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4/17/2003

LAEC honors Strong

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Picking up what will be the first of two awards in one week’s time, Steve Strong of Sun Construction used part of his time to pay tribute to his host.

Strong acknowledged John Cody, president and chief executive officer of the Longmont Area Economic Council, for his recently being named “Developer of the Year,” calling it “a huge, statewide award.”

Strong was onstage to accept the Tom Brock Award, given annually to someone who follows in the footsteps of the late community and business leader.

It was the first time the award was presented at the LAEC’s annual Cornerstone Awards Luncheon, now in its fourth year.

“We appreciate and value all the relationships we have fostered over the years,” Strong told the crowd of about 250 at the Raintree Conference Center. He was recognized for his contributions to the community through his company, Sun Construction, and his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and numerous local charitable causes.

Incidentally, Strong and his wife, Margaret, will be inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame next Wednesday.

Three local companies were presented with Cornerstone Awards Wednesday, honored for their opening in or expanding to the Longmont area.

Nypro Colorado, wholly owned by its employees, is a 28-year-old plastics company that is going for its 18th straight year of profitability, Cody said in his introduction.

Cody related a good example of the company’s flexibility and creativity.

“Hewlett-Packard asked for greater capacity from Nypro,” said Cody. “This was on a Friday afternoon. By Monday there were extra machines on the floor, and by Wednesday they were making product.”

Russ Steele, general manager of Nypro, accepted the award and said his company has been able to double its employee base in recent months, thanks to work coming in from out-of-state.

Based in Silicon Valley, Pillar Data Systems is a new data storage company in Longmont that has opened in nearly 24,000 square feet of space, in which 60 of the company’s 220 employees work.

While Pillar may be new, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp., sits on its board of directors — to give you an idea of the company’s pedigree.

Kim Kirschenstein, senior director and general manager of Pillar’s Longmont operations, accepted the award.

Xilinx, which manufactures “programmable logic” computer chips, was the third company honored. Cody noted in his introduction that Fortune Magazine had named Xilinx fourth on its recent “100 best companies to work for” list. It was the highest ranked publicly held company on the list.

In accepting the Cornerstone Award, Kenn Perry, senior managing director of Xilinx Colorado, spoke of his company’s emphasis on “work/life balance.”

“We truly believe our employees are our greatest asset,” said Perry. The Silicon Valley-based company employs nearly 300 in its Longmont building, which it finished moving into last spring.

Before the close of Wednesday’s luncheon, Cody and his staff did something they hadn’t done at previous awards: They recognized — by name and company — the three levels of investors that keep the LAEC going. Each person called up on stage was presented with a trophy.

“Although our gifts today are small, please know that they are heartfelt,” Cody said. “We truly appreciate your support.”

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.