Posted: October 01, 2011
GENxyz finalists 2011
Here are the other 20 of our Top 25 Young Professionals
DAVID SINKEY, 33
Professional position: Principal and director of marketing, sales and land procurement, Boulder Creek Builders
Path to success: The graduate of the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business joined Boulder Creek Builders' predecessor, Cessna Associates, in 2000. He has developed sales and marketing tools that have helped the company target demographic groups, such as baby boomers and empty nesters, who want to buy smaller homes. "It's that real narrow focus of understating the psychological and demographic details of our buyer group that allows us to create a nuanced product that really works for us," Sinkey says.
Making an impact: Sinkey is an Eagle Scout and a private pilot. He helped grow the company by adding new communities, new employees and by moving the company's headquarters to a more prominent location in downtown Louisville.
Connecting with the community: Sinkey is involved with chambers of commerce in Boulder, Louisville, Longmont, Superior and Erie. Charities the company supported in 2011 through contributions include the Emergency Family Assistance Foundation, Colorado Public Radio and the American Cancer Society.
Words to live by: "I grew up in this industry, and my dad was a part of this industry," Sinkey says. "I had a mission to continue what we were doing and get better and better at doing it."
JENNIFER LUCERO-ALVAREZ, 33
Professional position: Senior account executive, Hispanidad, a Denver marketing and advertising agency
Career achievement: One of Lucero-Alvarez's primary clients at Hispanidad is the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT has tasked Alvaraz and her team to create culturally and linguistically relevant campaigns to increase seat belt and child passenger safety seat usage within the state's Hispanic community.
Making an impact: Lucero-Alvarez helps to mentor and empower young Hispanic women through the Circle of Latina Leadership. She is also active in the Hispanic Chamber of Denver's Today's Emerging Latino Leaders' (TELL) board of directors and leadership committee. And she also heads up the Professional Development Committee, overseeing a curriculum designed to aid and nurture the growth of young Latino professionals.
Connecting with the community: Lucero-Alvarez volunteers as a state-certified bilingual child passenger safety technician for Child Passenger Safety Team Colorado and serves on the Board of Directors for Safe Kids Metro Denver. She also manages the agency's annual pro-bono marketing program, Su Causa es Nuestra Causa (Your Cause is Our Cause).
Praise from a colleague: Says Laura Sonderup: "As Jennifer's manager, I watched her progress and development with great enthusiasm. She welcomes the opportunity to take on new responsibilities and challenges."
CHRISTOPHER LOMBARDO, 29
Professional position: Owner, Colorado Home Appeal
Snapshot: Lombardo has brought a highly successful home and garden show to Adams County. He has supported local business owners by providing an opportunity for small businesses to advertise in a face-to-face environment at an affordable cost. He supports local businesses by using only Colorado-owned companies for all aspects of his business. Colorado Home Appeal produces three shows a year that are themed around homes, gardening and decorating.
Making an impact: Lombardo has made a pledge to not only build the community now, but also in the future by creating CHAMPS (Colorado Home Appeal Making Pathways for Students). He is donating a portion of all ticket sales to local nonprofits that help schools and students within Colorado.
Connecting with the community: Lombardo's community work includes the 27J Education Foundation, Rocky Mountain ThunderHawks Youth Football and Cheer, and participation in local chambers. He helped the local high school recondition the softball fields so students would have a safer and more enjoyable playing experience.
Words to live by: "We went into business to help small to mid-size companies in the area market their businesses," Lombardo says. "All of our home shows are put together with Colorado home improvement companies."
SANDY WENGER, 27
Professional position: Event and program manager, Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce
Path to success: The Colorado Springs native received her undergraduate degree in organization communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and earned an MBA with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Phoenix.
Making an impact: Five years ago, Wenger convinced the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce to create a group specifically serving young professionals ages 21 to 29. The group has served as a resource for professional development, civic engagement, networking and mentoring.
Connecting with the community: Wenger serves on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Associate Board of Directors. She also volunteers and is involved with the Colorado Springs City Council and the Chamber Rising Professionals' Colorado Springs 2020 initiative.
Praise from a colleague: "Sandy is smart, committed and dedicated to success. She will always be working at the top of her potential and getting deeper and deeper into our community," fellow chamber employee Jessica McMullen says. "Her dedication to the success of the Chamber Rising Professionals is as intent as her dedication to our great community and engaging all young professionals into the business community."
