This week marks the 40th year since the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce instituted its annual Small Business of the Year awards.
Each of the finalists and winners serves as a role model for other Colorado companies that aspire to achieve similar success - both financially and in terms of community recognition.
Sponsors of this year's gala ceremony, scheduled for Friday, April 27, include Colorado Business Bank, the Colorado Housing and Financing Authority (CHFA), WhiteWave Foods, and Xcel Energy.
On our April 22nd show, co-hosts David Biondo and Dean Rotbart interview Robert Blankenship, the Chamber's chief operating officer, and Joe Barrows, who served as one of the judges of the 2012 small business competition. Barrows is vice president of private banking for Colorado Business Bank.
“These folks had a dream, they put hard work and perseverance into making their dreams successful, they created an opportunity to employ people...and at the end of the day, they have been very successful,” Blankenship says.
The Chamber will honor two finalists and a winner in six categories: Small Business of the Year; Emerging Business of the Year; Minority-owned Business of the Year; Small Non-profit Organization of the Year; Large Non-profit Organization of the Year; and Green Business of the Year.
The finalists are:
Small Business of the Year
• GroundFloor Media: an award-winning public relations agency focusing on strategic communications, social media, reputation, crisis management and digital communications
• Enserca, LLC: professional services in support of the development of the infrastructure for the transportation and generation of energy including engineering, design, rights of way acquisition, project management, survey and construction oversite.
• Platte River Networks: a technology consulting firm providing complete IT services for small- to mid-sized businesses, Platt River Networks' unique Intuition technology provides full-time remote and on-site management of network infrastructure ensures critical data remains constantly accessible, secure and retrievable.
Emerging Business of the Year
• NIMBL: a privately-held, nationally recognized award-winning SAP professional services firm focused on high-value, high-impact consulting, NIMBL provides bleeding-edge technical SAP consulting services and proprietary SAP Express software solutions to both the midmarket and Fortune 500.
• Image Brew: a high-end, video production boutique who creates compelling, high-definition videos for many types of media, ranging from web to broadcast to mobile.
• A Master's Hands, LLC: the affordable remodeling and handyman services company that provides a wide range of services for its clients from kitchen and bath remodeling to sprinkler systems along with garage door maintenance, decks and landscaping.
Minority-owned Business of the Year
• The Prescott Group, LLC: has services ranging from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), management consultant, organizational change management consulting, software application and IT/ERP staffing.
• Larimer Catering - Denver Corporate Catering: a full-service corporate caterer dedicated to serving the Greater Denver business community.
• Campos EPC, LLC: focuses on supporting clients in the many facets of pipeline integrity regulations, programs and implementation; offerings include services associated with turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) pipline and facility projects, pipeline integrity, field services and pipeline and environmental compliance and permitting.
Small Non-profit Organization of the Year
• Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK): offers a selection of science and natural resource programs, leadership development and stewardship activities to public and private schools in metro Denver, grades preK-12.
• Denver Bike Sharing (DBS): owns and operates Denver B-cycle, a citywide public bike sharing system with 52 stations and 520 bikes.
• Minds Matter of Denver, Inc.: a 100 percent volunteer organization with goals to increase academic performance, improve leadership skills, assist with college applications and obtain college financial aid/scholarships for disadvantaged Denver Public Schools high school students so they can attend four-year universities.
Large Non-profit Organization of the Year
• Project Angel Heart: delivers nutritious meals to improve quality of life, at no cost, for those coping with life-threatening illnesses, imposing no age or income restrictions on its service and never requests payment from clients. [Hear our February 19, 2012 interview with Mindy Davidson - Director of Development, Project Angel Heart. Part One. Part Two.]
• Mental Health Center of Denver: a nationally recognized mental health provider that provides comprehensive, recovery-focused mental health and substance abuse services and partners with hundreds of businesses and other organizations to deliver a blanket of care including food, housing, education and employment services to promote healthy and productive lives.
• The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado: provides a safe and affirming environment for the more than 35,000 annual visitors who come to seek information, education, understanding or simply a greater sense of connection to their community; the Center has long played a pivotal role in initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination.
Green Business of the Year
• SLATERPAULL Architects, Inc.: a full-service architectural firm with focus on sustainable design in the education, civic, adaptive reuse and historic preservation markets.
• Enterprise Leasing Company of Denver: operates through its regional subsidiaries with more than 1.2 million cars and trucks; the largest car rental service provider in the world measured by revenue, employees and fleet.
• EnviroTech Services, Inc.: a leading provider of technically advanced and cutting-edge liquid and granular de-icing/anti-icing products, including MeltDown® and Caliber® liquids, APEX®, Apogee®, IceSlider®, Mineral Melt® and MeltDown package granular products.
Photo: Joe Barrows, Colorado Business Bank