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PRPA board votes to move toward 100% non-carbon fuel

FORT COLLINS — Platte River Power Authority’s board of directors on Thursday unanimously approved a policy meant to move the wholesale power supplier toward use of 100 percent non-carbon fuels by 2030. The electric generator’s resource diversification policy depends upon advancements in technology but provides the framework for where the utility wants to end up in 2030. PRPA generates electricity for its owner cities — Fort Collins, Estes Park, Loveland and Longmont. “Our leadership made a bold statement concerning our long-term mission and energy leadership in the northern Colorado region,” Jason Frisbie, general manager and CEO for Platte River, said in a written statement. The policy directs Platte River management to proactively pursue the goal of obtaining a 100 percent non-carbon resource mix while maintaining the organization’s three core pillars to provide reliable, environmentally responsible and financially sustainable electricity and services. The resolution noted several advancements that must take place in order to achieve the non-carbon objective. In particular, the utility said, Platte River will need to become a participant in an organized regional market so it can participate in more energy trading activities. Battery storage technologies and performance must mature, along with other storage solutions, so Platte River can more cost-effectively store energy produced by renewable energy resources. Greater investment and integration of the region’s transmission and distribution systems must occur to leverage more advanced grid management technologies and to take advantage of more diverse energy resources. “The board’s action today formalized the path we have been on for some time,” said Frisbie. “Approximately 32 percent of the energy we deliver to our owner communities comes from non- carbon resources and, by 2020, about 50 percent of our energy will come from non-carbon resources.” To reach the 50 percent non-carbon mark, Platte River will begin to take the output from a 150 megawatt wind farm that will be built in southern Wyoming, under a power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy that was signed earlier this year. In addition, Platte River plans to install an additional 20 megawatts of solar energy capacity at its Rawhide Energy Station located near Wellington. Longer term planning to achieve the 100 percent objective is currently taking place within Platte River’s integrated resource planning process. The final draft of the IRP is expected in 2020.  

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State Department of Revenue delays new sales tax rules

DENVER — New Colorado rules for sales tax collections on purchases made over the Internet have been delayed until May 31, 2019. Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Mike Hartman issued a statement today to delay the implementation of sales tax rules to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v Wayfair decision: “As part of our rulemaking process to implement sales tax rules for in-state and out-of-state retailers, we have heard from legislators and the business community, and the Department of Revenue agrees it is important for the state to take the time to get this right. “As such, the department is extending the automatic reprieve for Colorado businesses and out-of-state retailers to comply with the emergency rules from the current March 31, 2019, deadline to May 31, 2019. We will evaluate the need for another extension as May 31 nears. This additional time will give the state legislature an opportunity to find innovative solutions to streamline and simplify our sales tax collection laws in accordance with the wishes of the residents of Colorado. Hartman asked that businesses that are able to collect and remit taxes on Internet sales based on where the good or service is delivered to do so in advance of the May 31 enforcement deadline.

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Wardes receive Humanitarian Award in Weld

GREELEY — Tim and Sally Warde of Greeley were honored as United Way of Weld County’s 2018 Humanitarian Award recipients at the 30th annual Tillers Club Reception at the DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park on Dec. 4. The Wardes join a list of humanitarian honorees dating back to 1989 when United Way of Weld County named Kenneth W. Monfort as its first recipient. “Tim and Sally are true humanitarians whose passion in helping others has made our community a better place to live,” said Jeannine Truswell, president and CEO of United Way of Weld County. “They have made an incredible impact in this community since moving to Greeley in 1971, and we thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do.” In 1978, the Wardes started their own business in Greeley called Northern Colorado Paper that was a wholesale distributor of paper products, restaurant and janitorial supplies and industrial cleaning equipment. They sold the successful company in 2011, but it was the passion of starting and running the business that put them in the middle of volunteering for many organizations such as United Way of Weld County and serving on multiple boards in the community. Sally Warde said one of the first organizations she volunteered for was United Way of Weld County. “I started supporting United Way of Weld County slightly after when we moved here,” Sally said. “They were having a neighborhood campaign then. I must have seen a small article in the paper about supporting United Way. I remember walking the neighborhood pushing a baby stroller going house to house. That goes way back.” “We’re just deeply honored and overwhelmed,” Tim Warde said. There are lots of deserving people out there. We are humbled.” The Wardes designated the proceeds of the Tillers Club reception wine auction to benefit Youth Development and Housing Stability, two main focus areas that United Way of Weld County is addressing.  