ANDY SZEKERES, 28
Professional position: Founder, 3PG Consulting
Path to success: 3PG Consulting specializes in fundraising consulting and training programs for organizations, candidate campaigns and ballot initiatives. Prior to founding 3PG Consulting, Szekeres was a statewide field director in Wisconsin for Kerry-Edwards and served as the finance director for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, Jay Fawcett for Congress and Referendum I for Domestic Partnerships.
Making an impact: In 2010, Szekeres was recognized for his fundraising expertise when he was named to the Aristotle Dream Team as one of the top fundraisers in the country. Szekeres has also served as a national trainer for fundraising and social media with Democracy for America and has been featured at national conferences.
Connecting with the community: Szekeres has led free fundraising training sessions across the state on his own time, teaching hundreds of people how to improve their fundraising skills.
Words to live by: "We are dedicated to working with organizations, candidates and campaigns that share the same goals we have - to work tirelessly tackling the challenges we face in order to make our communities better places to live," Szekeres and his business partner Aaron Cohen say on the company's website.
WESTON BLACKIE, 27
Professional position: Owner, Immaculate Flight Rocky Mountain
Path to success: Weston owns an aircraft detailing business in Colorado and Wyoming. His company is part of a larger network nationwide, but the work he has invested into his division has made him successful in his state despite the economy.
Business sense: Weston understands the power of marketing, promoting his business through a website, flyers, networking luncheons, trade shows and social media. He recently acquired a hangar at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield to provide a better level of service than his competitors.
Words to live by: "As the (Immaculate Flight) franchise owner in Colorado, my employees and I serve the airports from Denver to Aspen and from Boulder to Colorado Springs," Blackie told Airport Journals.com. "We are passionate about making customers happy and protecting their flying assets and investments."
CHARISSE MCAULIFFE, 33
Professional position: CEO, GenGreen
Path to success: After graduating from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, McAuliffe began her career working as a producer for Warner Brothers/Telepictures in its development department and later as a production manager on shows for MSNBC, A&E, MTV and CBS. She worked as a freelance broadcast producer in Ohio before moving in 2006 to Fort Collins, where she founded GenGreen LLC. GenGreenLife is home to the largest green businesses directory in North America with more than 100,000 approved businesses across 24 different industries.
Making an impact: In spring 2011, McAuliffe created the Women Entrepreneurs Leadership Summit, sponsored and hosted by Colorado State University College of Business. The goal was to grow awareness of the challenges facing women in entrepreneurship, provide practical advice, connections, and advancement to encourage the growth of women-led businesses.
Connecting with the community: McAuliffe organized and emceed the entire day of the sold-out summit, which featured 22 different speakers, including Kim Jordan from New Belgium Brewing, and Doug and Wynne O'Dell from O'Dell Brewery.
Praise from a colleague: "Charisse has a tremendous amount of determination and passion," business associate David Bowen said. "There is nothing she can't do when she sets her mind to it."
TYSON HORNER, 30
Professional position: General manager, SummitCove
Path to success: SummitCove manages multiple properties in the Keystone area. Horner, who joined the company in 2008, is credited with more than doubling the size of the company since his arrival. "Mr. Horner started when our company was very small. He took the time to understand the industry, set small goals and build upon successes along the way," says his supervisor, Peter Reeburgh. "His work ethic has become the talk of the company and he serves as an example for others to work toward."
Making an impact: Through extensive research, Horner has been able to help his company find competitive advantages, changes in the industry his company says have been copied by other property management companies.
Connecting with the community: Horner became involved in the Summit County Chamber of Commerce and now serves on its board of directors.
Praise from a colleague: "Mr. Horner has two of the highest qualities in a person: Honesty and the drive to never give up," Reeburgh says. "When faced with huge challenges, he never gives up until the job is done 100 percent and people are happy with the outcome."
CHRISTINA SAUNDERS, 26
Professional position: Owner and attorney, Nouveau Law
Path to success: Saunders opted to start her own law firm shortly after graduating from college. She gained legal experience as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Justice Terry Christiansen in the Third District Court of Utah, and as an associate for Park City Municipal Corp. in Park City, Utah. She has a bachelor's degree from Bates College in English and art history. She participated in the University of San Diego's Institute of International and Comparative Law in Florence, Italy.
Making an impact: Saunders helps clients to protect intellectual property, investments and businesses. Her areas of practice include copyright, trademark, licensing, general corporate, business formation and organization, and art law.
