Editor's Note: Top Companies: Excellence Across 14 Industries
The 31st year of the Top Company Awards, and the 17th year that Editor Mike Taylor has been involved in the program as a judge, editor and writer
This issue of ColoradoBiz represents the 31st year of the magazine's Top Company Awards, and the 17th year that I've been involved in the program as a judge, editor and/or writer, yet working on the "Top Company" issue never gets old. That's because while the judging criteria have changed little, if at all, the stories of the companies and their journeys are always unique.
This year's winners in 14 industries range in size from Rose Medical Center, with 1,200 employees, to Atlas Real Estate, with 29 workers. They range in age from Johnson Storage & Moving, founded in 1900 – just 13 years after Henry Ford rolled out the first Model Ts – to Velocity Global, an employment-solutions firm in business just four years.
Top Company nominees are judged on outstanding achievement, financial performance and community involvement. That last category is important, and one that all nominees take seriously. But for most companies, the biggest contribution often seems to be overlooked or taken for granted: the meaningful jobs and careers they create, not only within their workplace, but for vendors and other service providers whose ability to generate jobs grows as a result of a Top Company success. I think you'll be inspired and emboldened by the stories of this year's winners and finalists.
Of course, there are reasons besides work that people flock to Colorado, and in this issue's Travel/Tourism report, Eric Peterson attempts to put a monetary value on our public lands, which include 14.5 million acres of National Forest and 8.5 million acres overseen by the Bureau of Land Management – an area totaling more than 34 percent of the state. In sizing up the economic returns generated by this vast land, Peterson also looks at the relationship between the outdoor recreation and energy industries and notes these sometimes-contentious sectors are working toward coexistence.
Elsewhere in the magazine, Digital Editor Gigi Sukin examines Denver' burgeoning food truck scene. According to the report she cites, Denver has become the "second-most food-truck-friendly-city" in the U.S., thanks to a tripling of food trucks since 2014. Read her Food Industry report to learn why.
If that story gets you thinking about health and nutrition, Jamie Siebrase's Heath Care Report examines how businesses are continuing to adjust to the Affordable Care Act some seven years after it was signed into law. Siebrase points out that while 95 percent of Colorado's population is insured, fewer than half of the state's employees get coverage through their work.
As you will read in this issue, Colorado is a land of opportunity and achievement, but not one without challenges.