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Employment Services of Weld County exceeds annual goals

GREELEY — In several key metrics, Employment Services of Weld County exceeded annual goals, according to a year-end Colorado Department of Labor and Employment review. The state monitors participant data, program expenditures, processes and procedures to ensure compliance, effectiveness and accountability, according to a ESWC news release. The review found no compliance issues and noted that annual goals were exceed in the number of adults served (249 people or 114.75 percent of the goal) and in youth served (218 people or 110.1 percent of the goal). “The strong partnerships we’ve established with partner programs and the community are key to our level of service delivery,” ESWC division head Tami Grant said in a prepared statement. “And to deliver those services, I’m so fortunate to have staff who consistently work to put the best interests of Weld County job-seekers first and foremost.”  

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Boomtown seeks applicants for Hardware & Connectivity Accelerator

BOULDER — The Boomtown Hardware & Connectivity Accelerator is seeking applicants for its latest cohort. The accelerator, made in partnership with UpRamp, is for early-stage hardware and software startups working in areas like IoT, augmented reality, blockchain, connected homes, robotics and other tech. The program gives entrepreneurs access to connected device manufacturers, industry experts and mentors from cable and broadband operators nationwide. Ideas can be tested out in the Comcast Labs-sponsored Connectivity Lab. The 12-week program is in Boulder. The spring cohort kicks off Feb. 25 and runs through May 17. Applications for early consideration are due Dec. 9.  

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Here’s what you should know before a major software rollout

DENVER — Hershey’s, Nike, Waste Management, MillerCoors: All giant, billion-dollar companies that made one major misstep. They botched the rollout of their enterprise software. Enterprise Resource Planning software, or ERP software, is the backbone of running a large business: It’s the integration and tracking of various applications such as payroll, purchase orders, production capacity, etc. Without software to track all of those data sets and bring them together cohesively and smoothly across departments and thousands of employees, a business can collapse. And some major companies nearly did when the implementation of new ERP software failed. Hershey’s had a plagued rollout of new software right before the Halloween candy season. Waste Management had enough trouble with their software vendor and consultants that they ultimately settled a lawsuit with them. But the rollout of new ERP software can go smoothly and successfully, when enough planning and preparation is done ahead of time. That was the message of the ERP Digital Stratosphere Conference, hosted by Third State Consulting Group, which aimed to teach business leaders how to avoid the mistakes of some corporate giants. There are several repeating challenges companies experience when trying to implement new ERP software, said Marcus Harris, a partner at the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister with 18 years experience in ERP transactions and litigation. Those challenges include the process taking longer or it costing more than expected, the business benefits not being realized after implementation or the process disrupting operations. “In 2017, a survey found that 25 percent of respondents said their ERP implementation was a failure,” Harris said. Nearly 75 percent of all implementations are over budget, and 59 percent exceeded the scope and time estimates, according to the survey, which was conducted by Third Stage Consulting Group. What is more, 37 percent of companies said they failed to fully realize the return on investment they expected. Success is not due to luck, said Eric Kimberling, CEO and founder of Third Stage. It comes from careful planning and preparation before vendor selection and implementation begins. “This is your project, so you’ve got to know what is going on and own it,” Kimberling said. “Bring in the right resources.” The key is to start with a clear digital strategy, he said. That includes letting your business drive the technology, not the other way around. Just because something is the latest and greatest doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. One of the best things to do is sit down and do an audit of your business and prioritize what it is your looking for, said Adam Cheatham, manager at Third Stage. Analyze your pain points, how you currently manage your business processes and where you would like to see your company in the future. That will help you select software that doesn’t just work for you today but can work for you as you grow. Another thing to remember, Kimberling said, is that no silver bullet exists when it comes to selecting the right software. Not only […]