Connecting with the community: Saunders has devoted much of her time to her community through volunteering and pro bono work. She is a member of the state bar associations in both Utah and Colorado, the American Bar Association, the Colorado Women's Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association IP Section. She is involved in a number of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Rocky Mountian Innocence Center and the Kempe Foundation.
JUSTIN ANTHONY, 37
Professional position: Owner, Matchbox
Path to success: Read Justin Anthony's nomination for the Gen XYZ honor, and it sounds like he's an IT guy and corporate career executive who just happens to own a bar. Anthony opened the Matchbox in the River North Art District in March. He is also the co-founder and president of Denver-based Internet startup Abodigy.
Making an impact: "Few things drive Justin more than seeing people succeed," says his business partner Sudhir Kudva. "He attributes the bulk of his success in the corporate world to getting the right people involved and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Though Justin has provided monetary support in the form of seed funding, most of his contributions come in the form of hands-on involvement."
Connecting with the community: "Sometimes this involves a more formal advisory role, and other times it's sitting down with a group that has an idea and working with them to make it happen," Kudva says. "A recent example of the former is his role in this year's TedX Mile High committee where he helped generate both dollars and an interest that translated into increased attendance." Kudva also cited Anthony's ongoing contributions to new businesses like GreenSpaces and the Denver Patio Ride crew.
EMANUEL ANTON, 37
Professional position: CEO and owner, ALG Attorneys
Path to success: Since in 2007, Anton has started several businesses in addition to launching his own law firm. Among the startups: a real estate development and investment business; and a maritime security and counter-piracy business, Lakonian International. He served as CEO of Lakonian through 2010, its first year.
Making an impact: In 2010 Anton received the Colorado Bar Association's Gary McPheson Award for Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year. A believer in "collaborative implementation," Anton serves on the Strategic Advisory Council for Bye Energy, a company developing of electric engines and biofuels for the aircraft market.
Connecting with the community: Anton and his wife are parent advocates for the Mile High Down Syndrome Association, and since 2005 they've met with parents of newborns with Down Syndrome on request. "In addition to volunteering himself, Emanuel also allows and encourages the attorneys in his firm to adjust their schedules so they too can donate their time and resources to the local schools and clubs they choose to support," said employee Sue Carriere, who nominated Anton for this Gen XYZ award. From 2006 to 2009, Anton served on the board of directors for Metropolitan ARC of Colorado, which works to build better lives for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families by improving connections to schools, work and the community.
JAYSON REMILLARD, 25
Professional postion: Founder and president, MHP Sales Consultants
Path to success: On the recommendation of a professor at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Remillard sought to launch a sales-related company without financing. The result was MHP (Mile High Professional) Sales Consultants, which has acquired more than a dozen businesses and resold them for a combined average of 212 percent return on investment. MHP Sales Consultants also counsels businesses on marketing strategies and makes recommendations for increasing profitability.
Making an impact: Remillard was nominated for this Gen XYZ award by Ted Davis, a client who credits Remillard for providing online and direct-sales training that has helped Davis transition from a 25-year career with a Kansas fire department to a real estate business that provides a steady income. "His strategies are first tested on his own service, online and retail subsidiaries," Davis said, touting Remillard's "adaptation and alterations of existing ideas" as keys to his effectiveness. "There is no doubt that Jayson has what it takes to understand change in buying and selling, and ample research allows him to predict new trends, which has helped my business grow to an unprecedented level."
Connecting with the community: Remillard recently raised more than $20,000 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as well as completed a 39.6 mile walk in Keystone in support of breast cancer prevention and cure.
CODY SUDMEIER, 32
Professional position: Co-founder and principal of Agility Solutions, and founder and CEO of All The Above Clothing
Path to success: Sudmeier has launched two successful but very different companies. Agility Solutions is a Denver-based consulting firm that provides IT audit, internal audit and compliance services to major telecomm providers. It has grown from two employees to 40 in five years. A second venture, All the Above Clothing, is an apparel company whose purpose is to help nonprofits get their message out in a fashionable way.
Making an impact: All the Above (ATA) Clothing started in January 2010 with this simple concept: Instead of making money and then giving, why not give and then hope that it leads to profits? ATA works with talented artists and nonprofits to create high-end apparel designs for organizations and events. Proceeds benefit the nonprofits, and supporters gain visibility.
Connecting with the community: Sudmeier has served as a Big Brother for nearly 10 years. ATA Clothing is changing how for-profit companies make giving back a part of their business model. ATA partners with various nonprofits to promote their missions while raising critical funds.
