Posted: December 01, 2011
CEO of the Year: Small company finalists
Rhonda Maas, president, Building Restoration Specialties Inc.
A job well done to Rhonda Maas is a job well researched. Building Restoration Specialties focuses on masonry restoration, preservation and conservation.
Treating historic homes with respect means conforming to state and national historic preservation guidelines, says Maas, who has consulted for architects, engineers, historical societies and contractors, as well as owners of historic buildings
Maas co-founded Building Restoration Specialties in 1986, and the company has helped to fix more than 80 percent of the old buildings in Lower Downtown. Projects have included the restoration of the City and County Building, as well as the cleaning and restoration of sandstone structures in Denver's Civic Center.
Maas says recycling is what her business is all about. Replicating the techniques of craftsmen who worked 100 years ago often means a lot of research. It also means finding the materials to precisely replicate those of the buildings being restored. This might mean calling quarries across the country to match particular sandstone.
The Denver-based company, which employs 35, also works with new construction projects, such as the Cheesman Dam pump house in Deckers and the Skyline Park facilities in Denver.
"You get what you earn," Maas says. "Hard work and perseverance produces success."
Heidi Ganahl, CEO, Camp Bow Wow
The pros at the150 or so Camp Bow Wow franchises across
39 states have one goal in common: to pamper every pup.
At the Boulder-based headquarters, a staff of 30 works to ensure that every franchisee provides a day care where dogs can play and receive lots of attention from the moment they're dropped off in the morning to the second they're picked up in the evening. Overnight boarding is also provided, and Web cam monitoring helps ease pet owners' minds.
In the spring of 2009, Home Buddies was created in response to those who wanted in-home pet service by trained professionals.
CEO Heidi Ganahl says she's proud that she's created a way for the staff of more than 2,000 at the franchises to do what they love. And they all do it well, she adds.
"It warms my heart when I walk into a camp and see the pups playing and having a blast," she says. "I am also so proud of the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, and the impact it has had on animals worldwide. We've adopted out over 7,000 dogs through our camps in the last several years and our franchisees have raised over $1 million for local pet charities and rescues."
Ishmail Nassardeen-Buckley, president, CEO and founder, American Automation Building Solutions Inc.
Accuracy is essential for the 51 employees of American Automation Building Solutions Inc. One of its top clients, after all, is the federal government
The Castle Rock-based company offers services and products in three areas: physical security systems, automation and energy management, and cyber/IT security.
Clients include the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. The City and County of Denver also uses the company's services.
The company was founded in 2001 by Ishmail Nassardeen-Buckley. In 2002, company president Lisa Nassardeen-Buckley left her job at a Fortune 500 company to work full-time with her husband.
"To be recognized by the business community lets me know that the dream I first had over 20 years ago to have my own technology company is now shared and recognized by others," Ishmail Nassardeen-Buckley says.
"This will be the wind beneath my wings to help me to continue to move forward to lead by example - to continue to satisfy our clients with innovative solutions; help to create even more jobs for our community; and inspire others who dare to dream."
Bill Morris, CEO and president, Blue Star Recyclers
Bill Morris and the team at Blue Star Recyclers stress one word in their mission statement: abilities.
The company's aim: "Recycle electronics to create local jobs for people with disAbilities." Ditch the "dis" and the message is clear: The key is to focus on what people can do, not what they cannot do.
Key to the success of the company is that many developmentally disabled people, especially those with autism spectrum disorder, have a strong aptitude for the disassembly of computer and other electronic equipment. These components can then be sorted into base materials, which can then be recycled.
The Colorado Springs-based nonprofit employs 16. Ten of them are disabled, but all are important to the team. Blue Star got its start in 2009 when Morris co-founded the company after a 25-year career in the telecommunications business. The more electronics recycled at Blue Star, the more jobs are created, he says. Plus, it's the right thing to do for the environment. For his work helping keep the Earth green, Morris received the 2011 Recycler of the Year award from the Colorado Association for Recycling.
"The greatest impact I have made as a CEO is helping other people achieve their goals first," Morris says. "That is true of my employees, our partners, customers, and friends of Blue Star Recyclers."