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Car sharing program debuts in Denver

DENVER — A national car-sharing program has made its way to Colorado. Getaround is a car-sharing program that permits users to rent and drive cars owned by people in their neighborhood. It permits people to live car-free but have access to vehicles whenever needed. It also permits people with cars to have access to speciality vehicles when they have a load to haul or want a recreational experience. Or, people can enter their own vehicles into the network and make them available for rental income. Getaround uses iOS or Android applications. “As we approach the holiday travel season and, of course, ski season, we’re thrilled to bring our car-sharing platform to Denver,” Sam Zaid, co-founder and CEO of Getaround, said in a written statement. “Today, consumers demand accessibility, variety and instant gratification, and Getaround addresses all of those needs. Residents and visitors of Denver not only have an opportunity to embrace Getaround’s eco-friendly ethos, but they’ll also have fun renting a Subaru, Tesla or hybrid SUV to explore the city and beyond.” Car sharing is part of a strategy to get cars off the roads and reduce impacts of traffic. A study by the University of California Transportation Sustainability Research Center found that for every car shared approximately 10 are taken off the road. In turn, every 1,000 vehicles shared reduces up to 50 million pounds of carbon dioxide. “Nearly one-in-five downtown Denver households don’t own vehicles, but those that do, often have multiple cars for special use cases, such as a second car just for the mountains,” said Zach Houck, general manager of Getaround Denver. “Those residents can now instantly monetize their primary car, or extra car that’s used occasionally, while also providing a sustainable way for car-free locals and tourists to enjoy Denver.” Each car on the platform is equipped with Getaround Connect, a proprietary technology that enables renters to locate and unlock the car using the app, removing the need to meet the owner in-person for a manual key exchange. By operating exclusively through the app and online, Getaround also removes the paperwork traditionally associated with car rentals. Getaround touts all-inclusive safety features, such as insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance, for which many rental services charge extra, the company said. Getaround now operates in 90 cities across the country.    

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Grass-fed beef company raises additional $6 million

DENVER — Teton Waters Ranch, a grass-fed beef operation based in Denver, has raised $6 million to expand the company. Company CEO Mike Murray told BusinessDen that the money will be used to expand its retail exposure, to fund innovation and marketing. SEC filings show the company has raised $34.8 million since mid-2014. The company was born in the Teton Valley of Idaho on the premise of seeding native grass and allowing cattle to graze and fertilize the land. The cattle when ready for market are sold in 2,000 stores nationwide.  

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VF Corp. selects name for its new denim company

DENVER — VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC), which recently split its denim-wear lines such as Wrangler off from the rest of its outdoor product lines when it moved to Denver from Greensboro, N.C., has named the new division. Denim lines, in addition to Wrangler, include Lee and Rock & Republic brands. The new company will be called Kontoor Brands Inc. and will remain in Greensboro. It will be a publicly traded company. VF Corp. moved its headquarters to Denver in August.  The company’s product lines include JanSport, The North Face and Vans, among others. The separation is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019, subject to final approval by VF’s board of directors, customary regulatory approvals and tax and legal considerations. “This is an exciting next step in our work to establish our Jeanswear organization as an independent, publicly traded company. Kontoor Brands — a creative variation of the word ‘contour’ — is a compelling company name that will preserve each brand’s unique identity while also providing the opportunity to evolve the company in the years ahead,” Steve Rendle, VF’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a written statement. More information about Kontoor Brands, including the board of directors, executive leadership team, stock symbol and strategic vision will be shared before the completion of the separation.  

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Eric Kimberling, CEO of Third Stage Consulting, spoke at the Digital Stratosphere Conference on Monday in Denver. Jensen Werley / BizWest.

