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October 2014 Issue

Cover Story

Best Companies to Work for in Colorado 2013: Large

By Maria Martin

1. Edward Jones To look at an official analysis of the perks that place Edward Jones on many “best places to work” lists, it seems pretty obvious. It all comes down to cash, right? The company devotes 24 percent of its net profits – a tidy sum – to profit sharing for its full-time associates. But if you ask the regional leaders and others with the company what makes it such a great place to work, money isn’t the typical first mention. That might seem odd, given Edward Jones is a financial service firm. Its associates help clients handle money, assisting

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Articles

The Economist: The end of quantitative easing

By Tucker Hart Adams

The topic on everyone’s mind these days seems to be, “What will happen when the Federal Reserve ends quantitative easing?” Most of the people I talk to have a vague idea that it will result in higher interest rates and higher inflation, but no clue as to why. It’s pretty simple, actually – just the old law of price determination at work. Every month the Department of the Treasury issues a mountain of debt in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds. Some of this is to refinance debt that is rolling over, and some of it is new debt to pay bills that aren’t covered by tax revenues. The latter finances the deficit. When the supply of something goes up – all other things being equal – the law of price tells us that cost goes down. But remember, the interest rate isn’t the price of government debt. Rates move in the opposite. . .

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Grocery goes micro

Stores are getting smaller as specialty retailers control the conversation

By Eric Peterson

Like the television audience, the beer market, and most everything else in the new economy, the grocery business is fragmenting. Bigger is not better. Smaller is in vogue. And everybody from corner drugstores to massive supercenters are looking to nab a piece of this $1 trillion pie. Take Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. The Golden-based company went public last year on the back of an expansion plan centered on 10,000-square-foot stores instead of the traditional 40,000 square feet or more. “I give tours here almost weekly to investors and analysts now that we’re public,” says Alan Lewis, the company’s director of special projects, as he strolls the aisles of the Natural Grocers at Colorado. . .

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Tech startup: Big Mountain Robotics

By Eric Peterson

Company: Big Mountain Robotics INITIAL LIGHT BULB IT consultant Jon-Pierre Stoermer helped build a flying machine in 2011, then joined forces with his father, Pierre, to launch Big Mountain Robotics the following year. “Jon-Pierre was involved in building a quadcopter in kahoots with some folks in the Boulder area,” says Pierre, a retired aerospace engineer. From the experience, the father-son duo saw the potential for unmanned aerial vehicles – also known as drones – in capturing bird’s-eye imagery. Recognizing the major market desire to process the imagery into coherent mosaics and maps, the twosome developed their DroneMapper software during the first three quarters of 2012. After launching last October,. . .

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Sports biz: Fashion statement

Filling the football void

By Stewart Schley

Between the annual player draft in April and the first kickoff of the first pre-season game in August, there is a rare period of fallow time in which the National Football League – despite its around-the-clock television channel and daily blog entries posted by teams and the occasional early-look profiles written by sports beat reporters – is relatively starved for affection, conceding the sports spotlight briefly to the NBA and NHL playoffs, and the comparatively languid rhythms of the baseball season. This summer, however, that void has been filled to overflowing by Aaron Hernandez, a former marquee player for the New England Patriots who was charged with murdering a 27-year old acquaintance. On the playing field of public sentiment, Odin Lloyd’s violent death is sadly, ironically and yet quite expectedly the afterthought here. The news coverage, the live radio. . .

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State of the state: Technology

Q&A: Convercent CEO Patrick Quinlan’s lessons learned

By Eric Peterson

Patrick Quinlan wanted a new challenge after he grew XBRL shop Rivet Software’s sales from $1 million to $10 million in just two short years as CEO. For an encore, he bought Denver Tech Center-based Business Controls, a provider of cloud based corporate ethics and compliance software, with ex-Rivet cohorts Philip Winterburn and Barclay Friesen in spring 2012. In short order, they raised $10 million in venture capital, developed a next-generation compliance software platform, christened the company Convercent, and garnered ink in Wired, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. In a little more than a year, the staff has quadrupled from 14 to 60. Recently the company completed a renovation of an old car dealership in Denver’s Golden Triangle into. . .

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Best Companies to Work for in Colorado 2013: Small

Moneytree comes in at No. 1

By Lisa Ryckman

1. Moneytree When Erika Herrera went to work for Moneytree as a teller, she figured it was just a job that would pay the bills while she finished school. Maybe it was the great benefits, or the employee recognition, or the company’s policy of giving back to the community, or the pleasure of working for a family-owned business that made its employees feel like members. Whatever it was, somewhere along the way, Herrera stopped thinking of Moneytree as a job and began thinking of it as a career. That was nine years ago. “I saw myself working for the company long-term,” says Herrera, who is now the Seattle-based company’s Colorado district manager, overseeing the state’s 10 branches. “I changed my major from criminal. . .

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State of the state: Innovation

COIN Summit aims to inspire statewide innovation

By Jamie Siebrase

How do you measure the intangible aspects of business? With things like after-tax profit, it’s easy: dollars and cents. But what about innovation, a driving force behind all great businesses? That spark of originality and the ability to make an idea actionable is tough to capture. Yet it’s the very thing the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) – a 100 percent privately funded government startup housed within our state’s Office of Economic Development – aims to do with its second-annual Innovation Networking Summit. Launched by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011, COIN intends to make Colorado the most innovative state in America by building a virtual network of local entrepreneurs. Long-term, COIN plans to build a physical. . .

