Top 50 Minority-Owned Companies 2013: Familiar faces

A year ago, in our July diversity section that includes a ranking of the state’s top minority-owned companies based on revenue, we reported that No. 1 Venoco Inc. was also one of Colorado’s top public companies.

But if you were paying really close attention to our Top 100 Public Companies list last month, you’d have noted the tiny asterisk sitting atop the oil and gas exploration and production company’s name. That’s because Venoco shareholders completed a “go-private” agreement with founder and executive chairman Tim Marquez, who already owned more than 50 percent of the company. The transaction closed last October.

The top three in the 2013 minority-owned list are identical to last year’s, with Venoco followed by two auto dealerships, Mike Shaw Management and Alpine Buick GMC.

Along with the revenue-based ranking, we recognize Colorado firms and business owners who have furthered the cause of diversity in the workplace. No. 17 Greenwood Village-based technology staffing and solutions firm Istonish is represented among our Minority Businessperson finalists. Engineering firm Geocal Inc. is among the three Diversity Corporation finalists.

And it’s not just ColoradoBiz that sees the value of diversity. Husband-wife team Stacey and Michelle Campbell recently launched the Colorado Diversity and inclusion Think Tank (CDIT2), which they hope will consist of 20 high-ranking company representatives who will come together quarterly to brainstorm and create action plans to improve inclusiveness in the Colorado business community.

Executives from organizations such as FirstBank Holding Co., Regis University, RE/MAX, the Regional Transportation District, the Western Area Power Administration and others have committed to participating.

“Since we’re the largest locally owned bank, it made sense for us to be a part of it,” said Jamie Tafoya, assistant vice president of marketing for FirstBank. She explained that the financial organization’s CEO John Ikard will partake in the collaborative effort to achieve “agreed-upon best practices and create a culture and support system for business owners and employees around the state.”

CDIT2’s efforts are expected to address the full gamut of diversity concerns including race, gender, religion, sexual-orientation and physical disability issues, ultimately aiming to improve the workplace and make Colorado a more “progressive state,” according to Michelle Campbell, a managing partner of M.D. Campbell & Associates.

Ultimately, the results of CDIT2’s meetings will be published in the Denver Business Journal  for the public to digest and incorporate into their own business infrastructures.

“I think we’ve reached a point as a whole where we want to put things into action,” Tafoya said. FirstBank sets an example with its recruitment efforts and internal internship programs that focus on finding diverse candidates. “Over the years, we’ve gotten better about expanding our net. …Why now? We’re all talked out,” Tafoya said.