Friday, February 1, 2008

Humana hires new market president for Colorado

Dan Oftedahl has been appointed market president of Humana’s Colorado operations. He will be responsible for the overall management and strategic planning for Humana’s commercial, consumer-driven health benefit products sold to employer groups in the state.
Oftedahl most recently served as regional vice president for KMG America, a subsidiary of Humana specializing in group and voluntary insurance based in Minnetonka, Minn.
He replaces Leslie Andrews, who recently accepted a regional position.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Local motorcycle titles decrease in 2007

While the number of local car titles showed a 2.3 percent increase in 2007 over 2006, motorcycle titles in El Paso County fell by 6.2 percent last year, according to figures released by the El Paso County Department of Motor Vehicles.

There were 2,155 new motorcycles registered in the county last year, compared with 2,298 in 2006. Honda and Kawasaki brands saw gains last year. Harley-Davidson, the most popular brand titled here, fell by 81 bikes last year over the previous year.

Harley-Davidson Inc. reported a fourth-quarter profit tumble of 26.3 percent, with U.S. sales for the year down 6.2 percent.

"Oscars for Business" taking entries

The sixth annual American Business Awards is issuing a call for entries for its version of the "Oscars," to honor great performances in business, from top executives and organizations to sales teams and support staff.

The national, independent business awards program is for all types of organizations -- public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, and large and small.

Entries may be submitted in dozens of categories, ranging from Best Executive to Most Innovative Company to Best PR Agency to Best Management Team. New this year is the Best Environmental Responsibility Program, among others.

Entry kits are available at The deadline to enter is March 31. The contest is for accomplishments made since Jan. 1, 2007. The awards will be presented at a gala and nationally broadcast ceremony in New York City on June 12.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad customer service -- what about rude customers?

Several readers commented on the article about customer service in Jan. 27's Business section, including a Wal-Mart associate, Steve, who works in the produce department at a local store.

The other side of the customer service debate, Steve says, is that customers are becoming more difficult for employees to deal with.

"They yell. They scream at the clerks. They are downright rude. And they expect to be treated like royalty," Steve says.

He gives a recent example of a bad customer experience that happened on his shift.

"A woman had opened a container of tomatoes and was picking out ones she felt were bad and was throwing them on the floor. I came over to her and said, 'Oh, I can take those bad ones for you.' She said, 'I am NOT paying $3.99 for bad tomatoes!' I replied, 'OK.' She said: 'You are being rude.' I replied, 'No, I'm not.' I was tryng to be helpful. She said, 'NOW you are talking back to me! The customer is always right!'

"I walked away. She contacted a manager and wanted to have me fired. Of course, store management knew I had done nothing wrong.

"You may think this is an isolated case," Steve continues. "However, it is becoming the norm. Customers know they can take out their aggressions on clerks in shops and be as nasty as they want and no one will do anything about it.

"I've found as time goes on, the customer is becoming more aggressive and more rude. And they wonder why they can't get good help. The customer that comes in with a smile and asks for help will get clerks falling over themselves to help. But you don't hear about that because the customer with the nice experience very seldom says anything. It's the bitter customer that yells the most."

Eleven Springs employers make Fortune list

Stock brokerage Edward Jones leads the list of 11 Colorado Springs employers listed in Fortune magazine's 2008 ranking of its 100 Best Companies to Work For, ranking fourth behind Google, Quicken Loans and Wegmans Food Markets.
Jones, which operates 35 offices in the Colorado Springs area, was joined by Starbucks, which has 33 area locations, in the top 10 in seventh place. Other area employers and their 2008 rank are:
  • 16, Whole Foods Market, two area locations
  • 42, Mitre Corp., a defense contractor at 1155 Academy Park Loop
  • 46, CarMax, which will open a used car store at 4050 Tutt Blvd. later this year.
  • 54, CH2M Hill, planning firm operates an office at 19 S. Tejon St.
  • 58, Scotttrade, brokerage operates an office at 70 S. Cascade Ave.
  • 67, Valero Energy, 30 area locations under the Diamond Shamrock name.
  • 72, Marriott International, 10 area hotels
  • 81, Booz Allen Hamilton, a defense contractor at 121 S. Tejon St.
  • 97, FedEx Corp., a major employer with 900 workers at its Rocky Mountain Technology Center, various package delivery operations and FedEx Kinko's stores.
To view the entire list, go to
Two thirds of the weight for the ranking comes from employee survey data, which was compiled by the San Francisco-based Great Place to Work Institute, which has authored the list since 1998. To nominate a company for next year's list, go to

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vic the elk visits the west side

Vic the elk just won’t stay put. The life-size fiberglass elk, owned by Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, spent last summer and fall at the Cripple Creek Heritage Center as part of the Rocky Mountain Elk Tour. Then it was on to Experience Colorado Springs in time for the Festival of Lights. Now Vic has landed in the front yard of Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast on the city’s west side, 1102 W. Pikes Peak Ave. He’ll spend February there before heading to another tourist spot.

Audi returns to Super Bowl

Audi of America Inc. will air its first Super Bowl ad in 20 years with a 60-second spot on its R8, the brand's first mid-engine sports car. The ad was inspired by "The Godfather" movie and will only run twice on television, during the Super Bowl and the following day.

The automaker's return to the Super Bowl was preceded by a year of record sales in the U.S -- it sold 93,506 vehicles in the U.S. last year, a 3.8 percent increase over 2006.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Penrose-St. Francis COO takes new job

Andrea Coleman, chief operating officer at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services since April 2005, will resign Feb. 28 to become president and chief executive officer of Trinity Regional Health System in Rock Island, Ill.

Coleman has been instrumental in developing cardic and oncology services at Penrose and played a key role in estlablishing the hospital system's cardiac council, implementing the Vascular Center of Colorado and recruiting new physicians, the hospital said.

A search for her replacement is beginning, according to Johnny Rea, spokesman for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Trinity Regional Health System is a three-campus, nonprofit health care system and an affiliate of Iowa Health System.

Library offers business classes

The Pikes Peak Library District is offering these business programs in Feburary:
For a complete list of programs, see

Investment Tools
Learn to research company information and follow company or mutual fund performance. Sources include Value Line and Morningstar, subscription databases on the Library’s website, and other Internet sites. Classes are held at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Thursday, Feb. 28, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Minding Your Business
Learn about business resources available at the library by attending a free tour. Classes are held at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave.
Saturday, Feb. 16, 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Citi analyst bullish on Spectranetics

Spectranetics is among three medical technology companies that will benefit from increasing competition in the sector this year, Citi analyst Amit Bhalla predicted in a note to clients recently.
Bhalla expects strong upcoming quarters from Spectranetics because of the rollout of its Turbo Booster catheter for treatment of blockages in upper leg arteries. He also expects strong upcoming quarters from cancer therapy system manufacturer Varian Medical Systems Inc. and strong earnings in the first quarter and all of 2oo8 from Hologic Inc. with its digital mammography system driving revenue.
Bhalla maintained his$19 price target and a "speculative buy" rating for Spectranetics.
For more information on Spectranetics, go to