Law

Lessons from Queen’s Bench Courtroom Number Seven

Leon Uris was a prolific author, known for his focus on dramatic moments in contemporary history, including World War II and the Cold War. His best-selling, entertaining, and imaginative novel Exodus (1958) has been translated into over fifty languages and has helped shape our collective understanding of the birth of modern Israel. His novel also, rather unintentionally, gave rise to the seminal defamation case Dering v. Uris, which took place in London in 1964.

The defamation case was born from a throwaway line contained in the backstory of one of the main characters in Exodus, Holocaust survivor Dov Landau:

Here in block X, Dr. Wirths used women as guinea pigs and Dr. Schumann sterilized by castration and X-ray and Clauberg removed ovaries and Dr. Dehring [sic] performed 17,000 experiments in surgery without anesthetics.

After Dr. Wladislaw Dering read this passage, he sued Leon Uris, the publisher, and the printer for defamation. While Dr. Dering admitted that he had performed unspeakable operations on Holocaust victims in Auschwitz during World War II, he argued that he had performed nowhere near 17,000 and that he never did so without anesthetic.

At the end of the closely followed and highly politicized trial, the jury found for Dr. Dering, awarding him “the smallest coin of the realm,” or one-half penny, in damages.

The court later assessed $30,000 pounds against Dr. Dering for the costs of the trial. Leon Uris was so fascinated by his experience that he novelized it in the best-selling novel QB VII or Queen’s Bench Courtroom Number Seven. The media coverage and subsequent novelization of Dering v. Uris cemented Dr. Dering’s infamous reputation as a Nazi sympathizer and war criminal, which was exactly the outcome that Dr. Dering wanted to avoid.

Our courts have produced similar outcomes. Here, if a defendant is found liable, but there are no damages arising from that liability, the court will generally instruct the jury to award “Nominal Damages”, in the amount of one dollar, to the plaintiff.

The lesson? When considering whether to file a claim, both liability and damages must be taken into account to avoid having a similar tale unfold in your courtroom.

Nate Wallshein
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700
nwallshein@nocoattorneys.com • www.nocoattorneys.com


Health Care

Columbine Medical Equipment Lymphedema and Mastectomy Program

Columbine Medical Equipment has been providing Lymphedema, Mastectomy and Compression fitting to the community since 2007. The program offers an Occupational Therapist who is; a Certified Lymphedema Fitter specializing in custom garments, a Certified Mastectomy Fitter who specializes in breast lymphedema, and a Certified Compression Fitter. The program is currently partnering with over 20 community agencies.

Recently Columbine Medical Equipment (CME) has added an additional fitting room to assist with the growing demand and to ensure timely and convenient scheduled appointments.  CME provides personalized consultations and fittings to determine individual needs for mastectomy clients and those requiring compression and/or lymphedema care. Ongoing support and problem solving is provided as needs change.   

We have found that there is a growing need for these services in the community as our community partners range from southern Wyoming to Northern Colorado. With the limited amount of certified fitters in Northern Colorado, Columbine Medical Equipment is at the ready to assist those clients as the need for this service increases.

We stock many styles of mastectomy bras and prostheses.  We have a good selection of swimwear as well.  We work with a wide variety of vendors for both mastectomy products and compression garments. CME is in-network with most major insurance companies and has the ability to assist the client with submitting claims to insurance.

Along with the Lymphedema and Mastectomy Program, Columbine Medical Equipment provides an expansive variety of home medical supplies such as; bathroom safety, urological supplies, mobility equipment and CPAP supplies.  Our retail locations are in Fort Collins and in Windsor.  In addition to the supplies stocked in the stores, we have contracts with many vendors to ensure customers obtain the supplies they need for safe and healthy living.

Columbine Medical Equipment is your one stop shop!

Clinton Dale
General Manager
Columbine Medical Equipment
802 W Drake Road, Suite 123
Fort Collins, CO, 80526
970-221-1453


Technology

7 Reasons to Outsource Your IT Function

The IT Outsourcing Statistics 2017/2018 study from Computer Economics found that organizations are committing to outsourcing IT at the highest rate since the Great Recession.  So why the move to outsource IT, and what are the benefits driving this trend?

1. Reduce Costs

Cutting and controlling costs is one of the most common reasons businesses choose to outsource. Utilizing an outside technology partner can help you cut capital costs.  More importantly, outsourcing will often reduce labor costs since you don’t employ, hire or train the IT employees.

