Each year, Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce collaborate to present the Colorado Business Hall of Fame. This year, the laureates were from the development/real estate/construction fields, and it was quickly evident that these forward thinkers built not just buildings, but communities and beyond.
Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureates are part of a league of outstanding individuals who have made legendary contributions to the free enterprise system. This year’s laureates are:
Barbara Barnes Grogan took Western Industrial Contractors from working on an unpaved street in 1982 with a 1969 truck to a nationally recognized construction company. Western was an integral part of the opening of Denver International Airport and still thrives today. Barbara has been on numerous boards, advisory committees and is the recipient of numerous awards for her business leadership.
Gil E and James Johnson–As chief executive officer of G.E. Johnson, Jim Johnson is building on his late father’s legacy, not just following it. The company is Colorado Springs’ largest locally owned and operated commercial builder, and one of the biggest in the state and the Rocky Mountain region. Through the years, G.E. Johnson has either built, expanded or renovated all or portions of some of the highest profile structures in Colorado Springs. Among them are The Broadmoor, World Arena, Pikes Peak Center, Pikes Peak Community College, Fountain Valley School, Air Force Academy, Penrose Hospital and El Paso County Justice Center. Jim’s passion for community service and client satisfaction drives him as he continues to lead the company in its 50th year of operation.
William Pauls merged his accounting practice that he founded in 1971 with Deloitte Haskins and Sells in 1976 and became a national partner in the firm. In 1979, Pauls led an investment group that acquired the Denver Technological Center (DTC) from First National City Corp. or its own account and through various joint ventures, Pauls’ team developed millions of square feet of office space and hundreds of acres of land in south Denver. In addition, the company expanded its development business to Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas. Pauls serves on numerous boards throughout the Denver community.
Richard “Dick” Saunders followed his entrepreneurial spirit and in 1972, with 13 years of experience in the industry, founded Saunders Construction, Inc. His foundation for the business was honesty, performance and accountability – defining characteristics of the company to this day. Saunders lends much of his time and money to better the communities in which we live and work. He has served on as many as 14 boards at a time for most of the past 40 years, generally promoting children, education and civic causes, and has received countless awards and honors.
Joseph Kernan Weckbaugh, a Colorado native, was a tireless promoter for the state of Colorado and the city of Englewood. Weckbaugh was involved with many ventures, including forming the USO for Colorado; he is honored on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He notably brought Braniff Airlines to the Western Mountain District, but Weckbaugh is best known for his lifelong commitment to the Colorado banking industry, purchasing and overseeing mergers of numerous well-known banks. He was instrumental in founding Junior Achievement in Colorado and served as a member of the organization’s first board of directors. He was active in many community charities and has received numerous awards. He was President of the J.K. Mullen Foundation and founded the Weckbaugh Foundation. His award was accepted by his son Wally.
Philip and Adolph Zang were members of a family that is steeped in development history and building successful breweries in Denver. The Philip Zang & Co brewery became the largest brewery west of St Louis by 1880. Adolph Zang followed in his father’s footsteps as an astute businessman. His business prospects included Vindicator Consolidated Gold Mining Co., Zang Realty and Investment Co. and Adolph J. Zang Investment Co. As a banker, Adolph developed one of the largest financial institutions in the American west: the Schirmer Insurance & Investment Co., later renamed the German American Trust Company of Denver. Adolph owned a 4,000-acre ranch outside of Denver, where he pursued his passion of breeding purebred horses. Adolph’s breeds won various awards at shows nationwide. Adolph also intensely loved literature and maintained one of the most extensive libraries in Colorado. In 1916, Adolph fell victim to diabetes, aggravated by two hemorrhages he suffered while inspecting one of his mines in Cripple Creek.
The program included introductions by some of Junior Achievement’s brightest stars, and remarks by Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber, Denise Burgess, DMC board chair, Robin Wise, president and CEO of JA, and Steve Kinsley, board member of JA.
For more information on the laureates and the programs of JA and the DMC, log on to their websites: www.jacolorado.org and www.denverchamber.org.