There’s a whole lot of passion wrapped up in Wynne Odell. Passion for Odell Brewing Co., the business she started with husband Doug and his sister Corkie (which just so happens to be the second oldest craft brewery in the state of Colorado). Passion for the environment. Passion for local nonprofits that positively impact Northern Colorado. And passion for the economic health of the Fort Collins community—with a special focus on downtown.
Odell’s passion is based on people-first values and philosophies. In fact, Odell’s vision statement sums it up: “Our values help us to support and celebrate what’s most important to us – our beer and our people -– and our beer and our people then work together to create value for our customers.”
Odell, 55, is being honored as a 2013 Woman of Distinction for her business success. What’s the biggest takeaway Wynne’s received over the years of owning a successful small business? “The fundamental factor in the success of any business is the people who choose to work with you.” When the business started in 1989, Wynne’s focus was on the bottom line, growth and the customer base: all very important components to sustainability, “…and now, as we’ve gotten more mature as a company, and me as an individual, I’ve recognized that, fundamentally, everything comes back to the folks that work here,” she said. The three Odells invest time, energy and resources in their employees, resulting in “a beautiful, collaborative culture that is exciting for all of us.”
Odell Brewing Co. made the commitment to running an environmentally conscious business from the get-go. Sustainability is something they’ve always believed in. As a manufacturing business, the brewery uses more resources than many other businesses but that heavy resource use also gives them a bigger opportunity to make a difference. Odell’s has goals built around water, energy and material use, working always to minimize its impact on the environment. They discovered that minimizing their resource use saves the company a lot of money, which gives going green a whole new meaning.
For some, being the owner of a key economic driver in Northern Colorado would be enough. But not for Odell. Her reach extends beyond the taproom, deep into the community. She’s served as board chair of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, as well as the Downtown Development Authority in Fort Collins—devoting more than ten years to each organization.
The big picture views of both organizations are what she appreciates and loves most about them. For Odell, it’s brainstorming a future that will positively impact the entire region and then working with the city, nonprofits and businesses to fit the puzzle pieces together so it’s beneficial for everyone.
“I love working this way,” said Wynne. “I love the big, blank slate of opportunities and then being creative about how to best identify what needs to be accomplished and how to go about accomplishing those goals. It’s so rewarding and so satisfying.”