ETIENNE HARDRE, 29
Professional position: Founder and principal, Next Exit Advisors, a Colorado Springs-based venture capital consulting firm that helps small businesses and middle-market entrepreneurs "turn dreams into businesses."
Path to success: Before finishing college, Hardre partnered with a friend to start a print-design company. After selling his interest in the business, he spent several years in corporate accounting for private middle-market companies before moving into public accounting as a CPA.
Making an impact: Hardre serves as CFO on multiple startups in various stages of development and consults with dozens of companies on issues of finance, accounting, startup dynamics and leadership. He co-founded the Springs Vision Forum that hosted the Young Professional Mayoral Forum streamed live online with questions relevant to young professionals' concerns about their community. He serves on multiple boards in the Colorado Springs area.
Community involvement: Hardre serves on the board of directors for Peak Venture Group, is treasurer for Middle Market Entrepreneurs, and is a member of the Young Venture Capital Society and the Colorado Springs Young Professionals along with several other affiliations.
BILL AIRY, 33
Professional position: Founder, Poo Free Parks
Path to success: Airy launched Poo Free Parks in 2008 after seeing a dog owner walk away from his dog's mess at Sloan's Lake Park. He conceived a business that would provide eco-friendly pet waste supplies and services to local communities, and he presented the idea to the city and county of Denver. Today the business serves more than 120 parks throughout the U.S.
Making an impact: Besides reducing harmful pet waste in parks and waterways, the service that Airy's company provides is delivered to local communities at no cost to municipalities or taxpayers. The model is funded through sponsorships by businesses and organizations that are publicly recognized for their support on signage attached to each station. Airy's business concept blends a community-based program with a unique revenue model and proves to other young professionals that doing business in an environmentally and socially responsible manner can be profitable and rewarding.
Entrepreneurial history: Airy started his first company, an online service designed to help people improve their credit scores, in 2007 in his spare time outside of his 9-5 sales job. After the first 30 days, he had grown the company's revenue significantly and was deriving more income from this new endeavor than from his sales job. With a steady revenue stream, he was able to leave his sales job and focus fulltime on the new business venture. The success of this venture enabled Airy to launch Poo Free Parks in 2008, while still running his other company, now with several employees.
Connecting with the community: Poo Free Parks is the embodiment of community activism. Instead of calling the city of Denver to complain about the issue of pet waste, Airy invested his resources into developing a business plan to deal with the problem. Airy also is an active member of the Denver, Parker, and Glendale chambers of commerce. He donates time and financial resources to the Greenway Foundation, an organization focused on reclamation of the South Platte River and other waterways, and to the Providence Network, a local nonprofit focused on rehabilitating members of the homeless community and residents of battered women's shelters.
CHRISTINA BRODSLY, 29
Professional position: Agency voice for Vladimir Jones, a Colorado Springs-based integrated marketing agency.
Path to success: Brodsly, who attended California State University at Long Beach, was public relations supervisor for a marketing agency in Las Vegas, where she worked on accounts for high-rises, restaurants and casinos. After leaving Las Vegas she freelanced as an online copywriter for Hasbro Toy Co. and for the city of Colorado Springs, where she moved in 2008. At Vladimir Jones, she went from public relations manager to agency voice in a little more than a year. She describes that role, unique to Vladimir Jones, as "a little bit of everything ... everything that President Meredith Vaughan touches, I'm involved with."
Making an impact: Brodsly, with Vladimir Jones, spearheaded a grassroots initiative called COSrocks to provide a platform for young professionals in Colorado Springs to communicate their love for the city. The aim of the movement is to keep talented young professionals in Colorado Springs and thus support the city's economic development. "Most people throw out ideas ... Christina makes them happen," says Matthew Ward, a former colleague of Brodsly's in Las Vegas and at Vladimir Jones who is now with Bristol Brewing Co., a client of the agency. "In five years, that drive hasn't faltered. I see her taking that to the next level of her business and civic leadership."
Community involvement: Brodsly served on the Pikes Peak Earth Day committee, conceptualizing and implementing a sustainable fashion show for the 2008 event. She also serves on Colorado Springs' Downtown Partnership marketing committee, for which she put together the People's Pedal Party that took place on the eve of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue in Colorado Springs.
CORI PLOTKIN, 29
Professional position: President and founder of Barefoot Public Relations in Denver.
Path to success: An anthropology major, Plotkin was an international English teacher and travel writer before gravitating to public relations. She worked at another Denver-based community-relations firm while pursuing a master's degree in public relations from the University of Denver. Starting as an intern, she vaulted to VP of communications for the company and headed up all media and PR accounts for the firm before leaving to launch Barefoot PR in 2010.
