Best of Colorado 2015 - Elevations Credit Union

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Best of Colorado 2015
Our readers weigh in
Mike Taylor
Each issue of ColoradoBiz, we’re faced with deciding which businesses to highlight within our finite
pages, based mostly on accomplishment, community significance and perceived reader interest. In this
inaugural Best of Colorado–Readers’ Choice supplement, we’ve taken it out of editors’ hands and left it to
readers to tell us their top places to do business, from banks to dry cleaners to coffee shops to fitness
clubs.
To help us identify these businesses, we enlisted DataJoe, a third-party research firm that set up an online
voting process that ran several months to identify winners and runners-up in 62 categories. Participants
were asked to vote for the companies they’d trust to take care of their colleagues and friends and were
required to vote in at least 10 categories. In another measure to minimize purely self-interested ballots,
participants were allowed to vote for their own company once, but were also required to vote for at least
two other companies in that category.
The result of this peer-generated list is an interesting mix of usual-suspect national names and lesserknown local gems. (Who knew Continental Sausage was a go-to spot for team-building tours, or that
Mike Wright Gallery in LoDo – voted Best Gallery for Public Art – is a happenin’ spot for browsers and
buyers, with 15 percent off wine on “Buy the Bottle Wednesdays”?)
We hope you find some new places to check out, or services that may help your own business pursuits, on
following pages. And thanks to our readers who participated and made this special section happen.
BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM
EKS&H
Denver-based EKS&H is the largest public accounting firm headquartered in the Rocky Mountain region.
It helps companies with everything from audits and taxes to stock transactions and wage studies. The firm,
founded in 1978, includes “integrity and ethical values” and “commitment to clients” among its core
values. Client testimonials rave about the consultants’ technical knowledge, competence and customer
service.
Runners-up: Anton Collins Mitchell LLP, Dalby, Wendland & Co. P.C.
BEST BANK
Alpine Bank
Employee-owned Alpine Bank opened on the Western Slope more than 40 years ago and is now based in
Glenwood Springs. There are 38 locations, including one that opened near Union Station in Denver in
2014, and 130,000 customers. Since 2006, Alpine Bank has earned and maintains ISO 14001 certification,
the universally recognized standard for environmental management.
Runners-up: FirstBank of Colorado (1st Bank),
Wells Fargo Bank
BEST CREDIT UNION
Bellco Credit Union
Employees of the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company started Bellco Credit Union in
1936. Today anyone who lives in Denver or in one of a dozen cities
or counties in Colorado can open accounts at Greenwood Village-based Bellco, whose tagline is “Banking
for everyone.” Bellco has $2.9 billion in assets and more than 248,000 members. Green efforts include
discontinuing the use of deposit envelopes in ATMs and sending 80,000 customers’ statements
electronically.
Runners-up: Elevations Credit Union, Public Service Credit Union
BEST VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM
Foundry Group
Every story has a theme, and as it turns out, so does every investment. Boulder-based Foundry Group
invests in early-stage information technology, Internet and software startups, and focuses on six themes.
Those themes have names like Glue, Digital Life and Protocol, and refer to the various sectors. Investments
start as small as $250,000.
Runners-up: Access Venture Partners, Colorado Impact Fund
BEST WEALTH MANAGERS/FINANCIAL Planners
Brown & Tedstrom Inc.
It takes a team to design a client’s financial future. Brown & Tedstrom in downtown Denver serves each
client with a team of credentialed financial strategists including a firm partner, a client relationship
manager, an investment specialist and skilled administrative and marketing professionals. The firm even
has proprietary, trademarked tools such as the Retirement Shock Absorber and the Withdrawal Stress
Test, to help individuals handle the ups and downs of retirement planning.
Runners-up: Alpine Bank, Edward Jones
BEST SBA LENDER
Centennial Bank
If anyone knows anything about 7a, 504, and Cap-Lines, it is Centennial Bank. The Denver-based lender
won the 2014 Emerging Small Business Lender Award from Colorado Lending Source, a not-for-profit that
works with lenders and small businesses. Centennial Bank has 14 locations, including Conifer, Evergreen,
Golden, Idaho Springs and Nederland, five branches that parent company CIC Bancshares Inc. acquired
from Mutual of Omaha Bank in 2014.
