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Diversity in Business Awards 2012

ColoradoBiz is in its 18th year of celebrating the best in minority businesses and businesspeople, and as the pool of achievers has expanded over the years, singling out the standouts among them has become, if anything, more difficult. Adding to that, last year ColoradoBiz initiated the Diversity Corporation of the Year award to recognize companies – not necessarily minority-owned – that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in hiring, contracting and customer/community relations.

Here is a snapshot of the three companies and three businesspeople who will be honored July 24 at the 18th Annual Diversity in Business Breakfast, where the winners will be announced.

Minority Businessperson of the Year finalists:

Ivette Dominguez, president and owner of Alpine Buick GMC in Denver, is the daughter of Cuban immigrants. She started working at a car dealership the summer after graduating from San Diego State University and now is one of only six Hispanic female owners among 4,458 GM dealers in the U.S. Half of Alpine’s salespeople speak Spanish, providing a supportive environment for non-native English speakers. Alpine ranks third on this year’s ColoradoBiz Top 50 Minority-Owned Companies list with sales of $41.5 million in 2011.

Tim Marquez, chairman and CEO of Denver-based oil and gas firm Venoco Inc., is a product of Denver Public Schools and Colorado School of Mines. Venoco is the No. 1 company in the ColoradoBiz Top 50 Minority-Owned Companies ranking with revenues of $328.8 million last year, but Marquez is as well known for his education-focused philanthropy as for his business exploits.

Nathan Martinez started NM Industrial services out of his basement in 2004 with $2,000. This year the Denver-based mechanical contractor ranked No. 7 on the ColoradoBiz Top 50 Minority-Owned Companies list with revenues of $15 million in 2011.

Diversity Corporation of the Year finalists:

Forest City, the master developer for Stapleton Neighborhood, and Mortenson Construction, the construction manager under Forest City, completed one of the largest infill developments in the country with a diverse roster of contractors and suppliers.

Xcel Energy contracted out $249 million to minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses nationwide in 2011. The Denver offices of Xcel launched a diversity department in the 1980s.

Lakewood-based Solera Bank employs bilingual tellers and customer-service reps, partners with minority organizations and businesses, and supports Hispanic and minority nonprofits. It is Denver’s first and only Latino-, minority- and small
business-focused, community-owned bank.

For details on the 18th Annual Diversity in Business Breakfast on July 24, visit the "Events" page at www.cobizmag.com.

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