Friday, June 30, 2006

Chip chatter

Two Colorado Springs-based semiconductor manufacturers had some good news for their stockholders this week.

Simtek said Thursday it expected to generate more than $6 million in revenue during the second quarter, which ended Friday. The company told investors just six weeks earlier it expected revenue between $5.8 million and $6 million, up from between $5.5 million and $6 million it had forecast about two weeks before that. The latest forecast means Simtek expects revenue for the first half of the year will exceed what it generated during all of 2005.

Ramtron said Wednesday it signed a worldwide agreement with Texas-based Mouser Electronics Inc., the fastest growing catalog distributor in the electronics industry, to distribute its memory, microcontroller and integrated semiconductors in the 1,700-page Mouser catalog that is published every three months. Ramtron makes another type of chip that also retains information even when power is cut.

Winds calm at Chinook site

It's been more than a year since owner Gary Sondermann started sending out information packets to prospective tenants for the old Chinook Bookshop building on North Tejon Street. It's been six months since renovations to complete two new storefronts were completed. And yet these prime locations in the heart of downtown remain empty. Sondermann, just back from a family trip, says he has some new leads, but is still no closer to finding "the right retail neighbor" for the two properties, both of which have more than 2,000 square feet.

Consumer confidence continues to falter

A survey from Ohio-based BIGresearch indicates consumer confidence in the economy declined in June for the third consecutive month to 36.1 percent, almost three points below May (38.7 percent) and a 10 point drop from June 2005 (46.3 percent). The report suggests that the dip in confidence is not entirely attributable to the situation overseas, with fewer than one in five of those surveyed saying they've been worried more about political and national security issues. But almost half of consumers say they've been focused on needs over wants, about even with May, and an almost five point increase from this time last year (45 percent).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

She'll be here all week, folks

Public speaking isn't for everybody, and coming up with funny one-liners to impress your audience is sometimes a gamble. When El Paso County Commission Chairwoman Sallie Clark (right) spoke to about 200 people Wednesday at a Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. luncheon, she closed out her remarks talking about the need for business leaders, politicians and others to promote the community. She then rolled the dice: "Change is inevitable," Clark said, "except from a vending machine." There were no loud groans, only a couple of polite bits of laughter. The message for Clark: Don't quit your day job.

July 3 could rank as one of year's least productive days

Independence Day falls on a Tuesday this year which means July 3 could rank right up there with Christmas Eve day and New Year’s Eve day as the least productive workdays of the year, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

"Workers around the country will try to get a four-day weekend out of it by taking off Monday," Challenger said. "Those who were not quick enough to request the day off may be less productive that day, seeing it as a day to 'take it easy.' "

Since many customers and suppliers will be closed, Challenger suggests that employers outside of retail may want to consider simply suspending operations until Wednesday. The extra day off would not only be a major boost for morale and employee energy, but the cost of opening the doors on Monday may be greater than if companies remained closed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!

Some Black Forest residents fought for years to prevent development of Cathedral Pines, an upscale housing project north of Milam and Shoup roads in the unincorporated area north of Colorado Springs.
More specifically, they objected to the extension of Milam -- which was required so that Cathedral Pines residents could reach their homes -- and fought bitterly with Cathedral Pine's developer Dan Potter.
The squabble over the Milam Road extension has been resolved, but Black Forest residents haven't forgotten Cathedral Pines. Some have given it a derisive new name: Pottersville, reflecting the name of Jimmy Stewart's desolate hometown in his alternate reality in the Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Xaware finds new vp -- in CEO's rolodex

XAware Inc. Chief Executive Tim Harvey didn't have to look very far to find his top sales executive – he worked for three years with Sean Dwyer at S1 Corp. before taking the top job at XAware in January.

Dwyer was named senior vice president of sales and marketing, XAware announced Tuesday. He had been general manager of S1's Community Financial Group and vice president of channel sales and alliances for the Atlanta-based company that develops solfware used by financial institutions for online banking and other tasks. He previously worked for BEA Systems Inc. and a small electronic commerce start-up.

"Sean's leadership and strong track record of success make him the ideal choice to help ensure we fully exploit our large market opportunity and leverage our marquee customers, global business partners and patented breakthrough solution," Harvey said. "Having worked with Sean for the past three years, I have seen first hand his ability to make a difference."

Dwyer eanred a master's degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Georgia.
Privately held XAware produces software that allows businesses using difference types of software and computer systems to exchange information. For more about the company, go to

An American Idol-style finalist in the workplace

A Colorado Springs emergency-room nurse is one of five finalists for the "2006 American Worker of the Year" award seeking votes over the next three months to win nearly $90,000 in prizes that come with the 15th annual competition.