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Frackers and farmers

Oil & gas and agriculture look for common ground

By

Story and Photography By Lee Buchsbaum As the tents go up at Front Range farmers’ markets each spring, it’s a sure sign of the immense and healthy bounty to follow. Beginning with bags of locally produced, organic, leafy greens, followed by bulbous tomatoes and an assortment of zucchinis, peppers and squash, the farmer’s market season along the Front Range culminates each fall with truckloads of peaches and fresh apples driven in from Western Slope fruit baskets like the North Fork of the Gunnison Valley region surrounding Paonia. The popular outdoor retailers that dot the Front Range comprise the bread and butter for a budding subset of Colorado’s agricultural producers. Increasingly, adjacent to the farmers’ booths. . .

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Rundles wrap up: Better technology?

By Jeff Rundles

You gotta love technology. It makes so many things easier to do, and it makes every individual unquestionably more productive. In the old days, if we reporters needed to check the spelling of someone’s name, we’d have to make a call; if we needed background, we’d call an expert or go to the public library, or check with out-of-date reference books. It was very time-consuming, but at the time, seemed normal. Today we can just go to the Internet, check the website and find thousands of references in seconds. We’re generally much more prepared for interviews and can report much more in a fraction of the time. I wish I could say that it has enhanced quality, but it is a fact that quantity is way up (per-person, at least). I remember more than 20 years. . .

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State of the state: Green design

Modern retail concept moves to five points

By

“You work in a trailer? Cool!” File that under most uncommon overheard utterances ever. How about: “You take your daily coffee in a pile of recycled shipping containers; containers that were rescued from sordid past lives at sea weathering menacing storms to bring Americans treasures from the Orient?!” Yep, that has a decidedly edgier ring to it. Great news for Five Points – the downtown neighborhood that seems to push the edges of edgy with each new buzzing bar and hip restaurant it spawns: As of this summer, the block at 25th and Larimer streets will be home to a new boutique real estate development composed of 29 recycled shipping containers. The multi-use complex will house nine businesses with the. . .

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Coworking in Colorado

Flexible office environments differ from space to space but offer a new way to work

By Gigi Sukin

The office of the future has arrived. Thanks in part to rapid, overwhelming cultural and technological change, the 9-to-5, cube-confined traditional paradigm has been shattered, and the workplace has taken a new shape: coworking. About three years ago, ColoradoBiz explored the trend of shared space in the commercial real estate landscape, including Zeppelin development’s TAXI in River North, Jennie Nevin’s Green Spaces by the Ballpark neighborhood and Fort Collins’ Cohere, among others. It remained to be seen if this experiment would work and whether the initial buzz about toiling alongside others — people with dissimilar skills, different employers and entirely unrelated industries — would last. The answer: a. . .

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Colorado cool stuff: Fig & Yarrow, J.M.F.T., Dave’s designs, XYZbot

By

FIG & YARROW APOTHECARY PRODUCTS While studying contemplative psychology at Naropa University in Boulder in 2010, Brandy Monique opened an Etsy storefront to sell “organic handcrafted apothecary products,” such as mouth rinse, hair tonic and underarm lotion. “I was just a broke student trying to get by,” she says of the launch. Two months later, national retailers like Anthropologie and Terrain came calling, offering “immediate exposure.” Three short years thereafter she has a catalog that’s 44 products deep and 80 retailers touting her line. “It’s been pretty tremendous,” Monique says, describing a business model that sounds a lot like destiny. “Once I knew what I wanted to do; there was no stopping. . .

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Best Companies to Work for in Colorado 2013: Medium

PCL comes in first

By Michael Porter

1. PCL Construction You're tired, you're overworked, and you feel like your employer doesn't care. Chances are, you aren't crazy about your job. And chances are – you don’t work for PCL Construction. At PCL, employees depend on one another. They know their employers look out for them, and the entire staff is willing to lend a helping hand. In the tough industry of construction, employees are engaged in their projects and feel privileged to work for a company that provides a balance between work and life while contributing to the community.  PCL is 100 percent employee-owned, which keeps the team accountable for and invested in the company's success. Group activities like bike rides and outings to the local bowling. . .

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Executive edge: Rob Schuham

Boulder-based buzz creator brings his talents to the global climate crisis

By Lynn Bronikowski

On a summer morning, Rob Schuham rides his bike up Boulder’s Flagstaff Mountain, looks out over the Flatirons and sighs, “I’m so glad I live here.” That same day he packs his bags for Istanbul where he’ll share a platform with former vice president Al Gore to speak on the global climate crisis and how digital media can provoke a movement. He’s chief buzz advisor of Gore’s Climate Reality Project, among many hats he wears including chief innovation officer for Match Marketing Group, founding partner of Undercurrent and founding entrepreneur of Common. He is also an angel investor in a number of Boulder companies ranging from food and beverage, personal care and technology to marketing communications. “I’ve been. . .

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