Runners-up: Colorado Lending Source Ltd., Wells Fargo Bank
BEST COMMERCIAL BUILDER
Shaw Construction
Even though Shaw Construction is based in Denver, much of its work is in mountain communities, starting
with the Aspen hotel Little Nell in the 1960s. More recently the firm renovated the Vail Mountain Lodge in
Vail and the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen. Also, in Boulder, Shaw construction recently renovated the
University of Colorado Folsom Field Stadium and added 1,900 club seats, 41 luxury suites and a large
club/banquet facility.
Runners-up: Roche Constructors Inc., Brinkman Partners
BEST ARCHITECTURAL FIRM
OZ Architecture
The portfolio of Denver-based OZ architecture ranges from Fire Station No. 18 in the Lowry neighborhood
to The Nickel restaurant at Hotel Teatro to the offices for the apparel company SmartWool in Steamboat
Springs. This year OZ won an award in the Infill category for Aria Apartments, built on the site of a former
convent and Catholic girls’ school. Current projects include 250 Columbine, a condominium project in
Cherry Creek.
Runners-up: EVstudio, Stream Design Landscape Architecture
BEST ENGINEERING FIRM
SSG MEP Inc.
Anyone who walks across Denver’s Millennium Bridge or drives on the Speer Boulevard bridge might
appreciate one of SSG MEP Inc.’s specialties: lighting design. The Aurora-based firm also specializes in
mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. SSG MEP’s expertise includes health care, education,
municipal, aviation, transportation and commercial design, and is currently working on the DIA –STRP
Westin Hotel, the CDOT I-70 peak period shoulder lane, and RTD North Metro Light Rail, among other
projects.
Runners-up: CH2M Hill, EVstudio
BEST GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Shaw Construction
Denver-based Shaw Construction has a mission to be a world-class construction company, and to create
buildings and relationships that last. Among some of the recent buildings are 2020 Lawrence Residences,
which is LEED GOLD Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and One Observatory Park, a 213-unit
building near the University of Denver. Client testimonials mention Shaw’s ability to meet deadlines and
budgets and its collaborative way of working.
Runner-up: HITT Contracting
BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM
Eheart Interior Solutions
Eheart creates interior spaces for homes and businesses, and reassures customers that the process will
give them peace of mind and the rooms of their dreams. Over the years Flooring America, which provides
carpet, hardwood floors and other products, has awarded the Fort Collins-based Eheart with numerous
National Service Awards, which recognize high levels of customer satisfaction. In 2005, the Northern
Colorado Home Builders’ Association named Eheart Associate of
the Year.
Runners-up: Aneka Interiors, Slifer Designs
BEST LANDSCAPER
Designs by Sundown
No yard is too small or too big for Englewood-based Designs by Sundown, which works on everything
from apartment rooftops to multi-acre estates. Many of the customers have had work done at high-end
properties, as most of the positive reviews mention Roxborough, Cherry Hills and other upscale
neighborhoods. Designs by Sundown handles architecture and structures too, and builds patios,
waterscapes, and outdoor kitchens. Sustainability efforts include using new technology to reduce water
usage.
Runners-up: Swingle Lawn, Tree & Landscape Care; American Design and Landscape.
BEST MORTGAGE BROKER
(Tie) Alpine Bank and 8z Mortgage
Many of Alpine Bank’s locations are in resort communities, so the Glenwood Springs-based lender offers
the Alpine Portfolio Mortgage. The specialized program is targeted to buyers of primary homes as well as
people who want to buy large acreage, resort condominiums and “condo-tels.” The bank continued to
support communities during the economic downturn, according to one testimonial, and other
testimonials point to the bank’s community-oriented service.
Locally owned 8z Mortgage has five locations staffed by five loan officers who, according to one
testimonial, are “truly fixing real estate.” The Boulder-based lender does all its underwriting and closing
in-house, allowing it more control over the process and better communication with borrowers. There is
also 8z Real Estate, but customers can use their own real estate professionals if they want.
Runners-up: Coldwell Banker Mortgage, Cherry Creek Mortgage Denver West
BEST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
SummitCove Vacation Rentals
The vacation property management company SummitCove began in 2001 in Summit Cove, a
neighborhood two miles from Keystone Resort. The service matches condo owners with vacationers
looking for lodging, without the parties having to meet to hand over keys. The SummitCove office is now
located at Keystone. Online reviews mention helpful staff and a wide variety of accommodations to suit
different price ranges.
Runners-up: Mission Rock Residential, Real Property Management
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