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United Way of Weld County 2018 Humanitarian Award recipients Tim and Sally Warde are shown at the 30th annual Tillers Club reception at the DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park on Dec. 4. Courtesy United Way

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A rendering shows what Phase 1 of the new Boulder Google campus will look like once completed. Google recently exercised an option to purchase the land for Phase 2 of the project. Courtesy Forum Real Estate Group

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Tin Tin Su, a University of Colorado Boulder professor who serves as chief science officer for technology-transfer company SuviCa Inc., works on a drug to battle head and neck cancer. Glenn Asakawa / University of Colorado

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Todd Doleshall, left, and Glen Cook, co-owners of Farmer’s Pantry in Greeley. The grocer opened for business in November and features many locally grown Colorado products. Joel Blocker / For BizWest

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Photo Craft Imaging owner Roy McCutchen led the charge in digital imaging in the late 1980s. “It was horribly painful, but we were convinced that it was necessary to be on the leading edge,” he said of the transition. Jonanthan Castner/For BizWest

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Maeve Conran, news director at KGNU-FM in Boulder, conducts an interview during a morning show at the station. Jonathan Castner/for BizWest

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Joel Blocker / For BizWest
Mark Naber, a volunteer host with KRFC for the past five years, plays a variety of Americana music during his Thursday afternoon mix show Feb. 25.

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To the editor: Oil industry already takes safety seriously

To the editor: Left out of the Dec. 4 Editorial: Now it’s up to Colorado’s energy industry to propose a new code of conduct is the fact that the standards proposed by this editorial board are already largely in place and for reasons that go far beyond political ramifications. The editorial suggests increasing setbacks from 500 feet to 1,000 feet “for some buildings.” That is precisely how current regulations are written, as the industry operates at least 1,000 feet from high-occupancy structures such as schools and hospitals and 500 feet from all other structures. Regarding Colorado’s orphaned wells, I stood at Gov. Hickenlooper’s side this past summer when he announced an executive order mandating the expedited plugging, remediation and reclamation of precisely these wells. His order set aside funds specifically for these purposes, with industry’s full support. Community outreach is also a core component of our industry’s operations across the state. Natural gas and oil workers, as well as their families, live, work and play throughout the state, including communities in which development occurs. They have every incentive, personally and professionally, to safely and responsibly develop Colorado’s abundant natural resources in concert with the regulatory preferences of their neighbors and local governments. The natural gas and oil industry has demonstrated a commitment to developing natural resources while protecting the health of communities and the environment, and that will not change. Far from assuming an antagonistic role in discussions regarding energy development, we prefer to play a proactive one. That’s not just good business; it’s the right thing to do for our communities. Tracee Bentley Executive director Colorado Petroleum Council

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MiRagen appoints new chairman to its board of directors

BOULDER — MiRagen Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEN), a biopharmaceutical company focused on RNA-targeted therapies, has appointed a new chairman to its board of directors. Jeff Hatfield, who has been a director since 2017, will succeed Bruce Booth, who is stepping down to pursue new investments in the Atlas Venture portfolio. Arlene Morris, also a director, will replace Booth on the audit committee. The board will be comprised of seven directors, including six non-executive directors. “It is exciting to step into the Chairman role at MiRagen during a time when the Company has several important milestones on the horizon,” Hatfield said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working closely with the rest of the Board and management team to advance these programs with a pathway towards potential commercialization.” Hatfield is a veteran in the industry and CEO of Zafgen Inc. He previously served as CEO of Vitae Pharmaceuticals until it was acquired by Allergan in 2016. Booth will continue to be involved in the company, as MiRagen is part of the Atlas Venture portfolio.  

