April 27, 2007

Best, brightest in Hall of Fame 2007 class

The Boulder County Business Hall of Fame has chosen six inductees for 2007. These inductees, all members of the Boulder County business community, have exemplified more than just good business skills.

They have set themselves apart as leaders in their communities by showing courage, commitment and a passion for generosity. Quick to give credit to those who have mentored them, they have served as mentors for their families, colleagues and the entire community. Through this mentoring, they have fostered and nurtured a new generation of business and civic leaders, as well as a new generation of givers and philanthropists.

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This year’s inductees are G. Lane Earnest, Tom Eldridge, Bayne Gibson, Richard Klein, John Edward Mock and Dan Pirrallo.

G. Lane Earnest

Over the years, staff members have accumulated fond memories during the annual retreats given by the law firm of Caplan and Earnest. At each one, founding partner G. Lane Earnest always gives his famous speech on the “Triple C’s” of building a successful law firm: Clients, Colleagues and Community.

“A focus on others – whether they’re colleagues, customers or clients – is the key to success in business,” he said.

This focus on others has benefited more than 95 school districts and 20-plus nonprofits and charitable organizations, all thanks to Earnest who, along with his legal team, has provided consultation and pro bono services for these groups for nearly four decades.

In addition, for many years the staff at Caplan and Earnest in Boulder has followed a tradition of regularly serving meals at the Boulder Shelter. It recently helped start the PACK to School program – a program that provides backpacks with school supplies to kids.

Earnest also has served as chairman of the board for Rocky Mountain PBS and has served as general counsel for the Boulder Community Hospital for more than two decades.

“You always want to give back to the community because relationships are the key to life,” he said. “It’s easy to become involved. It’s what gives us dignity as human beings.”

In the ’80s, Earnest started a second career as a cruise ship chaplain and has traveled in that capacity all over the world, from the countries of the Holy Land to Russia, Australia and New Zealand.

Earnest and his wife, Barbara, live in Boulder and have two children and five grandchildren.

Tom Eldridge

When the Boulder City Council decided to give City Manager Frank Bruno a bonus a couple of years ago, he told them he would be donating it back to the community.

Afterward, when council member Tom Eldridge approached Bruno and thanked him for being a role model, Bruno told him, “Are you kidding me? The person I learned this stuff from is you.”

As a Boulder city councilman, member of both the Boulder Chamber and the Downtown Business Association and owner of Tom’s Tavern, Eldridge has set a standard for business and community service in Boulder for more than four decades.

“Tom is a very quiet philanthropist and supports very many causes without any fanfare or expectations of thanks,” Bruno said. “He doesn’t seek the limelight. But those of us who know Tom know what he has done.”

One example of this quiet generosity occurred when the city of Boulder provided its sister city, Mante, Mexico, with a fire engine. When it was discovered that it would need new tires, Eldridge went out and purchased them himself – with his own money.

“For Tom, it’s never been about how his business is doing – it’s all about how the community is doing,” Bruno said.

Eldridge and his wife, Betty, live in Boulder and have four children and five grandchildren.

Bayne Gibson

Five years ago, Bayne Gibson became the oldest person in the world to complete the required real estate courses and get CCIM designation.

This was just one more event in a life full of milestones.

During Gibson’s career he has handled business mergers and estate acquisitions for companies, managed financial planning for celebrity athletes and even taught Dale Carnegie courses. On the local level, Gibson is known as a pivotal part of the Longmont community by helping to bring companies such as Amgen and VacTec Systems to town.

Gibson attributes his leadership ability to the skills and spirit of camaraderie he learned as an athlete at Johns Hopkins University and as a flying officer in the Air National Guard.

“If you take out of the community, you have to give back to the community,” he said. “If you’re a community leader, it’s important to be involved in fundraising.”

This spirit of giving has led Gibson to leadership positions on the boards of civic groups such as the Longmont Chamber, as well as youth organizations like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs and the Our Childcare Center.

“It’s important to be a role model for the next generation and make it better for the future,” he said.

At 82, Gibson and his wife, Nell, live in Longmont, where they just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in February. They have two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Richard Klein

In the early days of motion pictures, Richard Klein used to travel by bicycle on the streets of New York and deliver newsreels from the movie studios to the theaters. Eventually this passion for the cinema led to a career with the Black Hills Amusement Company – a theater chain in South Dakota.

