December 2, 2022

Wood: Preserving a legacy

Four decades have passed since Suzanne “Zan” Gripman — now Suzanne Pletcher — founded the Boulder New Business Report, which quickly became the Boulder Business Report, then the Boulder County Business Report.

At first, Zan featured listings of new businesses in the area, but she quickly began including columns, news and features, transforming the publication into a must-read for Boulder County business leaders.

In 2014, BCBR and the Northern Colorado Business Report — covering Larimer and Weld counties — merged to become BizWest.

As we look back on the past four decades, it’s hard not to revisit a quote from Zan in the very first issue of the publication back in 1982. (We featured this quote at the 35th anniversary, and it still rings true today.)

“As many readers probably already know, Boulder County is a spawning ground for a diverse group of entrepreneurs,” Gripman wrote in an introductory message to readers. “Every month, according to the County Clerk and Recorder, at least 75 businesses open their doors. Many are offshoots of the electronics, investment and energy businesses flourishing in the area, and some are based on new and unusual ideas whose time may or may not have come.”

Those trends have only accelerated over time, as the area became a mecca for data storage, natural and organic products, the outdoor industry, software, aerospace, life sciences and, now, quantum computing.

The legacy that Gripman started was carried on first by Fred Ayers and Rhett Speer, then by Jerry W. Lewis and Jeff Schott. Today, my partner, Jeff Nuttall, and I strive to carry on the tradition of excellence set by our predecessors.

While BizWest continues with a solid print edition, digital offerings constitute an increasing part of our business — with multiple websites — providing breaking business news on a daily basis, as well as in-depth features. (We recently launched mobile apps for iPhone and Android as well.)

But key to covering this dynamic economy is an understanding of the history of this region, and the individuals who have driven its innovation ecosystem.

This issue of BizWest includes a look back at the economy of Boulder and Broomfield counties over the past 40 years. We also include a sampling — yes, just a sampling — of the business leaders who our editorial team felt were iconic in their impact.

Our Icons feature includes individuals, both living and dead, who have created real impact on the economy overall, or their particular industries. We intentionally kept the list to 40, an extremely difficult endeavor. (We easily could have created a list of 80 Icons.)

But they do constitute some of the ingredients that have blended to become the Boulder Valley’s innovation economy, and they inspire us to keep telling their stories.

See related stories:

BizWest celebrates 40 years covering business and recognizes 40 iconic leaders who inspired the region’s development.

‘Turnpike’ helps define how economy has changed

40th Anniversary supplement

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942 or

Christopher Wood

Editor and Publisher, BizWest Media

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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