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Left Hand to sell Milk Stout Nitro in Sweden

LONGMONT — Left Hand Brewing Co. is expanding its footprint just a touch outside of Colorado: The Longmont brewery has signed an international distribution agreement into Sweden. Left Hand partnered with Great Brands to bring its Milk Stout Nitro to Systembolaget in 12-ounce bottles. “We’re thrilled to introduce craft beer enthusiasts in Sweden to Left Hand Brewing and Milk Stout Nitro,” Jill Preston, director of marketing at Left Hand Brewing, said in a prepared statement. “Nitro beer is an experience in and of itself. It starts with a mesmerizing cascade and culminates in a super smooth encounter with each and every sip.” Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro is the No. 1 selling craft stout in the United States.

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Women of Distinction nominations now open

People interested in nominating distinguished women to the 2019 Women of Distinction awards in Northern Colorado have one month, until Jan. 7, to submit their applications. Women of Distinction is a BizWest program designed to recognize the achievements of women in business, government and nonprofits. Winners will be recognized at a celebration breakfast on April 2 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites hotel and conference center, 4705 Clydesdale Parkway, Loveland. A candidate is eligible if: She lives or works in Larimer or Weld counties. Is nominated for only one award in any one year. Was not an honoree in a previous year but may be re-nominated. Is not nominated for a category in which she has previously been an honoree, but may be nominated for a category in which she was not previously honored. Nominations must be received by Jan. 7, and anyone may nominate a candidate. Nominations must be complete — all questions on the nomination form answered. The nominee will be asked to complete an application and provide a current resume. Previous Women of Distinction honorees, plus two staff representatives from BizWest, will evaluate the nominations, designate finalists in each category and select winners. The April event will honor 10 women, plus a mentor to professional women.  

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Unemployment rate steady in NoCo, Boulder Valley

The unemployment rates in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties remained flat in October, according to Colorado Department of Labor and Employment data. The four Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado counties posted similar non-seasonally adjusted unemployment figures in both September and October — and each was below 3 percent. Larimer County posted a 2.7 percent jobless rate. Weld and Boulder counties both held steady with a 2.8 percent rate. Broomfield County also had an October unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, down slightly from 2.9 percent in September. Statewide, the unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent to 3.2 percent in October. That figure is still well below the national average of 3.7 percent. The number of people actively participating in Colorado’s labor force increased 5,500 over the month to 3,101,200. Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased from 33.9 to 33.4 hours and average hourly earnings increased from $27.95 to $29.22.

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Major donation permits Wellington Boys & Girls Club to expand

WELLINGTON — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, with a $500,000 donation from Sage Homes of Northern Colorado, have purchased the Wellington Community Church and will retrofit it to serve more than 100 youth per day. The Boys & Girls Club located in Wellington has outgrown its facility, and the Wellington Community Church plans to build a new building. For the past 20 years, the club has operated in a renovated park shelter. The club and the church reached an agreement to benefit both organizations — the church will build a new building, and the Boys & Girls Club will expand into the old church. Once renovated, the new club will be re-named Sage Homes Boys & Girls Club. “We are ecstatic about the new club in Wellington and what it will bring to the young people of this community,” Kaycee Headrick, executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County, said in a written statement. “More so, we are blown away by the graciousness of Sage Homes, as well as the many other supporters who made this project possible.”   Wellington Community Church’s pastor, Russ Brewer, said, “Our church family has been part of the town of Wellington all the way back to 1915. As our community has grown and changed, we have been asking the Lord to use us to bless and reach those around us. Throughout this process, the Lord has worked in ways we could never have anticipated — and with this next step, we’re excited for the Boys & Girls Club and we’re excited for our own future construction project, and we look forward to being part of Wellington for generations to come.” The Wellington Community Church will continue Sunday services and church operations alongside the Boys & Girls Club until its new facility is complete. Sage Homes is a semi-custom builder in Northern Colorado since 2000. It is owned by Daren and Ronna Roberson.

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From left, Steve Taylor of State Farm, Seth Feinberg of Burris Co., Dianna Campbell of Weld County and Stacey Thomas of Unified Title; listen on March 10 during the Leadership Weld County class tour at Noble Energy. Courtesy Greeley Chamber of Commerce

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