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GenXYZ: Our Top 25 Young Professionals, S to W

ColoradoBiz’s under-40 overachievers prove age really is just a number


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Jeffrey Schell, 34

CEO and co-founder, The Quandary Group

Go ahead – tell Jeff Schell there’s something he can’t accomplish. He’d be delighted to prove you wrong.

The patent attorney has taken his practice in a new direction, combining research and development efforts in-house to spin out companies developed from patents filed by the company. The result: Jeff’s companies and those of his clients have raised or generated more than $10 million in the last 12 months.

“The definition of success to my generation is not the fall of the wall, the corner office, or the picket fence,” Schell says. “It’s the prevention of a terrorist calamity; a startup built in Starbucks; and a nice AirBnB. Though you may presume that your millennial is a basement-dwelling drain on you and society, she may be down there re-shaping the world.”

Schell credits his team with the company’s success.

“Any enterprise starts and ends with people,” he says. “To build something truly special, you need a diverse, complementary group of people committed to a unifying cause.  If you align people with special talents, strong communication, and most importantly great attitudes in an atmosphere of respect, you cannot fail.”

Schell, who coaches youth football in his spare time, says he encourages his employees to job-hop, a tendency that some employers might see as a negative.

“I want the people I work with to grow and benefit society beyond the constraints that my own enterprises may place upon them,” he says, adding that millennials face a different world than their elders.

Reed Smith, 37

Senior VP and Employee Benefits Practice Leader, CoBiz Insurance

Smith leads a team of 30 professionals dedicated to excellence in employee benefit consulting and helps employers navigate the evolving landscape of the Affordable Care Act with a focus on strategic business planning, employee engagement and measurable ROI. Smith has been recognized locally and nationally for his thought leadership with regard to health-care reform and helping employers navigate a high performance health-care strategy.

Jensen Sutta, 38

Founder/owner, Jensen Sutta Photography

A biology major who decided to change his life after a car accident, Sutta’s wedding and event photography has taken him to 27 states and 16 countries in the last 16 years. His portfolio includes a wide range of events and celebrity portraiture. He says his love of the craft is what motivates him, and it starts with putting himself in his subjects’ shoes.

"I love asking questions,” Sutta says. “One of my favorites is, ‘If I only get four pictures from this event, which would be the most important to you?’ It forces people to really focus on the heartbeat of their event.”

Matt Teeters, 32

President, Alpine Bank

Teeters, who started as a management trainee with Alpine Bank a decade ago, was instrumental in the company's expansion from the Western Slope to Denver. As the first lender to transfer to the Front Range, he has grown his downtown location to more than $100 million in assets in two years. A board member for Roundup River Ranch, Teeters also serves as membership chair for Denver Active 20-30 and teaches classes for Junior Achievement.

Blair Withington, 28

Senior Associate, Forbes M+A Group

Withington joined the Forbes M+A Group in 2013 as an analyst, achieving measurable improvements in operational efficiencies. As senior associate, Withington developed and oversees the company’s 10-week summer intern program and executes onboarding processes. He is also a strong advocate for the corporate brand and plays a significant role in planning company team-building events, including cat-skiing, hiking 14ers and dragon boat racing.

 

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's managing editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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