April 28, 2006

Seven inducted into 2006 Business Hall of Fame

Seven people – seven stories. Yet all of them share a common thread – a life of hard work and dedication. In addition, each possesses a quality that helps set them apart in the business world: passion for their chosen field and for service to the community.

The seven inductees into the 2006 Boulder County Business Hall of Fame have displayed their enthusiasm and commitment to their professional and personal lives again and again. Here, to inspire us, are their compelling stories.

Jesse Aweida
Originally from Palestine, Jesse Aweida came to the United States in 1952, where he worked with IBM as a developer for 12 years. He moved to Boulder in 1966. Three years later he co-founded Storage Technology Corp. in Louisville, a data storage company, which, in just 12 years, not only revolutionized the industry but also became a billion-dollar-a-year business and last year was bought by Sun Microsystems Inc.

“If you have a good product and a good team of people and have it properly financed, you can make your business successful,” Aweida says. “But you need all those things – product, idea, people and financing.”
Aweida stepped down from his position as chief executive officer in 1984. Four years later, he became a general partner of Aweida Venture Partners, a self-funded venture capital firm. His son, Dan, joined the business in the early 1990s.

With his wife, Maria, Aweida created the April Fund, a private charity that has benefited more than 50 organizations in the Boulder Valley and Fort Collins area, including Doctors without Borders, Women’s Wilderness Institute, YWCA and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

The couple has five children and 10 grandchildren. When he’s not working, Aweida skis, plays golf and runs in the Bolder Boulder every year.

Dave Hight
When Dave Hight first came to Boulder, his father-in-law, Bill McGuckin, invited him to join him in his up-and-coming hardware business. The two became partners in 1960.

By 1966, Hight was owner and CEO of McGuckin Hardware, employing five people and operating out of a 3,400-square-foot space. Today, the company has more than 300 employees and operates from a 65,000-square-foot facility.

Hight credits his success with the work ethic he gained growing up as the youngest of 10 children raised on a truck farm in Brighton, as well as the discipline he developed later while serving in the Navy.

“All those things you learned when you were young stick with you,” he says. “And I have to give a lot of credit to the people I’ve worked with over the years, from businesspeople to suppliers – and of course, customers, too.”

A member of the Elks and Rotary clubs, Hight has been instrumental in helping a large number of Boulder business owners get started.

Hight has been married to his wife, Dee, since 1950, and they have three sons and eight grandchildren. When they can get away, he and his wife enjoy spending time at their cabin in Grand Lake.

Vanderlynn ‘Van’ Stow
Since 1966, Vanderlynn ‘Van’ Stow has been with Brock and Company CPAs, serving as a certified public accountant and director, as well as helping to establish its Boulder office.

Stow feels that a successful CPA needs to possess a number of capabilities.

“I think it’s a combination of technical skills, people skills and creativity,” he says. “One has to have the technical skills to perform the services required in all aspects of public accounting. One has to have people skills to acquire and retain clients and relate to them. On the creative side, one has to get outside the box to understand the business a client is in or the family dynamics in a family-owned business.”

In addition to involvement with the Longmont Area Economic Council and other civic organizations, Stow and his wife, Diane, helped raise $3 million for the Tiny Tim Center, a preschool for developmentally challenged children, where he serves on the board.

The couple has been married 23 years and has four grown children. They live in Longmont. He spends his spare time with his first grandchild and dabbles in photography and golf. “My golf game is terrible,” he admits. “Anyone who has played with me knows that, so it won’t be a surprise to them.”

Stephen Meer & George Heinrichs
In the 1970s, Stephen Meer and George Heinrichs were commissioned officers serving as public safety consultants in the Boulder sheriff’s office. By the end of the decade, they created SCC Communications (later to be named Intrado) dedicated to using technology to enhance 911 emergency systems.

West Corp. purchased Intrado in April, and the two founders remain executives in what’s now a wholly owned subsidiary of West.

