Editor's Note: Decades of Accomplishment

Bruce Benson celebrates 10-year-anniversary as University of Colorado president, along with an 80th birthday

Some traditionalists in academia expressed skepticism when the University of Colorado named businessman and high-profile conservative Bruce Benson the school's president in 2007. And yet, this March marked Benson's 10th year at the helm at CU, making him the school's longest-serving president in the past 65 years.

Beginning his tenure as Colorado and the nation were headed into recession, Benson figured to bring a business approach to the challenges CU faced, but the former oilman and Republican gubernatorial candidate has brought more than business acumen to the job. Writer Stewart Schley spent part of a day shadowing Benson and noted the president's practice of keeping a yellow legal pad and scratching off "to-dos" as they're completed. Schley came away with a profile for this issue that captures Benson's appetite for work and problem-solving that dates back to his childhood on an Illinois farm, his experience as an oilman, investor, political influencer and champion of higher education. Benson turns 80 this month and shows no signs of slowing down. Besides, Schley writes, no one seems in a hurry to see him go.

This also marks the 10th year of the Colorado Companies to Watch program and out role as editorial sponsor. It's been an invaluable partnership for ColoradoBiz as we strive to fulfill our mission of covering business statewide, and, I hope, a beneficial alliance for the CCTW program.

CCTW judges undertake the daunting task of identifying the most promising emerging companies from around the state that are poised to break out. Not all of these companies will reach the heights of OtterBox, Justin's Nut Butter or Oskar Blues Brewery – three of the 50 winners in the 2009 inaugural CCTW class – but most of these enterprises will play key roles in fueling Colorado's economic fire for years to come. Indeed, the 500 winning companies over the decade have generated more than 19,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in revenue to date, ColoradoBiz  Managing Editor Lisa Ryckman points out.

All 50 of this year's winners have a story to tell, a product or service that has blossomed beyond startup stage, and you'll find them in this issue.

Categories: Companies to Watch