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Winners started and stayed local

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — It turned out, the host picked up an award himself.

At the Longmont Area Economic Council’s fifth annual Cornerstone Awards on Wednesday, John Cody, the LAEC’s president and CEO, received the final award of the day.

Patricia Barela Rivera, Colorado district director of the Small Business Administration, presented Cody with the SBA’s Financial Service Advocate of the Year award, highlighting in her introduction Cody’s 21 years of work in economic development, 11 of them in Colorado.

Acknowledging he had found out about the award only that morning, Cody’s award brought the crowd to its feet for a standing ovation.

As master of ceremonies Gregg Moss — an Erie resident and business reporter for 9News — pointed out, this year’s Cornerstone Award winners all had something in common: They were all start-up companies that began in Longmont.

Breakthrough Management Group Inc., a 5-year-old company specializing in business management consulting and training, provides incentives for its employees to relocate here if they don’t live in Longmont, Moss said in his introduction of the first award-winner.

David Silverstein — president and CEO of BMG — said he located his company, which experienced 64 percent growth in 2003 and now employs about 90 people, to Longmont because of its central location and its “great people.”

Cornice Inc. has received $81 million in venture capital funding to date, and clients of its 2.0-gigabyte storage device, smaller than a business card, include Sony, Phillips and Samsung.

Kevin Magenis, Cornice CEO, thanked his employees that had stuck with his company for the past 31/2 years, saying they had “endured and persevered.”

InstruTech Inc., a “low-volume, high-mix” company that makes printed circuit boards, vacuum gauges and digital flow meters, was the third Cornerstone winner. President Jerry Howard said Longmont was always his choice to locate his company.

“We feel there’s a great infrastructure here, not only for our vendor base but a good number of you in this room are our customers, so we appreciate that as well,” Howard said.

A new award this year, the CTEK Longmont award, was presented to AnswerOn, a business-to-business company whose software helps other companies control their customer turnover.

Eric Johnson, president and founder of AnswerOn, said his company expects to be profitable by the end of the year.

“We’re very close to being cash positive and we’re going to be hiring people and building (the company) right here in Longmont,” Johnson said.

This year’s Leadership Award was presented to the Longmont City Council for its 2003 efforts — particularly with Amgen and Xilinx — to help keep Longmont’s business community viable for years to come.

Accepting on behalf of the council, LAEC board member and city councilman Roger Lange said that just as much as its employers, it is Longmont’s people who make the city a great place to work and live.

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