2. Reduce Risk

Markets, technology, compliance and regulatory requirements change rapidly, and there’s high risk involved in managing this internally.  A trusted IT services partner can assume and manage much of the risk associated with today’s technology environment.  An outsourced expert will have the knowledge to make informed decisions, provide your business with proper technologies, and ensure risk is reduced.

3. Scalability

Instead of wasting time and money on experimenting, you can leverage an efficient service.  Outsourcing might make sense when you’re considering expansion, and IT operations cannot keep up with the pace of growth.

4. Access to the Latest Technology

Software and hardware rapidly become obsolete.  Outsourcing gives you the benefit of leveraging the technology and tools of the IT service provider that you would otherwise spend thousands of dollars to acquire.   

5. Access to Talent

The value received in exchange for dollars invested in IT is often higher when you outsource to an IT services firm.  Instead of the knowledge of individual employees, you benefit from the collective experience of a team of professionals.  Leading IT service providers require their staff to have proper industry training and certifications.

6. Efficiency and Focus

Businesses should consider outsourcing what is not a core competency of the company.  Organizations can enhance their IT service by outsourcing to an IT services firm. This allows them to put more focus on their business and keep their best people working on high impact initiatives.

7. Increased Employee Morale

Handled properly, outsourcing IT can increase employee morale. Offloading IT work lets employees focus on the jobs they were hired to do, while more reliable systems enable them to get more done.

Connecting Point specializes in assessing the potential benefits of outsourcing the IT function.  Please contact us at 970-356-7224 to discuss the benefits for your company.

Andy Warner
Business Consultant
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 356-7224 Main line
(970) 395-9823 Direct line
awarner@cpcolorado.com | www.cpcolorado.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

The New Colorado Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Effective September 1, 2018

Colorado enacted a sweeping new data security law that will impact businesses. The Data Security Law (HB 18-1128) imposes several requirements on companies that maintain the personal information of Colorado residents. Specifically, the data security law establishes new obligations regarding: (1) data breach response; (2) the protection of certain types of personal information; and (3) the disposal of certain types of personal information.

There are no exemptions for type or size of business. The new law demands that organizations maintain reasonable procedures and practices to ensure their client/employee data is safe. If you are not using best commercial practices it will be hard to defend your actions if you end up in court.

As payroll specialists, we recommend our clients use caution to protect their employees’ personal information. Here are some things that should be addressed:

How long do you keep employee data?  Where do you store it?  How do you dispose of it?

How do you provide your payroll company with new hire paperwork? Personal information sent as an attachment to an email is vunerable to identity theft.  Have you ever been guilty of doing that?

Be sure part of your plan includes ongoing security training for your staff.

If you use your cell phone for work email, be sure your cell phone is encrypted so if it is misplaced your emails are safe.

At Payroll Vault, we provide our clients with online portals where payroll data is securely exchanged and saved to protect employees’ sensitive information. We also provide portals for employees to view their paystubs, and W2s, which is much more secure than handing out paper checks that sit at work stations and invite peaking! Please call us if you would like to learn more.

Carol McElwain
970.682.6603
carol.mcelwain@payrollvault.com
375 E Horsetooth Rd #2‐101
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Energy Savings

Why WW Reynolds Joined Utilities’ Building Energy Scoring Program

We became involved in Energy Star® when one of our tenants was going through an energy certification process and wanted to begin benchmarking. They invited me to a meeting on benchmarking and I found it interesting and wanted to learn more about the process and how I might be able to operate our properties more efficiently.

Our largest client owns the building in which the tenant has its business. I was very interested in looking at capital improvement projects. In order to make those changes, I needed to understand what type of opportunities were available that could help me gain knowledge about energy, sustainability and benchmarking. I met with a few different folks from the City and, after meeting with Kirk Longstein, he invited me to be part of the Building Energy Scoring (BES) group. 

There were several reasons I felt this was important. As a property manager, it’s important that we keep the property competitive in a leasing market. This means we must control all expenses, not only base rents, but also operating costs of the facilities.  In our market, we typically use a triple net (NNN) formatted lease rate whereby the base rental rate and then all operating costs of the building are passed through to the tenants. Some of those costs are controllable and some are not. Although we can’t set our utility rates, we can influence and make decisions for efficiencies in the building systems.

Because the owner isn’t paying those expenses, it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. We have a responsibility to educate owners about the need to invest in their building efficiency so they remain competitive, and attract and retain quality tenants. 