Entrepreneurial beginning: Born and raised just outside of Orlando, Fla., Plotkin spent most weekends as a youth at Cocoa Beach. In high school, she recognized that she could earn extra cash by making and selling shell bracelets and necklaces to the throngs of tourists that visited the area.
Making an impact: In its first 10 months, Barefoot PR grew from just one client on a long-term retainer to five, along with several other project-based accounts. The company expects to turn a profit in 2011.
Community involvement: Plotkin serves on the board of directors for Project PAVE, a nonprofit that empowers youth to end the cycle of relationship violence through prevention, education and early intervention. She was involved in the creation of Colorado Gives Day, a collaboration of Community First Foundation and FirstBank that raised $8.7 million in one day in 2010 for local charities. She is a frequent guest speaker and trainer on behalf of the Colorado Nonprofit Association.
KELLY GREEN, 36
Professional position: Owner and chairman of the board of Birko Corp., a provider of food-safety solutions for the meat-processing, food and beverage industries based in Henderson.
Path to success: Green is the third-generation owner of Birko, a company started by her grandparents. Under Green's leadership, Birko has been ranked No. 10 on the most recent ColoradoBiz Top 100 Woman-Owned Companies list. As the face of Birko, Green is active in new- business development at the corporate level and travels frequently to meet with customers and prospects. And if any deals need to be forged on the golf course, Green will make an impression: She was the Most Valuable Player on the University of Colorado women's golf team in 1997.
Making an impact: Green is one of two women serving on the National Meat Association's board of directors. Under her leadership, Birko has been an innovator in providing chemistry, equipment and technology for the food industry. Many Birko products are listed on the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) list of allowed products for use by organic processors, and many others are environmentally friendly, or environmentally neutral.
Community involvement: Green donates to the Rise School of Denver, a school for toddlers and preschoolers with developmental disabilities. She is a past board member of the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce.
MARK DAVIDSON, 30
Professional position: Director of business development for blue onion, a Lakewood-based advertising agency.
Path to success: Before joining blue onion in 2010, Davidson was director of donor relations for Mile High United Way. A fifth-generation Coloradan, he worked in Gov. Bill Owens' administration after earning an economics degree from the University of Northern Colorado and later joined Qwest Communications, assisting in state and local government policy and business-development initiatives.
Making an impact: According to Jackie Snyder, a membership consultant at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and one of two who nominated Davidson for this Gen XYZ honor, he has "been able to create a culture of community and civic engagement by motivating his colleagues to become active in the chamber's programs." Snyder says that Davidson, through his role as senior ambassador for the chamber, has "consistently connected business leaders and emerging leaders with the chamber and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation."
Putting ideas to work: While working full time, Davidson is also studying full time in pursuit of a master's degree in marketing and strategic health-care management from the University of Denver. "Mark has an incredible work ethic, working 50 hours per week and still managing to pursue his master's degree," says Todd Kuhlmann, Davidson's supervisor who also nominated Davidson for the Gen XYZ honor. "Despite Mark's relatively short tenure here at blue onion, he's been responsible for some big wins, generating lucrative business contracts through hard work and old-fashioned networking efforts." Kuhlmann also says, "Despite his youth, Mark has taught everyone in our organization, including our C-level executives, the importance of networking and how forging new relationships is the key to winning business."
YOSH EISBART, 39
Professional position: CEO and co-founder of NIMBL, an SAP (business-software) consulting firm based in Denver.
Path to success: As an independent consultant, Eisbart cultivated fruitful relationships with clients such as ExxonMobil and Nestle, now NIMBL clients. Other notable clients include Pepsico, Sports Chalet and Timberland.
Making an impact: In barely two years, NIMBL has grown from $2,000 in personal investment by the founders to more than 40 consultants. Last year's revenues of $4 million represented an increase of 353 percent over the previous year.
Connecting with the community: Among Eisbart's many community endeavors is his involvement with the Center for Immigrants and Immigration Services (CIIS), a Denver-based not-for-profit serving the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery abuses primarily from Africa. NIMBL provides the organization with IT services and infrastructure.
Putting ideas to work: Eisbart's promotion of SAP education is having a notable effect on Denver's job market and college students' futures. Through a close partnership with the Metropolitan State College of Denver and its SAP University Alliance program, NIMBL is providing real-world expertise including: guest lecturing; new coursework development; and the launch of an SAP-centric internship program.