Eight inducted into Boulder County Business Hall of Fame

LONGMONT – Eight business leaders were inducted Wednesday into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame before a record luncheon crowd of 480 people at the Plaza Convention Center in Longmont.

The Hall’s 22nd class includes Mitchell Carson, president and chief executive of Longmont United Hospital; Terrence “Terry” Gallagher, chairman of Gasamat Oil and Smoker Friendly International; Topaz Group founder Robert “Bob” Gill, board chairman for the Innovation Center of the Rockies; William “Bill” Hofgard of Hofgard Insurance in Boulder; Lenny and Sara Martinelli, founders and owners of Louisville-based Three Leaf Concepts; and Lila and the late William G. “Bill” Stewart, who ran what was then KLMO radio in Longmont for nearly 40 years.

In acceptance speeches, Carson praised the hospital’s leadership team “for understanding that we give back to the community,” Gallagher outlined “traits that make a business leader: hard work, integrity and honesty,” and Gill – who has mentored other chief executives for 18 years – praised the Innovation Center for “creating and implementing strategies that have led to five years of new companies, new hires and investment received.”

Hofgard told of arriving in Boulder in 1956 as “a skinny kid from Nebraska who moved to Boulder and started selling life insurance.” He said his startup philosophy was to “expose yourself to a lot of people in Boulder without getting arrested, and then meet a banker and establish a relationship.”

Sara Martinelli said she still is humbled by the opportunity to manage some of “Boulder’s biggest treasures” – the Dushanbe Teahouse and Chautauqua Dining Hall – and husband Lenny Martinelli recalled getting his start at the New York Deli on the Pearl Street Mall (“You all remember ‘Mork and Mindy,’ right?”) He also recounted buying what was then Karen’s Country Kitchen in Louisville and reopening it as The Huckleberry because, “We lived in Louisville, and we needed someplace to eat.”

For Stewart, the day was just beginning; she was to participate in groundbreaking in the afternoon for the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, for which the Stewart Family Foundation donated most of the $4 million cost. She also announced that the foundation had donated “millions” to what she called the Sustainable Excellence Initiative at the University of Colorado-Boulder, a major upgrade of the athletic facilities to Pacific-12 Conference standards.

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