I started with the BES group last fall and shortly began benchmarking for our properties at that time, so we’ve just begun to look at possible changes. As we move in to 2019, I’ll have a better idea of where I will recommend owners spend their money on efficiency upgrades, including lighting changes going to LED or integrating new HVAC equipment. There are also rebates that we can take advantage of with efficiency upgrades and I’ve learned a lot about what’s available for financial incentives and technical assistance.

The BES offers so much potential in terms of staying competitive as well as being a good steward of our energy. 

For more information on Fort Collins Utilities’ Building Energy Scoring Program, visit fcgov.com/BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or send an email to klongstein@fcgov.com.

Kirk Longstein
Fort Collins Utilities Environmental Planner
970-416-4325
klongstein@fcgov.com


Insurance

Potential for Hay Fires – Are You Adequately Covered?

Unfortunately, the agricultural industry has a heightened exposure to hay fires this time of year. As we move later into the summer months the temperatures become higher and we see less moisture. The grasses and weeds near farms and ranches begin to die and turn into a major fuel source for a fire. If you have hay or alfalfa stacked on your operations, are you adequately insured? It is recommended that you consult with your insurance agent to ensure you understand critical factors, such as:

-Total limit of hay coverage – What will it cost to replace at the time of loss?

-Stack limit – Some farm policies may limit you.

-What is the minimum distance required between stacks? Some policies require 100 or 200 feet.

-Can you manage your spread of risk by having multiple stacks around your operations; rather than having all of the exposure in a single stack?

If you have questions, please contact our AgriBusiness team at (970)356-0123.

Brian Schiller
Agribusiness Risk Advisor
(970)356-0123
BSchiller@floodpeterson.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Why Business’s Need an Employee Handbook

Whether you have one or 500 employees, having an employee handbook will not only benefit the employee, but the employer as well.

Having a handbook will ensure that every employee gets the same information about the company’s culture, their values, and the rules for the workplace.

Employees will get a better understanding of what is expected of them, and they will know where to turn if they have a problem.

This is also a great place for the company to display the benefits they offer and when the employee is eligible for them.

Having a handbook can also protect an employer. If an employee was to file an unemployment claim with the employer objecting, the employer would need to verify that the employee had been warned they were violating a rule. With a handbook, the employee would have been informed of the rules upon hiring and with proper documentation, the employer has a better chance of prevailing. The same goes if an employee was to file a lawsuit.

After an employer has provided employees with a handbook and reviewed it with them, each employee should then sign an acknowledgement agreement. The employee is signing that they have read the handbook, had someone review it with them, and they have had the opportunity to ask questions about the content. This is the key to ensure defense against any claim from a previous or current employee.

Contact us at (970) 691-8346 or courtney.burke@payrollvault.com to discuss an employee handbook for your business.

Courtney Burke
Payroll Consultant
325 Cherry Street, Suite 110
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521
970-691-8346
courtney.burke@payrollvault.com
www. payrollvault.com


Sponsored Content 875

Columbine Health Systems – We care. We make a difference, it Matters.

When my mother was a resident with Columbine Health Systems, she came out of her shell and blossomed with the help of our talented staff.  Either as a Nurse, Cook, or Housekeeper, our employees make positive connections and alleviate the stress of family or friends who know their loved ones are in good hands.

Columbine offers career opportunities in clinical roles such as: Personal Care Provider, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), LPN, RN, Physical, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Pathology.

We offer a full range of important entry-level to experienced roles such as; Cook, Dietary Aide, Housekeeper, and more.

For employees who work over 24 hrs. + per week, we offer a full range of benefits including; PTO, Health, Vision, Dental, 401K, as well as discounts from our Pharmacy and other community providers.  There are three opportunities for raises your first year of employment…

The best benefit is you work with great people who also want to make a difference!

For job seekers interested in becoming a CNA, we offer Nursing Assistant Training at our Geriatric Education Centre.  Full Time Day classes take only 2 ½ weeks!

We are looking for those who mirror our mission – We Enrich Our Community, We Inspire, and We Care.  No matter the role, our expectation is for employees to have passion for older adults and to put the needs of our customers first.

To apply, please go to our website Columbinehealth.com.  Go to the JOIN OUR TEAM button.  There you will find information about current career openings, our application, and all of our benefits.

There is a good reason why Erica, RN with Columbine West Health & Rehab, said it best, “I felt like I was coming home to Columbine, you all make everyone feel like family.”

