Why Colorado? Happiness is Driven by Sunshine
What's so special about Colorado anyway, and why businesses set up shop and relocate to Denver?
David Levin moved to Colorado in 1995 to attend college at University of Colorado Boulder. Like so many who came before, he fell in love with the state. He relished the sunshine. He dove into the lifestyle. So, after graduation, he made Colorado his home and began his entrepreneurial adventures.
Just 13 years after founding Four Winds Interactive – a digital signage software company – Levin didn't just call Colorado home, he began helping others do the same. Growing rapidly from a small startup to an established organization with more than 400 employees, FWI is a member of Denver's well-established technology community.
Since FWI's inception, the state's economy has boomed, spurring tech upstarts and enticing well-known firms to open offices and even relocate headquarters. Summing up Colorado as a state where "happiness is driven by sunshine," Levin isn't surprised to see the influx of other technology companies. Organizations and their employees are attracted to the state's affordable housing, sense of community and relatively low levels of traffic. Additionally, Colorado's central geography provides access to both coasts, making business travel easier.
Considering FWI has called Denver home since its inception, Levin had a front row seat to the city's growth. The revitalization of LoDo and downtown has brought new business to the city. Meanwhile, the arts and theater scene is thriving. The outdoor recreation opportunities feel endless. And underpinning all of that, there's a growing energy in the city, anchored by an unyielding sense of community and driven by a future filled with innovation and excitement.
No stranger to that rush of interest and delight, FWI has moved four times due to its expanding employee count. The last move took place in late 2015, planting the company's HQ in the heart of Denver's cultural district, adjacent to the Denver Art Museum. The building itself is a testament to innovation and FWI's product, with hundreds of screens powering a variety of digital signage applications. Yet, with its futuristic design and technologically integrated spaces, the building still manages to embrace one of the staples of the Colorado lifestyle – the same thing that attracted Levin to Colorado in the first place:
"We left the floor to ceiling glass unobstructed to create a bright, open, collaborative workspace," Levin says. "The office has over 60 spots and sunlit open spaces where employees can work away from their desks."
As a founding member of the Colorado Technical Recruiting Coalition, Four Winds Interactive is helping shape the future of technology in Colorado. The Coalition launched the Pivot to Colorado campaign, with a mission to market the phenomenal job opportunities in Colorado and recruit top technical talent from the Bay Area. And while Denver is not for everyone, it's the right place for those looking to make a lifestyle change and live where they can not only thrive professionally, but personally, too.
Thanks to time traveling to Silicon Valley, Levin has come to appreciate the benefits of living in a state that values, promotes and embraces a culture of health, wellness and balance – the kind that people talk about, but few experience. These values are reflected in FWI's perks, such as an onsite fitness facility, free yoga and cross-fit classes, unlimited PTO, remote work opportunities and parental leave. Many other Denver-based companies offer similar benefits and ultimately reap the benefits of a happier, more engaged and higher-performing workforce.
As more people are attracted to Colorado for its many outdoor activities, companies are increasingly finding ways to weave the state's reputation for recreation into the fabric of their respective cultures. Flexible schedules allow employees to get outside for a run during a lunch break and team-building exercises often include ski trips, hiking, white water rafting or Colorado Rockies baseball games. FWI has several Bay Area transplants drawn here by the promise of an achievable active lifestyle.
"I was looking for a change of scenery and was drawn to Colorado because of the mountains and outdoor activities available year-round," says FWI Account Executive Tuan Nguyen. "This city has more than lived up to my expectations."
So, why Colorado?
Levin would say the sunshine.
Nguyen would say the mountains.
Businesses might mention the career opportunities.
They're all right.
Rachel Kargas is the director of talent acquisition at Four Winds Interaction.