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Posted: April 17, 2009

Boulder’s Intrepid Travel named No. 1 place to work in U.S. by “Outside” magazine

Three other Colorado companies also make the top 10

Dan Ray

Even for a company designed to lead people “off the beaten track,” Intrepid Travel’s employment policies are a bit hard to come by in the work-a-day world.

Four weeks of annual paid vacation, free public transportation passes, paid days off for volunteering, monthly potluck lunches, weekly at-work happy hours and even a “bring your pet to work” day are all among the reasons that Intrepid Travel’s Boulder office has been honored by “Outside” magazine as the best place to work in America. “Outside” compiled its second annual “Best Places to Work” list, available on newsstands now, after a yearlong research process, involving the Outdoor Industries Association and the Best Companies Group. The process involved confidential surveys about employment policies, salaries, benefits and overall satisfaction

“Everybody loves what they sell, so they love what they do,” said Tiffany Richards, president of Intrepid Travel’s Boulder office.

Intrepid employs nearly 1,000 workers in 100 countries worldwide, but its U.S. branch – based in Boulder – has only been open since December 2007. The company focuses specifically on finding unique travel experiences for their customers, or what is sometimes called “adventure travel.”

“It’s all about learning about people and understanding their culture,” Richards said. “And we think that that philosophy needs to carry over into work.”

Part of that Intrepid’s philosophy regarding travel doubtlessly plays into its vacation policies, she said.

“Here, if you take off a week, people say, ‘You’re crazy! You can’t possibly enjoy a place in just one week,’” she said.

If you work late at Intrepid, it actually counts against you in your performance record, Richards said.

Intrepid was started in 1989, when two Australian travelers started the company with the goal of taking guests to some of the special locales and expose them to the unique experiences they had encountered during their personal exploration of Asia. Since that time, the company has expanded and taken more than 80,000 guests on distinctive trips of their own.

Other Colorado companies making “Outside” magazine’s top ten include: (2) Louisville-based Natural Habitat Adventures travel agency, (7) Steamboat Springs-based Smartwool performance apparel company and (9) Boulder-based Rally Software Development company.

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Dan Ray is a graduate student at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

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