ColoradoBiz Top Company: 42 firms vie for Colorado’s most competitive business award

Since its inception in 1988, the ColoradoBiz Top Company Awards program has spanned booms and busts – and ultimately, recoveries – in oil and gas, in real estate, in dot-coms and telecoms, to name a few. In some years, a business’ mere survival has constituted a notable triumph. But always, some firms manage to stand out. And when on top of that they extend a hand in their communities so that others may also succeed, they earn the chance to be deemed a Top Company. (See the first part of the list below and the rest of the snapshots here and here.)

Now in its 25th year, the Top Company Awards program continues to live up to its moniker of “Colorado’s most competitive business award” by putting companies through a rigorous gauntlet of scrutiny. Firms are judged on three criteria: financial performance, community involvement and outstanding achievement in areas such as product innovation, operational excellence or marketing effectiveness.

Three finalists in each industry category are chosen from evaluations by longtime sponsor Deloitte. A panel of business professionals and policy officials then selects the winners. Competing companies must be headquartered or have a significant presence in Colorado.

This year, three industry categories have been added to better reflect Colorado’s business landscape: Consulting and Professional Services; Energy/Natural Resources; and Software.

Winners from each of the 14 industry categories will be announced, and the finalists recognized, at the 25th annual Top Company Awards celebration Sept. 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Seawell Ballroom of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Denver.

For registration information, contact Katie Ciurzynski at or (303) 662-5222. Or register by going to and clicking on the “Events” tab.

Download the Top Company finalists list, along with all other ColoradoBiz business lists at



Global Technology Resources

Years in business: 14

Location: Denver

CEO: Greg Byles

Company snapshot: GTRI is one of the leading Cisco Systems solutions providers in the country.

Notable practices: The company is one of only three companies out of Cisco’s 4,500 partners to hold the Cisco Gold Certification, Cisco Cloud Builder Certification and all three Master Certifications, which include Unified Communications Specialization, Security Specialization and Managed Services Specialization. GTRI employees have invested countless hours and resources to gain in-depth knowledge of all certified areas and have proved their master-level capabilities to meet customers’ rigorous information technology requirements.

Community involvement: Employees receive a fixed amount of paid time off each year to participate in a charitable endeavor. GTRI’s Matching Gifts Program doubles employees’ community contributions up to $250 per employee annually.

LT Environmental

Years in business: 20

Location: Arvada

CEO: Thomas Murphy

Company snapshot: LT Environmental specializes in compliance, engineering and remediation for a diverse range of industries and markets including oil and gas, manufacturing/industrial, real estate, government, and public and private property owners.

Notable practices: LTE is designing a wind-powered remediation system for remote locations. By constructing a small wind generator capable of producing sufficient power to operate the subsurface remediation system, LTE has again been able to reduce the capital and life-cycle costs to clients in an environmentally friendly way.

Community involvement: LTE supports Food Bank of the Rockies, Arapahoe House, National Sports Center for the Disabled, American Red Cross and St. Jude Children’s Hospital, among others. It also supports the RTD FasTracks projects throughout Denver.

SDL Language

Years in business: 20

Location: Superior

CEO: John Hunter

Company snapshot: SDL Language Services enables companies to engage with their global customers – in the language, the media and at the moment they choose. Supported by an expansive global infrastructure of in-house, in-country translation offices and market-leading technology, SDL works with cross-industry leading companies to accelerate global time to market for products and decrease translation costs by delivering innovative language solutions for every stage of the product and content lifecycles. On average, SDL enables clients to achieve up to 50 percent acceleration in time to market, 50 percent increase in productivity and 40 percent reduction in localization costs.

Notable practices: As a result of tremendous growth, the company created the SDL Apprentice Training Program as a means of offering in-depth and hands-on training to prospective employees, while providing a platform for SDL to recruit for all disciplines of its growing business.

Community involvement: The SDL Foundation gives employees the opportunity to get involved in working with and supporting charities and deserving causes, preferably close to their own communities. SDL recently implemented a policy to allow employees up to five working days off per year to do charity work.


Crocs Inc.

Years in business: 10

Location: Niwot

CEO: John McCarvel

Company snapshot: Crocs Inc. is a world leader in innovative casual footwear for men, women and children with more than 300 four-season footwear styles. All Crocs shoes feature Croslite material, a proprietary, revolutionary technology that gives each pair of shoes soft, comfortable, lightweight and odor-resistant qualities.

Notable practices: Crocs’ integrated marketing campaign, “Crocs Inside,” is the first campaign fully executed by Crocs in-house. Showing the diversity of the brand is a top business priority for 2012 and the focus of this campaign. “Crocs Inside” print and online advertisements communicate this idea by highlighting newer Crocs styles that offer the comfort of the classic clog style that made the brand famous. Already deemed a vast success internally and by industry standards, the “Crocs Inside” campaign will reach 230 million readers.