Jeff Goody
Recruitment Manager
Columbine Health Systems
802 W. Drake Road, Suite 105
970-492-6230


Insurance

What to consider before your child goes back to college

As the school year approaches, for many young adults this means going back to college. To ensure your college student has a worry-free year, below are a few tips to consider before the school year begins:

· Renters insurance. If your college student is living on campus, their possessions should most likely be covered under the family homeowner’s insurance policy. However, if your child will be living off-campus renters insurance will safeguard their possessions in the event of damage, stolen or loss. Many property managers will require proof of renters insurance in order to finalize a lease.

· Value of personal property. In the age of technology, a student’s personal belongings can be extensive and very expensive. Should items be damaged or stolen, it is important to have well documented value of each item.

· Car insurance. Your child should still be covered under the family automobile policy however; attending an out out-of-state college may change the rate. You will also want to verify that the current auto insurance policy meets the new state’s insurance requirements.

Before your student leaves for college, we recommend speaking with your insurance agent or broker to make them are aware of any changes.

Lynda Mitch, CIC, AAI
Personal Insurance Account Executive
Phone: (970)356-0123
Email: LMitch@floodpeterson.com


Law

Revocable Living Trusts for Second Homes

Many residents of Colorado own real estate in other states.   If you own a condo, townhome or other piece of real estate in such popular destinations as Florida, Arizona or California, you may want to consider holding the property in a Revocable Living Trust located here in Colorado. While many people will not opt for a Living Trust as their preferred estate planning vehicle for various reasons, if you own property in a different state, you should consider forming a Living Trust for the sole purpose of holding the real estate.   The reason is to avoid the necessity of opening a probate proceeding in the different state.

While the Colorado probate system is fairly inexpensive and simple to navigate, other state systems can be more complicated and expensive, not to mention simply the need to hire an attorney and navigate a different state’s system.

When you die, someone must have the authority to sell your real property.  In Colorado, opening a probate proceeding is required to Personal Representative (“P.R.”) being appointed.  The P.R. is issued “Letters Testamentary” which provides them the authority to sell property from your estate.  If you own property in another state, your estate’s P.R. will need to go to Arizona (as an example) and open what is called an “Ancillary Probate” to receive the authority to sell any real property in Arizona.   However, if your Arizona property was owned by a Living Trust you established here in Colorado, your successor Trustee has the authority, without the need of opening a probate, to sell any property in the Living Trust – even in Arizona.  If you already have a Living Trust as your primary estate planning vehicle, just transfer the property into it.  If you do not currently have a Living Trust, but own property in another state, you may want to consider this option to ease administration of your estate after your death.

Tim Brynteson, Esq.
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
970-663-7300
tbrynteson@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Energy Savings

City Efforts Show Marked Improvement through Building Energy Scoring Initiative

The City of Fort Collins has made great strides in energy conservation through efforts that began in 2008. Qualifying City of Fort Collins buildings use benchmarking and energy scores to track improvements and cost-savings over time with the help of ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

In 2012, the City’s Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries Shop received an ENERGY STAR score of 61 out of 100. After upgrading the hot water system, replacing the end-of-life heating, cooling and ventilation units, and automating more building controls, the facility received a score of 80 in 2016.  These new efficiencies resulted in a reduction of more than $16,000 in annual utility costs.

Even better news came in spring 2017, as the score improved to its current rating of 87 out of 100. These gains came from making high-efficiency choices, tracking the progress with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and leveraging Fort Collins Utilities’ energy-efficiency rebates. As an added bonus, employees have said their work spaces are more comfortable.

With the ENERGY STAR benchmarking tool, the City of Fort Collins is able to meet its energy efficiency and Climate Action Plan goals, reduce energy costs and improve the indoor environmental quality of City-owned facilities. However, the advantages go beyond energy performance, as benchmarking through ENERGY STAR also considers indoor air quality, lighting, building comfort and reduced utility costs. The Portfolio Manager tool also provides a baseline that shows how City buildings compare nationwide and offers a variety of efficiency opportunities, including no- and low-cost options that can maximize a building’s overall performance.

Fort Collins Utilities offers the same opportunities the Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries Shop successfully used to guide local businesses through its Building Energy Scoring (BES) Initiative. BES supports building performance by establishing a score, benchmarking to similar buildings, and tracking results of improvement projects and efficiency upgrades over time. Businesses, regardless of size, can use benchmarking to understand their buildings’ energy use and track and identify opportunities to reduce energy-related costs. 

