Youthful Achievement Bodes Well for Future Business

A preview of what's inside the January-February 2018 issue

Anyone who wonders about the pipeline of future business leaders in the state should be comforted by the 25 Most Influential Young Professionals profiled in this issue. The future, it would appear, is in good hands. The present isn't looking too shabby either, judging by this cast of under-40 achievers.

I've had the fulfilling experience of taking part in "Gen XYZ" judging for all eight years of this program, whittling hundreds of nominations down to a final 25 with help from ColoradoBiz peers and volunteer judges made up of past winners and leaders in the business community. Each time, I've been left with feelings of awe and appreciation – and yes, even a tad of achievement envy – in realizing what these nominees have accomplished, often at a very young age; also what they've given back.

The foremost consideration for Gen XYZ judges is professional achievement, with emphasis on the most recent two years. Community involvement and diversity of backgrounds are also considered. In the end, though, judges were asked: Which of these 25 most impress you and captivate you with their stories?

These are stories, compiled by Managing Editor Lisa Ryckman, of risk and reward, innovation and age-defying achievement.

Elsewhere in the magazine, writer Allen Best explores a part of the Western Slope known as the "banana belt" that boasts more organic farming per capita than any other region of the state, a claim that might be news even to Coloradans who care deeply about where their food comes from and who produces it.

We also present our annual Top 50 Family-Owned Companies, ranking and, perhaps as a counterbalance to all the coverage of youthful achievement, a story about Ackerman & Sons Furniture Workshop, a fifth-generation family business that dates back to 1895 and a German immigrant, the great, great grandfather of current owner Mike Ackerman. Few businesses make it to a second generation of family ownership, let alone five. Visiting the shop in Littleton and meeting Mike and his father, Jim, I came away with some understanding of the passion and dedication that's kept this storied family business going more than a century after it began.

Categories: GenXYZ, People