Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureate: Ron Montoya

Ron Montoya rises early to face every weekday, but unlike many stressed-out businessmen, it’s not with a sense of dread or anxiety.

“The first thing I do is join some friends for coffee,” says the owner of Innov8 Solutions. “Then I come to work, where everyone around me is a friend.”

Montoya says he’d even count many of his business partners and clients among his friends.

“Relationships are the most important thing in life,” says Montoya, 72. “If you have good relationships, good things will come back to you.”

It seems a simple philosophy for a man who has charge of a fairly complex business. Innov8 Solutions is a supplier of telecommunications and electrical products. He started the company in 2009, after he sold PlasticComm, a manufacturer and supplier of telecommunications products, cable and cable products.

He’s been in business for 42 years, and he owes his success in part, he says, to his family. Both of his sons have been his business partners for years.

And his family, including his sons and his wife of 46 years, also share his passion for community involvement.

“One of my sons is interested in the educational community, the other in business development, but we all try to have an impact in everything we do,” Montoya says.

His impact is far-reaching. He’s on the board of directors of Rose Community Foundation and the Mexican Cultural Center. While most of his community involvement revolves around the state where he was born and settled in, in the 1990s, he served as chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“We had around 240 chambers throughout the U.S., so it was quite a job,” Montoya says.

But it’s his work at a small organization he recently founded that he’s most excited to discuss.

The Latino Community Foundation of Colorado started in conjunction with Rose Community Foundation to help Latino businesspeople who want to give back to the community. The group funds nonprofits throughout the state that serve the Latino population.

“We fund them for nontraditional projects; things you wouldn’t necessarily consider,” Montoya says. “One organization had a beautiful program that offered educational programs, but they closed down for a while because they needed a new furnace. We gave them the money, and they’re open again.”

Montoya says he is one of a growing number of business leaders making a commitment to giving back.

“Soon, we’ll be the largest population,” he says, noting the importance of the Latino vote in the recent election. “Our business community has grown as we have become cognizant of how we interact with the Anglo, Asian, African – really every community.”

His advice to business leaders who say they’re too busy to reach out to others is succinct and sensible.

“You know, everything is difficult,” he says. “So you have to simply commit yourself to hard work; commit yourself to bettering your community. Everyone has that responsibility, no matter what ethnic group you belong to.”

That Montoya is so passionate about altruism is no surprise to Doug Crichfield, CEO and president of Solera National Bank.

Montoya is president of the board of directors of the bank, which was created on the principals of inclusiveness and diversity.

“Ron is incredibly generous and exhibits a high degree of fairness and compassion,” Crichfield says. “People simply enjoy working with him. I call him the mayor, because when you walk down the street with him, everyone knows him, and he knows everyone.”