Friday, July 11, 2008

Ex-Laing executive launches home building company

Ron Covington, the former Colorado Springs division president of California-based John Laing Homes, has launched his own Springs homebuilding company: Ron Covington Homes. Covington is partnering with developer LandCo Equity Partners in the creation of the company, which will build in four Springs-area neighborhoods. Covington launched Estate Homes in 1998, which was later acquired and became the Colorado Springs division of John Laing Homes. “We have worked with some of the same contractors and partners for close to 20 years and we are excited to continue these relationships,” Covington said. Eric Ashcroft, whose father started Ashcroft Homes, will serve as vice president of the company.

Experience Colorado Springs takes the gold

Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, the local convention and visitors bureau, earned the Gold Service award from Meetings & Conventions magazine for the fourth straight year. Experience was one of 77 CVB's nationally to earn the honor, which is voted on by the magazine's readership.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wanted: Spellcheck in Meridian Ranch

Home builders get style points for architecture, floor plans and amenities -- not spelling. In the unincorporated Falcon area of El Paso County, north of Meridian Road and Stapleton Drive, Denver-based builder Richmond American Homes has parked a large semi-tractor trailer that serves as a billboard-like advertisement for its houses being built in the Meridian Ranch development across the street. However, the truck, emblazoned on both sides with Richmond American's logo and colors, beckons potential home buyers to Meridan Ranch, not Meridian Ranch. Oh well. Just so that the windows don't stick, the doors shut tight and the toilets flush. More information about Meridian Ranch:

CNBC ranks Colorado on list of top states for business

Gov. Bill Ritter today praised a new report that names Colorado to CNBC’s prestigious annual list of America’s Top States for Business, which ranks Colorado No. 5 and specifically cites the state’s "new energy economy."

CNBC analyzed 40 factors in 10 broad categories. Colorado’s highest rankings came in the categories of business friendliness (Colorado ranked 5t) and quality of life (Colorado ranked 7t).

The report said Colorado’s new energy economy was one of the biggest reasons the state climbed to No. 5 from No. 7 last year. “Colorado has been actively courting what it calls the New Energy Economy, like wind and solar, and the efforts are paying off.”

In all, Colorado scored among the top 15 states in six of the 10 categories, including overall economic climate, access to capital, workforce quality and state support for technology and innovation.

“This is great news for Colorado,” said Gov. Ritter, who was in Spain this week on an energy economic-development mission. “It’s another positive sign that our aggressive efforts to build a New Energy Economy by attracting local, national and international companies and expanding our employment base are paying off. One thing that separates Colorado from other states is our unique combination of intellectual capital and entrepreneurial Western spirit. The CNBC recognition is an acknowledgment of that.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Central Bancorp completes Van Gilder deal

Central Bancorp Inc. completed its purchase of Van Gilder Insurance Corp.'s Colorado Springs office on July 1, making its CB Insurance unit one of the largest locally owned insurance brokers in the Colorado Springs area.

"This acquisition creates tremendous opportunities, both for our firm and our new insurance clients," said Steve Schneider, president of CB Insurance. "We are anxious to move forward with our business strategies now that this acquisition is closed, and will continue to add resources and talent to better serve clients of CB Insurance and the other divisions within Central Bancorp."

The Van Gilder office employed 23 and last year generated $3 million in commissions on premiums totaling about $35 million. The local operation was founded as Bennett-Shellenberger Co. in 1890, was acquired by Norm Coleman in 1959 and was sold to Van Gilder in 1998. Central also owns mortgage, title insurance, wealth management and trust operations and plans to open a bank later this month.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Colorado ranks high in biotech, science

Colorado ranks among the 20 best places for the biotechnology industry, according to Genome Technology magazine, a speciality print and online publication for molecular biology scientists, professionals and engineers.
The publication listed the Denver-Boulder area as one of nine emerging biotechnology regions along with Alabama, New York, Tennessee, Texas, the St. Louis-Kansas City area; Oslo, Norway; China and India. The 11 established regions included Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle, N.C., Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ontario, Canada and Singapore.
The Denver-Boulder area was selected, Genome Technology said in its June issue, because of its 10,000 biotechnology workers, a $150 million expansion planned by Amgen Inc. in Boulder and the recent conversion of the former Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center to a bioscience business park that includes the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Children’s Hospital and a biotechnology incubator.
Colorado also scored a fourth-place ranking from Families USA’s Global Health Initiative among states generating the most economic activity per dollar of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Colorado generated $787 million in business activity from $336 million in NIH funding, or $2.34 for each dollar of funding from the agency, which ranked the state behind Texas, California and Georgia.
The Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science Index ranked Colorado third after Massachusetts and Maryland, based on 77 indicators ranging from research and development, risk capital, entrepreneurial infrastructure to human capital investment, technology and science work force and technology concentration and dynamism. Colorado previously was ranked third in 2004 and second in 2002 by the institute.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Allegory Marketing sold

Allegory Marketing, one of Colorado Springs largest advertising agencies, is changing hands as founder and president Tom DeNardin sells the company to Victoria Stone, president of ACTUATE Inc. and former marketing director for Todays Homes.
Terms for the deal were not disclosed.
Stone is merging Allegory and ACTUATE and will name the combined company Allegory Advertising. Allegory’s 10 employees and two contractors are staying with the agency. Allegory’s clients include the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino, Ferguson Pontiac Buick GMC, Famous Dave’s, Todays Homes and Sunshine Car Audio.
DeNardin, who started Allegory in 2001, said the time was right for him to move on.
“Everything seemed to fall together,” DeNardin said. “I had some other opportunities to sell the business, but some of them were more interested in our clients and less interested in our employees.”
Stone said she’s worked with Allegory as a client and that she and DeNardin have similar philosophies for developing advertising campaigns, which should make for a smooth transition.
“The strength that Allegory has is that they’ve always done strategy-based marketing,” she said. “We look at every client as a clean slate. I think that’s the power behind why Allegory is poised for growth in a down economy.”
DeNardin said the deal had been in the works for a month and that he and Stone told the firm’s employees about the sale on July 1.
“When I started talking to the staff, I started feeling a little bit of seller’s remorse,” he said. “It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I know the company is in good hands.”
DeNardin, 51, said he will continue to do consulting and business plans and he also hopes to move into teaching.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “Most of the clients, they’ve turned into very good friends and to me that’s more important than anything.”