Community involvement: Crocs Cares was created to make a difference in the lives of children and families in need through initiatives that positively impact the environment, employees and communities in which Crocs does business. Crocs Cares has donated more than 3 million pairs of shoes since the program’s inception, a retail value of roughly $20 million, and 70 percent of those donations have gone directly to children.

Maxx HD

Years in business: 7

Location: Monument

CEO: Rick Milner

Company snapshot: MAXX HD Sunglasses is a family-owned business initially operated out of a tent. It now has a 30,000-square-foot facility, 46 employees and more than 14,000 accounts across the country.

Notable practices: Maxx HD has been approved to be an officially licensed supplier of Major League Baseball sunglasses and is in the process of obtaining licensing for the NFL. The company has the technology to customize sunglasses for businesses, teams, organizations, nonprofits, special events and fundraisers. Consumers can choose the style, color and logo on the arm of the sunglasses.

Community involvement: Maxx HD Sunglasses proactively seeks out nonprofit partnerships to support via in-kind donations, employee volunteers and monetary contributions. MAXX HD Sunglasses sponsors several youth sports teams throughout the U.S. Maxx offers a monetary sponsorship as well as in-kind donations for the teams and their coaching staffs.

New Belgium


Years in business: 21

Location: Fort Collins

CEO: Kim Jordan

Company snapshot: The company brews 48 craft beers. It has 424 coworkers in 29 states.

Notable practices: When CEO Kim Jordan decided to share ownership in the company, she also implemented a policy whereby all co-workers have monthly financial training and all financial information (with the exception of salaries) is presented to the group. This means that all employees can read a profit-and-loss sheet and contribute to sound decision-making.

Community involvement: In 1995, New Belgium’s Philanthropy program began donating $1 for every barrel of beer produced to nonprofits where New Belgium is served. It has since donated more than $2.5 million. New Belgium’s Tour de Fat, a traveling festival that raises money for local nonprofits, has surpassed $2 million.


DCP Midstream
(formerly Duke Energy)

Years in business: 83

Location: Denver

CEO: Tom O’Connor

Company snapshot: DCP Midstream is the second-largest natural gas gatherer and processor, the largest natural gas liquids producer and one of the largest marketers of natural gas and natural gas by-products in the United States.

Notable practices: DCP ended 2011 with its second-best safety performance ever – 19 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable injuries and an incident rate of 0.63. In 2010, DCP achieved its best safety performance with a 0.59 total recordable incident rate – a 42 percent decrease compared with the three-year average rate.

Community involvement: DCP matches the contributions of its employees to eligible charities. Employees may also opt in for payroll deductions and select from six national charities: the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, American Humane Society, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen and United Way.

SkyFuel Inc.

Years in business: 5

Location: Arvada

CEO: Richard LeBlanc

Company snapshot: SkyFuel designs and builds renewable energy equipment that will reduce CO2 emissions to make a cleaner environment.

Notable practices: The company’s solar concentrators can be used to convert a power plant that runs on fossil fuels to run on clean solar energy. The solar concentrators are built in Colorado for utility-scale solar projects in North America and around the world. The company hires engineers and interns from local universities.

Community involvement: SkyFuel community service and charitable programs include book drives for Boy Scouts of America, Barnes & Noble and Borders; and donations to Goodwill of used computers and office equipment.


Years in business: 12

Location: Denver

President and CFO: David Honeyfield

Company snapshot: Intrepid Potash is the only western world producer created and dedicated solely to potassium-related products, which are essential for agriculture. Since 2005, Intrepid has supplied, on average, 1.6 percent of annual world consumption and 9.3 percent of annual U.S. consumption of potassium.

Notable practices: The company is using solution mining and solar evaporation to safely and economically allow maximum recovery of potash ore that was unable to be extracted with conventional underground mining.

Community involvement: As a strong supporter of schools and education, Intrepid has provided funding for the Carlsbad (N.M) Schools Advanced Placement Initiative, college and vocational scholarships, and scoreboards for school gyms and softball fields. Intrepid is also a Relay for Life Diamond Sponsor, Mission Carlsbad sponsor and supporter of local youth athletic teams.


First Western

Years in business: 8

Location: Denver

CEO: Scott Wylie

Company snapshot: First Western is a wealth management and private banking institution that connects its clients with integrated financial guidance while ensuring strength and security during the best and worst of economic times.

Notable practices: ConnectView, First Western’s proprietary approach to wealth management, focuses on a client’s entire financial picture and taps into the firm’s many disciplines. Beyond trusts, First Western’s services extend to wealth planning, private banking, investment management and more, and associates are cross-trained to understand and apply each when appropriate.

