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Meet the 2019 Minority or Woman-Owned Business of the Year Finalists

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards celebrate organizations from across the region who are leading in their field and making an impact in the community – writing our next chapter as a great community to live and do business.

Meet the 2019 Minority or Woman-Owned Business of the Year finalists, presented by Xcel Energy: 360 Engineering, Cesco Linguistic Services and Pearl Street Lights. These businesses are leading in their fields and building a stronger, inclusive business community. The winner will be announced live on May 1.

Get your seat for the 2019 Business Awards Luncheon!

Denise Dihle, president of 360 Engineering, is building a different kind of business in this male-dominated field.

360 Engineering is a full-service woman-owned mechanical engineering firm serving clients in Denver and across the U.S.  Founded in 2003 by Dihle, the firm was built on providing exceptional customer service, which remains their core value and top priority. 360 Engineering’s services consist of mechanical and plumbing engineering, sustainability consulting and commissioning.

They have worked on major projects for organizations including Denver International Airport, National Western, Botanic Gardens and National Renewable Energy Laboratory – over this 11-year partnership they’ve completed more than 100 projects.

“To be so successful as a woman-owned business in a traditional male industry is absolutely rewarding,” Dihle said. “I have had the opportunity to speak to young women engineers who are coming up and just graduating … I hope that motivates them to keep moving forward with their career. Believe in yourself and when you get the opportunity to sit at the table, speak because you have what it takes to be there.”

Giovanna Carriero-Contreras, co-founder of Cesco Linguistic Services, is breaking down language barriers.

Cesco Linguistic Services delivers high-quality interpreting and translations services in more than 120 languages, working in health care, education, social services, nonprofit, legal, workers’ compensation and international development sectors. A connecting voice across languages and cultures, Cesco Linguistic Services works under the principles of quality, efficiency and confidentiality, delivering services in a prompt, professional manner.

Carriero-Contreras, along with her husband, are advocating for better industry regulation to ensure people get accurate interpretation and translation. She has developed curriculum for language services-based careers at South High School and at Metropolitan State University of Denver and hopes to expand this offering at the high school and collegiate level.

“As a woman-owned business I truly foster the diversity of perspectives that come to the table every time we need to work on a new project, come up with new ideas or also make changes,” Carriero-Contreras said.

Kerry Humphrey, founder of Pearl Street Lights, was able to rebuild her life through small business, and is working to empower others to do the same.

Pearl Street Lights creates and manufactures hand-poured soy wax candles with crackling wooden wicks, highly-fragranced wax melts and massage candles through a nonprofit job training organization that hires and trains individuals with barriers to employment.

Kerry founded her company in 2014 after her release from prison – launching Pearl Street Lights was a part of her healing process and it has allowed her to be that light for others who face barriers to employment. She partners with Mile High Workshop to produce her products, and each candle has the signature of the person who created it.

“As a woman-owned business, we have some amazing aspirations… one of which is to have Pearl Street Lights candles available in retail stores all across the country and provide a lot of opportunities for amazing individuals who need a little extra support in our community,” Humphrey said.

Laura James is the senior marketing and communications specialist for the Denver Metro Chamber.