Michael Gellman, CEO, SpireMedia
Those who work for SpireMedia are as comfortable serving a startup organization as they are a Fortune 500 company. For more than 10 years, it's been serving customers in Web product innovation, design and implementation.
Michael Gellman, CEO of the company, says he's been lucky enough to be in a field that is in constant flux. At SpireMedia, clients are provided with technologies that reinvent their industries. The Denver-based company, which employs 20 people, was a forerunner of the application-development industry that has evolved over time. Services are geared toward the product and service innovation needs of clients.
For Gellman, predicting trends is integral to the success of the company. Before the iPhone was released, for instance, he predicted that mobile applications would take off. He established a research and development arm of SpireMedia to explore possibilities, which ultimately led to a lucrative partnership with AT&T and a foothold on leading the mobile Web development industry.
"As CEO of SpireMedia, I've been able to make an impact every day of my life," Gellman says. "The digital age has taken turns and detours that no one could have expected. It's been an honor to build those wild roads."
Robert Mitchell, president and CEO, Moots Cycles
The first thing the president and CEO of Moots Cycles will say about his company is that it takes a lot of talented hands to craft the company's high-performance titanium road, mountain and cyclocross bikes. It's the entire team of 25, Robert Mitchell says, that makes the company a success.
Founded in 1981, the company decided in 2008 to keep the Moots team entirely intact and stick to its strategic growth plan through the economic downturn. Mitchell had just stepped in as leader of the Steamboat Springs company when that decision was made.
Moots Cycles, sold through independent dealers around the world, garnered a lot of attention in 2009 when the Vamoots TSL was developed.
The bikes and components Moots creates, Mitchell says, have earned a reputation over the years not because of one individual whose name often adorns the frames of other boutique bike brands, but because the time and passion of so many is invested.
"It's the team that makes Moots special, not any one or couple of individuals," Mitchell says. "That has allowed us to do well during challenging economic times. Each bike is touched by many hands along the way, and all of them work together to accomplish the same collective goal of building the finest bikes possible."
Niel Robertson, CEO, Trada
Each of the 85 staff members at Boulder-based Trada keeps the basic principle of the company constantly in mind: "The wisdom of the crowd" is the belief that a group is more effective than any one person.
In Trada's case, the crowd is made up of paid search experts.
Niel Robertson sold his first startup, Web-performance monitor Service Metrics, in 1999. He launched Trada in 2010.
Paid search focuses on getting potential customers to click through on the paid advertisements that show up alongside the results to a keyword-based query.
Trada's network of about 2,000 paid search professionals craft campaigns based on relevant keywords and earn the difference between the advertiser's target and the performance of the campaigns they develop.
"When we started Trada, we committed to doing things differently in every way," Robertson says. "We have a culture of doing this reflected in our office space, our transparency, our incredible benefits, and our view that if you treat people like adults they will act like it. As we grow, we're excited to offer even more opportunities to our employees to move within the company, organize their events around ideas they are passionate about, and extend Trada's culture into the Boulder community as a positive influence to help grow the thriving startup community here."
Wynne Odell, CEO, Odell Brewing Co.
Just reading the list of awards beers like 90 Shilling, Easy Street Wheat and 5 Barrel Pale Ale have earned is enough to make a beer lover thirsty.
Add to those honors even more awards garnered by Odell Brewing for everything from being a great place to work to having a sustainable building, and you have a successful business, says Odell CEO Wynne Odell.
Wynne and co-owners Doug and Corkie Odell started the business in 1989 in a converted grain elevator in Fort Collins.
Today, the company has 67 employees working out of a 45,000-square-foot facility that produces around 45,000 barrels of hand-crafted beer. What started out as only the second microbrewery in Colorado has grown substantially. Beer is now distributed to Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Arizona and Idaho.
A collaborative culture is encouraged at Odell, says the company's CEO.
"The power we harness through collaboration is not used solely to manage the company but is best expressed in our reason for being: creating innovative, award-winning beers," Wynne Odell says. "Every co-worker has an open invitation to brew whatever intrigues them ... and every beer we put into commercial production is brewed from a recipe imagined by multiple cooks."