Friday, June 29, 2007

Christmas in July?

Summer just began. Which means the holiday season is nearly upon us.

Huh? While the only holiday most of are thinking about is the upcoming Fourth of July, at least one company is looking further down the road.

A press release issued this week for Affirmagy, a Seattle-based speciality blanket business, was titled “Holiday gift idea.” It begins: “With the holidays approaching, it is not too early to begin thinking of special gifts for that someone special, for the home and even for babies and pets.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Interest high in wireless Internet bid

Colorado Springs officials have sent out 20 bid packages to companies considering submitting bids to build a citywide wireless Internet network.
Ron Cousar, director of the city's Internal Support Services Department, told members of the city's Telecommunications Advisory Committee this month that 20 companies including EarthLink Inc., High Plains Internet,Time Warner Cable, Tropos Networks Inc. and WaveMax Broadband had requested bid packages. EarthLink, Tropos and WaveMax all had approached the city about building such networks.
The city this month began seeking proposals from wireless Internet providers for a local network. Proposals are due to the city’s Purchasing and Contracts Office by July 24. Responses will be reviewed by a committee including representatives from city agencies and civic groups, who will recommend whether the city should negotiate agreements with any providers.

Local news organizations to discuss new technologies

Here's another chance to meet Colorado Springs-area media and learn how they're using the Internet and other new tools to gather and distribute news. Leadership Pikes Peak will host "Meet the Press: Internet and Interconnectivity," from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, July 19 at the Pikes Peak Library's Carnegie Room in downtown Colorado Springs. The discussion will touch on topics such as how media outlets are using new technology to meet the needs of readers and viewers; blogging; community-generated journalism; and audio-video streaming. Panelists will include Noel Black, publisher of Newspeak and; Ginny Greene, The Gazette's Internet director; Bob Richards, market manager for Clear Channel Broadcasting; and Nick Matesi, KKTV-Channel 11 news director. The cost is $5 to attend; RSVPs are required and the deadline is July 13. Call 632-2618 or email to attend.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fore! Broadmoor to host U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in 2011

The Broadmoor hotel, Colorado Springs' five-star luxury resort and one of the city's largest private employers, has snagged another major golf tournament that will pump millions of dollars into the local economy. On Wednesday, The Broadmoor announced it will host the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament July 7-10 in 2011. The hotel hosted the same tournament in 1995, when then-newcomer Annika Sorenstam -- now generally recognized as the Tiger Woods of women's golf -- recorded her first victory on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour. At that time, the tournament generated $10.2 million for the Springs economy, while business leaders estimated it was worth another $2 million in free publicity to the community. In 2008, The Broadmoor will host the men's U.S. Senior Open Championship -- another high-profile golf event -- July 28-Aug. 3.

For more coverage, see and Thursday's Gazette.

Progressive recognized for IT innovation

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, the third largest auto insurance group in the nation, has been selected by CIO magazine as one of the top 100 companies in the world to excel in information technology.

Progressive received the award based on its Total Loss Concierge service, which helps drivers find a replacement vehicle if their car is declared a total loss after an accident. The software program allows employees to retrieve customers' claim information and find a new vehicle for the driver through a networking of car dealerships and lenders.

Complete coverage of the 2007 CIO 100 awards will be in the Aug. 15 issue of CIO magazine and available online at

The local Progressive office is at 4925 N. Union Blvd.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Spectranetics stockholders get their wish -- a higher price

Just two day after two frustrated stockholders called on directors of Spectranetics Corp. to sell the company or buy back stock to boost the company's stock price, shareholders got at least part of their wish -- a higher stock price.
Shares of the Colorado Springs-based medical laser manufacturer jumped to a four-month high on Thursday of $11.26, a price the stock matched again on Monday in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The gains were came after Piper Jaffray & Co. started research coverage of Spectranetics on Wednesday with an "outperform" rating. Suraj Kalia, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray, set a target price of $13 a share for Spectranetics, a level the stock hasn't reached since Oct. 30. He expects the company's revenue to more than double from $78 million this year to $162 million in 2011.
"We believe the excimer laser technology of Spectranetics can be used in over 500,000 procedures per year," Kalia wrote. "The company has slowly worked its way into practices around the country, and good word-of-mouth advertising has helped the sales ramp."
Lawrence McKinley, senior vice president for RBC Dain Rauscher in Boulder, said Spectranetics directors should hire an investment banker to sell the company, while Michael Norvell, first vice president for UBS Financial Services in Evergreen, said directors should spend some of the company's $53 million in cash to buy back up to 2 million shares.
Until Kalia's report, the stock had failed to respond to improving financial results, inlcuing a 47 percent jump in revenue last year to a record $63.5 million.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Interim city manager mixes with home builders

You can take the boy out of the economist, but you can't take the economist out of the boy. When the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs held a one-hour update June 20 on the state of the local new home market, who was among the 125 people in attendance? None other than Mike Anderson (right), who was named the Springs' interim city manager a week earlier. Anderson had been assistant city manager, served for several years as the Springs' budget director and, before joining city government, was a regional economist for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. Wearing his economist hat, he often was asked to speak to local business groups. So, what interest would Anderson have these days in a housing update? Plenty. Purchases of lumber, nails and other building materials generate millions of dollars a year in sales tax revenue for the city. As city officials start preparing their 2008 budget for release in the early fall, it won't hurt the interim city manager to get a handle on how quickly the new home market will recover from its current downturn.