Jeremy Gianzero, 26, an emergency room nurse at Penrose Hospital, is competing for votes with Lance Beto, 42, an electrical lineman in Helena, Mont.; David Bildstein, 42, a steel mill bricklayer in Cleveland; Janet Buras, 49, an elementary school principal in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Chris Davidson, 36, a pro mountain bike team mechanic from Salt Lake City.

The five were selected from "thousands of nominees" who submitted audio recordings or a 100-word or less essay about why they represented "the spirit of the American worker." The nominee receiving the most votes by Oct. 7 will get the award, along with a 2007 Ford F150 truck, a motorcycle, an outdoor grill and meat, boots and a room at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas during the Professional Bull Riders National Finals in November.

Gianzero was nominated by his wife, Jennifer, who says he pulls 12-hour shifts to help save lives and "give his family everything they want and need." He spends his free time working in his garage running an auto detailing and repair business. He worked as an emergency room technician while completing his nursing degree, which was awarded the same day he was notified he was a finalist for the award.

The contest is sponsored by Fort Worth, Texas-based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., maker of the Dickies brand of work clothing. To vote or for more information on the competition and the finalists, go to

Trust your car to the man who wears the star?

Some motorists will mourn the loss of the Texaco brand in Colorado Springs, Colorado and some other areas of the country.

Will you? Or are you loyal to another brand of fuel? Why? Do the different additive packages in gasoline really make a difference?

Let us know what you think.

New chips from Swatch subsidiary -- and they don't come with a free watch

EM Microelectronic-US, the Colorado Springs-based semiconductor arm of Swatch Group Ltd., has rolled out a new line of chips designed for use in cars and other industrial settings that could be exposured to extreme weather.

The circuits, called windowed watchdogs, are used to monitor the voltage level and correct software operation of other semiconductors. If the voltage level drops, the windowed watchdog sees the problem and responds. The chips are used in electronic cockpit security, trunk closure systems, electrical spoiler control, dashboard, sunroof, rear-view mirror and window controls.

EM Microelectronic employs 19 at its Colorado Springs sales and design center, which tailors semiconductors for specific tasks. The chips, which are designed to continue operating even when power is cut off, are made at plants in Asia and Europe.

For more information, go to

Monday, June 26, 2006

Can you hear me now -- yes, and so can everyone else

Do your co-workers really want to hear the latest ring-tone you are using for your cell phone? Do they really want to hear every word of your cell-hone conversation? Do they appreciate you interrupting a meeting to take a call?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to review your cell phone etiquette. Help is available: cell-phone giant Sprint is offering etiquette tips to customers in honor of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July.

Go to for a list of do's and don'ts, a cell phone etiquette quiz and information about National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. The company also is making available a podcast interview with Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach (Fla.) and originator of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, at

A 2004 survey by Sprint of 723 adult cell phone customers found 80 percent of those responding believe cell phone callers have become less courteous, but 97 percent don't believe they are part of the problem.

Where do you fall: Are you part of the problem or is it everyone else? Tell us and the rudest cell phone behavior you've witnessed or your own biggest cell phone faux pas.

Regional Retail Rumblings

COMINGS AND GOINGS AROUND THE SPRINGS: The FranklinCovey Store at The Citadel mall is closing July 8 and is offering sale prices on its line of time management audio- and videotapes, binders, books, planners and software ... OC's Finest, a new family-owned store which sells women's apparel, shoes and accessories, has opened in the West Wind Shopping Center, 4427 Centennial Blvd. ... Although behind schedule due to complications with utility connections, the new Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W restaurant at 31st Street and Colorado Avenue is expected to open in late July. It replaces the KFC building at that location and will be, at 3,600 square feet, about 10 percent bigger and will employ more than twice as many people ... Macerich Company has appointed Vicky Harley the new property manager for The Citadel mall and she will start work there in mid-July. Macerich regional vice president Jennifer Ciccone has been the interim manager since Bob Taylor retired Feb. 17. Harley held a similar position at Park Lane Mall in Reno, which Macerich has just sold to M&H Properties of San Diego.

Hire right for your startup business

Suzanne Zuniga, COO of the Colorado Springs-based CorVirtus consulting firm, shows up in the June edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps magazine as a source for their piece "Startup Smarts ... The recipe for success: Keep it simple." Zuniga makes the point (No. 8 on the list) that you should create a rigorous online form for job applicants "with elimination criteria related to scheduling, salary and educational level" to make the process less arduous. "Select out vs. select in," Zuniga said.,4621,327618,00.html