All of a building’s attributes, such as size, use, number of people, number of computers, and others, are entered into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The building then receives a score ranging from one to 100, with the highest performing building at 100. A building that scores above 75 can apply for ENERGY STAR certification by using a third-party engineer. ENERGY STAR reviews and approves the application. When the application is approved, businesses earn the prestigious ENERGY STAR Label with recognition and public relations options.

Learn how your business can get started with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (energystar.gov/benchmark) or with a free facility assessment from Fort Collins Utilities (fcgov.com/facility-assessment). Businesses can also learn about other efficiency programs, financial incentives, technical assistance, training and educational opportunities available from Fort Collins Utilities (fcgov.com/business-efficiency).

Fort Collins Utilities would like your feedback on its BES initiative. Please take the survey at fcgov.com/ BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or send an email to klongstein@fcgov.com.

Kirk Longstein
Fort Collins Utilities Environmental Planner
970-416-4325
klongstein@fcgov.com


Technology

Is your business prepared for a Cyber-Security Attack?

The reality of our marketplace today is that all businesses must understand the risks/consequences of cybersecurity attacks.  Protecting an organization’s data used to be more about recovering from a physical disaster (flood/fire/tornado or internal challenges like malicious behavior/technology failures/end-user errors).  And while this process is critical, the technology to prevent and recover from those challenges is better than ever and is more of a standard expectation for business leaders and IT professionals.

The growing challenge is dealing with the constant and complex risk of cyber-security attacks.  The risk of an attack has increased 60% over the last 12 months.  Cyber-threats carry operational and financial risk, and while headlines focus on the attacks of larger organizations, 1/3 of attacks are directed at business with less than 250 employees.  As a small business owner, it’s a costly error to believe your business is a less relevant target.  The reality is that all data is important to somebody and your network is never 100% secure.  Smaller organizations are easier targets as their policies and procedures to prevent/recover from these attacks are less robust.

However, there are some foundational steps that every business should take to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.  Each step involves additional planning and discussion:

1. Implementation of IT standards and best practices

  • Routine network maintenance (security patching/updates for servers/applications/end user devices)
  • Robust IT security services (firewalling/antivirus/email security/password management, data encryption services/multi-factor authentication services/etc.)
  • Data protection/backup (automated local/offsite backups, routine testing of backups and restore capabilities)

2. Employee Education & Training

  • Create a process for helping your employees understand the risk of cyber-security attacks and their role in mitigating that risk.

3. Disaster Recovery/Cyber-Attack Planning

  • Developing a Disaster Recovery plan is an important process and with the increasing threat of cyber-security attacks, recovering from a cyber-attack needs to be a specific part of your planning process.

4. Cyber-Security Insurance

  • Knowing that most organizations will experience some level of cyber-security attack, the process of risk mitigation includes the implementation of cyber-security insurance.  Speak with a trusted advisor or industry expert about the components of a Cyber-Security policy.

Work through these steps to reduce the risk associated with cyber-attacks and better protect your business, employees and customers.

If you feel you need help in these areas, Connecting Point can help assess and evaluate your business.

Scott M. Warner
Vice President, Sales - Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
970-395-2317 – direct line
970-356-7224
Scott.Warner@CPcolorado.com


Law

Transfer on Death Provisions

What happens to a member’s membership interest in a limited liability company (LLC) upon his death? Generally, a death should be treated as nothing more than a transfer of interests between the deceased member and the person who is that member’s rightful heir. But what about any restrictions on transfer spelled out in the Operating Agreement? There is case law that holds that the express language in contracts (here, the Operating Agreement) addressing the disposition of the membership interest trumps contrary language in a testamentary instrument, such as a will or trust.

And what if the LLC is a single-member LLC and that sole member dies? When the decedent operates a viable business in a single-member LLC, significant value can be lost to the estate if the LLC is dissolved upon the death of the member. If there is no provision within the single-member LLC’s Operating Agreement for the transfer of ownership to someone else, the LLC can become an asset of the decedent’s estate. As such, it may encounter tax and probate problems. The LLC may be divided among family members, dissolved, or even sold off to people the decedent did not choose.