Community involvement: This year marks the fourth year of an employee-client partnership to serve dinner once a month to nearly 160 homeless adults at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. First Western and its clients help patrons stay nourished, allowing them to focus on the Shelter’s Transition Program “curriculum” — to find jobs and reconnect with family.

Guaranty Bank
and Trust

Years in business: 57

Location: Denver

CEO: Paul Taylor

Company snapshot: A wholly owned subsidiary of Guaranty Bancorp, Guaranty Bank and Trust provides banking and other financial services, including real estate, construction, commercial and industrial, energy, consumer and agriculture loans, to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses. Guaranty Bank also provides private banking and trust services, including personal trust administration, estate settlement, investment management accounts and self-directed IRAs.

Notable practices: The bank has recorded five consecutive quarters of improved net income growth. It also had $116.6 million in new loans and additional credit on existing lines during the first quarter of 2012.

Community involvement: The bank has an ongoing partnership with the Denver Rescue Mission in which they provide volunteers to serve lunch once a month at the Lawrence Street Shelter. In addition, a team of bankers provides financial training to individuals and families transitioning out of the Crossing’s Shelter.

IMA Financial

Years in business: 38

Location: Denver

CEO: Rob Cohen

Employees: 450

Company snapshot: IMA Inc., a retail insurance broker, is a subsidiary of The IMA Financial Group Inc., a diversified financial-services company. Consistently ranked among the top 20 independently owned brokers in the United States, the employee-owned company offers a full range of risk management related products with offices in Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita.

Notable practices: At a time when many insurance brokerages are retrenching and closing their doors, being sold, considering or performing layoffs, IMA is expanding and growing. In the past 10 years, IMA Financial Group has grown from $16 million in revenue in 2001 to $90 million in revenue in 2011, and its work force has grown from 125 to 450 employees.

Community involvement: IMA’s $32 million headquarters, scheduled to open in 2013, is the first private building to begin construction as part of the Union Station Neighborhood redevelopment. IMA is allocating part of its space to house a conference room that will be available for nonprofit organizations to use free of charge. The five-story building will also have 108,000 square feet of rentable space.


Craig Hospital

Years in business: 106

Location: Englewood

Executive Director: Mary Feller

Employees: 550

Company snapshot: Craig Hospital is a premier center for specialty rehabilitation and research for people with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. The 93-bed private nonprofit acute-care and rehabilitation hospital provides a comprehensive system of inpatient and outpatient medical care, rehabilitation, neurosurgical rehabilitative care and long-term follow-up services. Half of Craig’s patients come from outside Colorado; in 2010, the hospital treated patients from 48 states and several foreign countries.

Notable practices: On average, Craig graduates make greater gains during their initial treatment, are discharged home at higher rates, return to work or school in greater numbers, are more functionally independent and have higher levels of community reintegration and satisfaction with life than their national peer group treated in other rehabilitation programs.

Community involvement: In 2011, Craig opened a world-class patient fitness and wellness facility, The Peak Center at Craig Hospital. PEAK (Performance, Exercise, Attitude, Knowledge) was created specifically for people with neurologic disabilities who want to optimize their recovery and prevent secondary complications associated with immobility.

Delta Dental

Years in business: 51

Location: Denver

CEO: Kathryn Paul

Company snapshot: The state’s largest dental-benefits company serves more than a million members. The company’s dual network provides a wide coverage reach for its members – more than 88 percent of dentists statewide provide care through the Delta Dental plans.

Notable practices: The company has launched a series of operational changes to improve customer service, increase efficiency and respond to customer requests, such as providing a dental-implants benefit. A new group administration online suite streamlines the process by guiding the user through a series of questions – only serving up content relevant to the group’s size and situation. The suite supports multiple users – and sends out electronic notifications at key checkpoints in the process.

Community involvement: In 2011, the company launched Healthy Smiles for Colorado Kids, with an animated video and lesson plan targeting children from kindergarten through second grade. The oral health kits also included helpful tools for teachers, including toothbrushes, a poster, stickers and a certificate of achievement from the Tooth Fairy. The grassroots program has grown from a distribution of a few dozen kits to more than 1,500 in the last six months.

Donor Alliance

Years in business: 27

Location: Denver

CEO: Sue Dunn

Company snapshot: As the federally designated, nonprofit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming, the company raises awareness of the need for organ, eye and tissue donors and encourages donor registration. The company also facilitates the recovery of organs and tissue from donors in its service area.

Notable practices: The company uses the Quint Studer management philosophy, which focuses on helping health-care organizations to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational and financial outcomes. As a result, Donor Alliance’s employee turnover has dropped more than 10 percent in three years.

Community involvement: Staff members each receive $100 per year to donate to the charity of their choice. The organization coordinates four employee fundraising drives throughout the year, giving back to community causes such as schools and food banks.