Managing more than a billion 911 database transactions a year, Intrado also provides the Intrado IntelliCast Target Notification system, which can deliver a telephone message with information about a missing child to thousands of homes and businesses within minutes.

The two founders of Intrado are deeply committed to their work for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“We had an opportunity to ring the opening bell for Nasdaq in 2005,” says Heinrichs. “But instead of promoting the company we used it to promote the National Center. For the rest of the day, images of missing children in the Times Square area were displayed on the giant billboard outside Nasdaq.”

Meer, who serves as Intrado’s chief technology officer, believes the company’s success is due to not only their own level of commitment, but also the dedication of their employees.

“At the end of the day it comes back to having a strong partnership with a strong team,” he says. “That’s what makes it work. Then you can really stay focused on what you need to stay focused on. And it’s also about paying attention to the critical nature of what we’re doing, not being cavalier about that commitment to public safety.”

Heinrichs, who serves as president of Intrado, lives with this family in the Boulder foothills. On his off time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and scuba diving.

Meer, who lives with his family in Boulder County, spends his down time as a woodworker and ham radio operator. In addition, he serves on advisory boards and as a guest lecturer for engineering schools and programs.

Stephen Tebo
As a child growing up in Hill City, Kan., Stephen Tebo began collecting coins at the age of 11. Tebo’s coin collection later provided the seed money for a real estate empire.

After moving to Boulder in 1968 he opened a coin shop on Spruce Street. Over the next 10 years he used his shop revenues to finance a burgeoning real estate career – which, by 1981, became a full-time business venture.

Today, Tebo Development owns and manages a portfolio of more than 100 prime properties, specializing in retail and office space.

“I’ve always been very cognizant of investing in the future – spending money that has no immediate return today but will five years from today,” Tebo says. “And I’ve always been very careful about the locations of the properties I bought, so that even in down times they were rentable because they were prime locations.”

In addition to a $2 million contribution toward Boulder’s new cancer center, Tebo also has made donations and building commitments to the YWCA and the First Congregational Church.

Stephen Tebo and his wife, Shari, have five children and six grandchildren. The couple lives in Boulder, where Tebo collects cars and Western art, and sponsors a local basketball team.

“Since I sponsor it, they have to let me play because I’m not good enough to make the team otherwise,” he jokes.

Marguerite Peoples
In 1961, a young woman and her terminally ill husband traveled from California to Lyons. Along the way, they saw a tiny restaurant with six stools and two booths. Realizing that he needed to give his wife a means to make a living, the husband bought the restaurant.

Forty-five years later, Marguerite Peoples continues to be the leading light of the popular Lyons CafÇ. Now retired at 92 years young, Peoples leaves the actual running of the restaurant to her daughter Agnes, but her presence is still felt – and seen – there. She still drops in to help out.

Peoples says that the key to her success has been in keeping costs low.

“I didn’t put a lot of money into starting the cafe,” she says. “A lot of people make the mistake of putting a lot of money in a place before they get started. I’ve seen a lot come and go because of that. You shouldn’t go into debt first.”

Called the “Pie Lady” or “Mom” by special friends (“There are only certain people I let call me that,” she admits), Peoples has been active with local civic affairs and contributed to many educational organizations through the years. At the annual Taste of Lyons event, her pies are the first to go.

Peoples has two daughters and nine grandchildren, and spends her time away from the restaurant writing stories from her full life, as well as sketches about her family history.

“I’ve gotten acquainted with all my ancestors on both sides,” she laughs.

Seven people – seven stories. Yet all of them share a common thread – a life of hard work and dedication. In addition, each possesses a quality that helps set them apart in the business world: passion for their chosen field and for service to the community.

The seven inductees into the 2006 Boulder County Business Hall of Fame have displayed their enthusiasm and commitment to their professional and personal lives again and again. Here, to inspire us, are their compelling stories.

Jesse Aweida
Originally from Palestine, Jesse Aweida came to the United States in 1952, where he worked with…

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