Consider the use of and effect of a Transfer on Death (TOD) registration of the LLC interest under the Uniform TOD Security Registration Act. Arguably, this can be used to name a TOD beneficiary of the LLC interest within the Operating Agreement. Although the TOD designation may be a powerful estate planning tool for the members, it may be difficult procedurally for the remaining members when a member passes away. It is important for the members to discuss whether they want to allow TOD designations when the Operating Agreement is being drafted and then to work with an experienced business lawyer who can help ensure that any TOD designations for the membership interests are recognized.

Brandy Natalzia
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO 80538
970-663-7300
bnatalzia@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Thought Leaders

Front Range Geriatric Medicine

The Greatest Generation has been into their senior years for some time.  Baby Boomers are now eyeing their entrance into this new chapter of life.  Our senior years represent a major life change.  But just as these two generations chose to actively transform their lives, we fully expect they will not settle for living their older years lying down.  We are seeing and expect to see these industrious seniors transform what it means to get older.

At Front Range Geriatric Medicine, we believe life does not close down during our senior years.  Far from it.  We believe the late years of life will continue to provide activity, entertainment, fulfillment, fun, and happiness.  But underpinning all of those is health.

Drs. Rebecca Jackson and Faraz Naqvi, along with our team of; nurse practitioners, nurses, therapists, and mental health professionals have a singular mission:  to provide the best healthcare available to the senior population so they can worry less about their health and focus more on their lives.  Senior medical care is all we do.  And we love it!

Currently, Front Range Geriatric Medicine focuses primarily on those who either find themselves temporarily away from their homes for rehabilitation, or those who have moved to a new home providing more accessible care and assistance.  These transition points in medical care can be challenging.  We have found close management and oversight helps to safely spirit our patients through these times allowing them to get back to living life as they want.  Our attention to the cutting edge medical protocols and use of the latest technologies helps to offer care to our patients considered the best available.

At Front Range Geriatric Medicine we realize that seniors want to live fulfilling lives on their own terms.  It is our job to make sure this happens.

Dr. Faraz Naqvi
Physician and Co-Founder
Front Range Geriatric Medicine
www.frgeriatrics.com
970-449-5112


Insurance

Small Business Insurance – why investing in commercial insurance is essential

Whether you are a startup or an established business, your business faces potential risks every day.

These risks differ greatly from one industry to another and can often change due to revised regulations.

It is important to ensure your business is properly protected when and if disaster strikes.

Insurance can be complicated. To make the insurance buying process easier, partner with an insurance broker or agent who specializes in commercial insurance. This should be a longer-term relationship with an insurance professional who you trust as your partner and advisor.

When partnering with an insurance broker or agent, the following insurance coverages are recommended to be included in your discussion:

• General Liability

• Property Insurance

• Workers’ Compensation

• Errors and Omissions

• Automobile

• Directors and Officers

• Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

• Disability and Health Insurance

Jamie May
Risk Advisor
(970)266-8710
JMay@floodpeterson.com


Energy Savings

Why Brinkman chose the Building Energy Scoring program

We became involved in the Building Energy Scoring (BES) some time ago. I attended a Fort Collins Utilities workshop where Kirk Longstein did a presentation. Kirk walked us through all the ways property owners and property managers can learn about a building and understand how to improve overall water, gas and electric usages. We brought the information back to our executive team and they agreed to have us do more research into the program.

We signed up for the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® and it’s really been fun and informative using the system. I joined the BES working group to gain information on the initiative, and I always leave the meetings thinking we are going to change the world. While that seems like an overstatement, we can make an impact by helping our buildings perform more efficiently.

The BES initiative has allowed us to give feedback on the front end to our development and construction teams.  For existing buildings, we can benchmark how they are performing. One example is a 10-year-old building we’ve owned for five years. Through scoring and benchmarking, we could see how the building performed before we owned it and register how it is performing now with our changes and adjustments. Even a small adjustment to HVAC settings within a building can mean thousands of dollars in savings annually for the property.

This is not just savings for property owners but also for the tenants within the buildings. Understanding these kinds of changes can also help us recommend upgrades to the building systems. Fort Collins Utilities also helps with various incentive programs that show us and our owners what their return on investment can be with different upgrades.

