Celebrating Colorado’s Leaders

What I love about this business community is that no one sits back and waits for someone else to solve an issue. You are doers and willing to lead on some of our toughest challenges.

Since 1990, we’ve partnered with Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain to honor legends in our state who have achieved not only great business success but also made an incredible impact in their communities by inducting them into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.

We welcome eight new laureates on Thursday evening, and we still have a few seats still available for you to join us.

And as always, there’s so much to be learned from this year’s inductees: Jay Cimino, Frank E. Edbrooke, Gerald Gallegos, Larry Kendall, Charles “Chuck,” Greg and Kent Stevinson, and Judith B. Wagner.

Remember where you came from. Jay Cimino climbed the ranks of Phil Long Dealerships to become its president and CEO, and the business has grown to 14 dealerships. But it was his love for his hometown of Trinidad that inspired him to open a Phil Long Toyota in the city, establish the Trinidad Community Foundation, create the Jay Cimino Champion Scholarship Fund for Holy Trinity Academy students and grant land for a new visitor center and retail shopping space there. His current redevelopment efforts are breathing new life into his hometown.

Build your vision – and share it with others. Chuck Stevinson wanted to see a community where you could live, work and play without needing a car. In the late 1960s, he began to slowly assemble land that, decades later, would become Denver West. And, luckily, the Stevinsons have the dealerships to sell cars to help us all get there ?. Son Greg has been instrumental in the creation of over 5 million square feet of mixed-use office space, interconnected retail districts, residential communities and recreational areas at Denver West. And as the president of Stevinson Automotive, Inc., son Kent has led the expansion of the Stevinson automotive business into one of the largest in Colorado.

Leave your mark. When you look around our city, there are so many notable buildings, like the Brown Palace Hotel and our state capitol. They, and many others, were designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke. In fact, take a walk down 16th Street and you’ll come across many of the buildings Frank designed. In addition to significantly shaping the architecture of Denver, he also left a legacy in the community by supporting a number of local charities. Gerald Gallegos had a similar impact 100 years later. His masonry is seen across the West, including the Western Slope, Denver and most notably Beaver Creek. But he also has been a huge supporter of El Pomar Foundation, among others, and started Roundup River Ranch – a camp for kids with serious illnesses. While we can’t all create beautiful spaces the way Frank and Gerald did, they inspire all of us to find a way to leave our mark on the community.

Pay it forward. Larry Kendall has been so successful in real estate that he literally wrote the book on real estate sales, and his system is helping more than 80,000 professionals across the country improve their skills and get better results. As a connector he’s also secured more than $2 million in donations (and even more in-kind support) that enabled Respite Care, a nonprofit day care for special needs children, to quickly move to an adequately sized facility so they could serve more children from Fort Collins to Loveland.

Don’t give up. Judith B. Wagner changed the financial landscape in Colorado when she started the state’s first woman-owned investment management company in the mid-1960s. Despite the significant barriers for women in that field, she persevered and focused on educating women to manage their own investments – at a time when many women could only open bank accounts or get credit cards when their husbands, fathers or brothers co-signed. She also elevated the status of women in politics by providing financial support and the strategic advice they needed. Not only did Judi break through barriers but she helped many others do the same, and she was able to do that because she refused to give up – a philosophy she adopted from Winston Churchill.

You don’t want to miss learning more about these incredible leaders, so please join us at the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.

Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.