When he heard of an opportunity to purchase the old Fox Theater in Longmont, he moved his family in 1960 and rechristened his new movie palace the Trojan Theater.

Many people who grew up in Longmont remember the Tuesday night Kiddies Club at the Trojan, where Klein dedicated himself to providing an environment that was not only safe but also fun for the children of Longmont.

He even showed free movies on Christmas Eve, so that parents could get their Christmas shopping done.

Eventually, he became owner of an entire cinema chain, which included 10 screens and a drive-in.

“The movie theater was the only place of entertainment for the kids in Longmont to have,´ said his daughter, Connie Lehman. “Those kids are now adults, and they’re always telling him the difference he made in their lives.”

As a civic leader, Klein also helped form the Heart of Longmont Merchants Association and the Longmont Theatre Company. He also served on the board of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce and the Longmont Senior Center.

At 94, Klein lives in Longmont and has four children, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

John Edward Mock

In 1962, while working as a sales manager for Phillips Construction, John Edward Mock broke the “color” barrier in Boulder County by selling a house to an African American family.

A few years later, after forming Mock Realty in 1965, he was one of the first Realtors in Boulder to recruit female real estate agents.

This dedication toward doing the right thing, even when it takes the courage to stand alone, has been a common thread throughout his career. While running his real estate business, he took the time to serve voluntarily as an adviser and procurer of properties for the Boulder School District and later, the Boulder Community Hospital.

“In the service business we’re in, you serve the community,” he said. “The citizens of Boulder supported me and my business, and I needed to give back.”

As a Realtor, Mock said the most important thing is to always be honest. “Buying real estate is the biggest transaction most people ever make, and it affects their whole lives,” he said. “They need to be able to rely on the Realtor working with them.”

In 1993, his sons took control of much of his business. With his wife, Bernice, working as office manager as well, Mock said that this family network of support allowed him to do much of his work for both the hospital and school district. He has also served on boards for the Boulder Chamber and the Mental Health Center of Boulder County.

Mock and his wife, Bernice, live in Boulder and have three sons and two grandchildren.

Dan Pirrallo

During a recent Boulder Business Hall of Fame board meeting, board member Dan Pirrallo was unexpectedly called out of the room. While he was gone, the board quickly nominated and inducted him into this year’s class – a fait accompli that came as a complete surprise to him when he returned.

“I tried to convince them that there are others in this organization more worthy, but finally board member Virginia Patterson spoke up and said, ‘Deal with it,'” he recalled with a laugh.

As the general manager of the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder since 2001, Pirrallo will be the first to tell you that the hotel industry is not only his passion, but it has also served as a means for him pursue his many charitable interests.

“I came from a humble upbringing. By being in the hotel industry I was able to do things for nonprofits and arts organizations that I would never have been able to do,” he said. “Hotels are a dynamic part of the community, and it’s important for them to support these arts and cultural organizations.”

In his managerial role with hotel, Pirrallo has helped to sponsor organizations such as the Colorado Music Festival, Boulder Philharmonic, Boulder Ballet and the Boulder Shakespeare Festival.

Pirrallo also teaches strategic management at Johnson and Wales College and is a helicopter flight instructor at Rotors of the Rockies.

He and his wife, Sarah, live in Lafayette. They have two children.

Still time to make your reservation!

Don’t miss your chance to see the new home of the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame and attend the 15th annual induction luncheon Thursday, May 3.

Reserved seating is still available, but reservations must be made immediately.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame luncheon, 11:30 a.m., at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, are $50 and $500 for a corporate table. The Hall of Fame recently moved to the Radisson, which now displays plaques of all past inductees in a redesigned area of its conference facilities.

The Hall of Fame is expecting its largest luncheon attendance ever this year and is a great business networking event.

Reserve your seats today by contacting Wendy Kling at 303-682-4467 or by e-mail to wkling@prattland.com. Complete reservation information is online at the Hall of Fame’s new Web site at www.halloffamebiz.com.

The Boulder County Business Hall of Fame has chosen six inductees for 2007. These inductees, all members of the Boulder County business community, have exemplified more than just good business skills.

They have set themselves apart as leaders in their communities by showing courage, commitment and a passion for generosity. Quick to give credit to those who have mentored them, they have served as mentors for their families, colleagues and the entire community. Through this mentoring, they have fostered and nurtured a new generation of business and civic leaders, as well as a new generation of givers and philanthropists.

This year’s inductees…

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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