of just four companies recognized nationwide. After 10 years of business, Pinnacle maintains 90 percent of its projects under budget and 100 percent of clients on its reference list.
Pinnacle’s project managers meet weekly, comparing notes and contributing to the company’s “Master Project Checklist” – an 80-page manual of quality control and best practices, compiled over more than a decade of solving each problem once and documenting for the future.
Pinnacle has been paperless since opening day, with digital plan circulation and collaboration, online multi-project scheduling, and updates for clients and trade partners, iPads in the field for project managers, a shared punch list app for quality control, and a sophisticated budgeting model that delivers remarkable accuracy – within 5 percent at early stage design.
Think Network Technologies
Consulting and IT systems integrator of business solutions since 2002, Think’s core competencies include architectural design, consolidation, business resiliency and cloud solutions.
When Matt and Melissa Glick’s family moved from Chicago to Durango 25 years ago, their father dreamed of starting a family business with his kids. Their company, they say, is the “perfect culmination of building a business and fulfilling a father’s dream.”
Being based in rural Colorado has given the company an edge in bridging the IT gap outside of urban settings. Think offers services such as advanced network security, hosted and cloud solutions, remote network management, project management, and consulting to small businesses in the Four Corners.
CEO Melissa Glick, a graduate of Chicago’s Second City Training Center, uses and teaches basic improvisation principles by encouraging staff to accept each other’s ideas, have a voice in business decisions and strategic directions, and learn from their mistakes. Her brother Matt Glick, the CIO, focuses the engineering team, training and mentoring staff and devising state-of- the-art technology solutions.
Base: Grand Junction
Key to success: One word sums it up: “local.”
Being locally owned and operated means a minimum of corporate bureaucracy, keeping the full-service, independent and locally owned bank nimble enough to move quickly when opportunity knocks.
The financial institution got its start in 2004. During the recession, with Western Slope businesses suffering from a dearth of available credit, Timberline took steps to become a preferred lender with the Small Business Administration. That made it possible for the bank to fulfill credit requests it could not have otherwise. Today, Timberline continues to be a leader in the SBA Lending arena, helping the business community as well as gaining a competitive advantage for the bank.
Timberline has bucked banking trends of consolidation, cost-cutting, reduced service and employees, and lessened customer service. Instead, the bank has increased its resources to expand services and emphasize customers. Team members are encouraged to take whatever time is necessary to develop the right solutions for customers; and the bank measures success by customer satisfaction.
Base: Steamboat Springs
Founded in 1985, GO Alpine provides airport shuttles between Steamboat Springs, Denver International Airport and Hayden. Other services include local taxi, wedding transportation and limousine rides.
In 2004, Lisa Adamo bought the company she had worked for since 1990 and moved it to a new location – one where every manager had an office with a window. She also brought a new vision statement – “GO Alpine strives to be trusted, kind, and appreciative” – that staff says has had an impact on both them and their customers. Employees are encouraged to attend their children’s school functions and other personal activities. One manager started occasional pot luck lunches where all employees participate. The company rewards little compliments and triumphs, posting on a “Wall of Fame." When GO Alpine gets a high rating on a review site, the employee involved is entered into a monthly drawing to win prizes such as a $100 gift card or a computer tablet. The director of operations hosts an employee appreciation picnic each year.