Top Company winner: IMA Financial


IMA Financial Group

Denver-based IMA Financial Group won Top Company 2012 honors by scoring the business equivalent of a triple crown.

Rivals for Colorado’s most competitive business honor, Top Company 2012 must evince their best-in-class supremacy in three critical categories: financial performance, wholehearted community involvement, and outstanding achievement in innovation, operations, marketing or other key accomplishments.

IMA’s financial performance: Company revenue is up 16 percent the first eight months of this year, says IMA Financial Group Chairman and CEO Robert Cohen, and up an average of 11 percent for the past 10 years.

The decade cited includes some year’s sales up 20 percent, some up three percent to four percent, but all of them up.

“In the Great Recession, when everybody was saying, ‘flat’s the new good,’ we were still growing,” Cohen says.

And now, “Things are getting better. I don’t think things are going to go back to the way they were. We’re going to slowly climb out of where we were, slow movement you don’t see on a day-to-day basis.”

IMA just finished its “Strategic Plan: 2020,” which lays out the path to “double if not triple the company in the next seven years,” Cohen says.

IMA also might deserve recognition for its outstanding ownership arrangement. Cohen terms IMA a “privately held, employee-owned company.”

“We’re a knowledge and service business, and if you think about knowledge and service, it all comes down to people,” Cohen notes. “If you have a system that can attract and retain top talent, then you put a good strategic plan in alignment with that top talent, you ought to be able to outperform.”

Community involvement? The IMA Foundation has annually given a minimum of 2.5 percent of IMA profits to nonprofits. On average IMA employees participate in 4,000 hours of volunteer work each year. Cohen himself won the 2010 Goodwill Industries Community Leader award.