On growing pains, lessons learned and finding balance: how Boulder’s own movers and shakers have forged unique paths to success.
Jeff Suffolk, CEO of Human Movement
- Words to live by? “Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”
- Best way to start the day? Breakfast at Bob’s Diner with my family.
- Greatest accomplishment? Being a dad—I had no idea how awesome it would be.
- On his team: Suffolk calls his team “the coolest people,” and credits them with taking his “half-baked, decent ideas” and turning them into amazing experiences.
- Biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? Learning how to lead.
- Daily Motivation? Creating amazing family experiences; we call ourselves ‘Modern Day Alchemists,’ turning mountains into memories.
Jesse Aratow, Partner, Agent and Manager at Madison House
- First taste of the music business? Working at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon in Telluride.
- Lessons learned? A healthy body = a healthy mind.
- The secret to your success? Routine, balance, and being calm, collected and even-keeled.
- Favorite way to start the day? Working out for an hour and a half at the Colorado Athletic Club, and a single cup of french press, dark roast.
- How do you measure success? It’s not about a show, a number of records, or a large offer; it’s all about the quality partnerships being established.
John Vogl, Artist and Founder of The Bungaloo
- Advice for future illustrators? Have confidence—don’t sacrifice your work or yourself to please one person or to get one job.
- Best advice you’ve received? “Good work wins out.”
- People you look up to? Teagan White, Jessica Seamans, Ryan Duggan and Mike Mitchell, to name a few.
- Project you’re most proud of? The Denver Pale Ale can for Great Divide—it was cool to have my work out in the public instead of in the niche world of music or advertising.
- First great success? A poster for St. Vincent in 2009—it was the first time I created a poster that sold out immediately.
Ted Church, Founder and Co-Principal of Anthem Branding
- Advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs? Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- What makes a strong leader? Someone who builds meaningful relationships; someone who can be resilient and maintain a sense of calm when faced with difficult obstacles and decisions.
- Daily routine? Wake up at 5:19, coffee, read the paper, workout, drop my kids off at school, then at my desk by 8:00 am ready to take on the day.
- Favorite meal in Boulder? Breakfast on the deck at Chautauqua Dining Hall after a hike with my family.
- Favorite morning pick-me-up? Black coffee or Kombucha.
Kevin J. Daly, Proprietor of Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries
- What impact do you feel you’ve made in the community? We are politically liberal and socially conscious, and we run our business with that as the underlying mission.
- Favorite activities outside of work? Hiking or running daily, and concerts…lots of concerts. I also serve on the board of Project Angel Heart in Denver.
- On finding balance: Work hard and play harder!
- What would you have done differently? I would’ve hired a management trainer earlier on—I was young and demanding and didn’t know how to communicate.
- Favorite item on the menu? Our french fries.
Brian Watson, Founder and CEO of Northstar Commercial Partners
- What impact do you feel you’ve made in the community? We take vacant or distressed buildings and turn them into productive environments—like charter schools or business incubators—to help create jobs and opportunities.
- What inspired you to write a book? I’ve learned a lot of lessons from people from all walks of life; I wrote The 7 Rings with the goal of impacting just one person for the better.
- On changing the paradigm: Sometimes the view is that businesses are out for profit only, but whatever your industry, you can have a positive social impact while still succeeding financially.
- Lesson learned? Approach every relationship and negotiation with an attitude of “how can I help benefit this person?” instead of “how can they benefit me?”
- Beyond Northstar: Watson is running for Colorado State Treasurer, as he hopes to bring his “business expertise and positive leadership style” to the office.
David Barnett, Founder and CEO of PopSockets
- Before PopSockets? I was a Professor of Philosophy at CU-Boulder.
- What has your success taught you? That sometimes we have needs that we can’t readily identify.
- Most people don’t know… On my tenth birthday, when I blew out my candles, my wish was to be funny like my classmate, Craig Long.
- What inspired “Pop for Purpose?” I wanted to [empower] people to express their values through activism. We developed a platform that will enable anyone in the world to design a grip, associate a 501(c)(3) charity, and raise money through sales of the custom product.
- The secret to your success? Luck.
Tripp Wall, Co-CEO of Alfalfa’s Market
- How did you end up at Alfalfa’s? My partner and I invested our life savings in the Alfalfa’s “local and organic” vision to fight the conventional industrial food complex, lessen the carbon and chemical footprint in our food, and grow an authentic, fresh, local, small batch community market.
- Your first great success? My first business that gave me the bug was a belt business that I started when I was 10.
- Is there anyone in particular that has helped you along the way? Too many to name—it takes a village—but I’d be remiss not to mention my dad and grandfather, and the Alfalfa’s team: Mark Retzloff and Barney Fienblum.
- Fun fact about yourself? My son and I keep bees, chickens and are numismatists.
- Favorite way to relax and unwind? Hands down getting on my bike, preferably with my kids.
Scott Rodwin, President of Skycastle Construction and Principal of Rodwin Architecture
- Best part of being an architect? Making functional art on a large scale that supports lives and is beautiful to look at.
- Personal philosophy? The lens through which I filter my decisions is BASIC: balance, awareness, simplicity, integrity and compassion.
- A team approach: It would have been impossible to accomplish what I’ve accomplished without an extraordinary team around me.
- Daily motivation? I’m addicted to creativity. If I see a problem, I can’t stop myself from trying to solve it.
- Outside of work… Beyond being an architect, Rodwin is a father, artist, inventor, Professor of Green Building at Naropa University, Founder of Nomad Cohousing and a professional dancer.