Benchmarking helped in Brinkman’s certification as a B Corp company. To become a B Corp, companies must receive a minimum score for social and environmental performance and show how they have impacted the environment, the community and their employees. Periodically, B Corp companies need to apply for recertification, showing that not only have they continued their initiatives and programs but show how those initiatives and programs have advanced. One of the reasons Brinkman was certified as a B Corp came because of the use of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Additionally, benchmarking enables us to focus on best practices when it comes to managing our properties. This provides us with knowledge about what is happening in the sustainability and energy industries. It also gives us a competitive edge in our industry because we are able to provide services to our clients and tenants that other firms may not be able to provide. I would highly encourage anyone to use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Kirk Longstein – Fort Collins Utilities Environmental Planner

Fort Collins Utilities would like your feedback on our BES initiative. Please take our survey at fcgov.com/BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or email klongstein@fcgov.com.

Huston Hoffman
Brinkman Senior Property Manager
Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)


Technology

2018 Cyber Threat Report

As a managed IT services and solutions provider, it is critical that we align ourselves with the best vendors in the industry to deliver the level of service our clients trust us to deliver every single day. SonicWall is one of the most trusted names in IT security. They have been fighting the cyber-criminal industry for over 26 years defending small and medium-size businesses and enterprises worldwide. Recently, Sonicwall published their 2018 Cyber Threat Report. The annual threat report frames, compares, and contrasts advances made by both cybersecurity professionals and global cybercriminals. They recorded an alarming and eye opening 9.32 billion malware attacks in 2017 and 12,500 new common vulnerabilities and exposures and make several very interesting observations through their research.

Cyber-attacks are becoming the No. 1 risk to business, brands, operations, and financials.

“The risks to business, privacy and related data grows by the day — so much so that cybersecurity is outranking some of the more traditional business risks and concerns,” said Sonicwall CEO Bill Conner. Here are some interesting takeaways from the report:

•9.32 billion total malware attacks in 2017, an 18.4 percent year-over-year increase from 2016

•Ransomware attacks dropped from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017

•Ransomware variants; however, increased 101.2 percent

•Traffic encrypted by SSL/TLS standards increased 24 percent, representing 68 percent of total traffic

•Without SSL decryption capabilities in place, the average organization will see almost 900 attacks per year hidden by SSL/TLS encryption

•SonicWall identifies almost 500 new previously unknown malicious files each day

The 71.2% drop from 2016 to 2017 in overall ransomware attacks indicates that security focused providers and vendors were effective at rolling out solutions to mitigate overall exposure to those types of attacks such as WannaCry, Petya, and Bad Rabbit. While the total volume of ransomware attacks was down significantly year over year, the number of ransomware variants created continues an upward trend since 2015. The variant increase, coupled with the associated volume of 184 million attacks, leaves ransomware a prevalent threat. The increase in attacks and threats is also expanding to other areas of technology including encrypted traffic, Microsoft Edge browser, and hardware chip processors. This shows that attackers are becoming more sophisticated and the threat to all businesses is increasing at an alarming rate.

At Connecting Point, we’ve come to believe that an IT strategy must align with a layered security approach; meaning you must have security around the network, your users, your devices, your data, and your processes as an organization. If you’d like to discuss how Connecting Point can protect your organization against Cyber Security threats, contact us.

Jesse Rosales
Director of Managed Services
Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO  80634
(970) 356-7224   Main line
(970) 395-2320   Direct line
jrosales@cpcolorado.com | www.cpcolorado.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Certified Payroll Reports Are Complicated

If your company has been awarded a contract for a federally funded project, you must pay your workers at least prevailing wages (including fringe benefits) according to the Davis-Bacon Act.

You will be required to pay your employees weekly and submit a weekly statement with respect to the wages paid each employee during the preceding week (called a certified payroll report).

Inability to produce and submit these reports could result in hefty fines and penalties and incorrect reporting could be grounds for contract termination and debarment from future contracts for up to three years.

Completing a certified payroll report manually isn’t impossible, but it can be time-consuming.

The Department of Labor says it takes the average company one hour to complete a certified payroll report: it can take much longer if you are employing a large staff.  You’ll need to provide very specific detailed information about the payroll on WH-347 forms.

This is where Payroll Vault can step in and provide a solution as your payroll processor. Our experienced staff will complete the certified payroll reports for you.

Many payroll processors will not provide certified payroll reports, but this is how we stand out from our competition.

Contact us at (970) 682-6603 or payroll101@payrollvault.com if you are looking for a payroll processor to provide certified payroll reports.

Melissa Clary, CPA & Franchisee Owner
970.682.6603
Payroll101@payrollvault.com
375 E Horsetooth Road #2-101
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Law

Brokering Equality

33.8%.  This is the pay gap between male and female commercial real estate brokers according to a 2015 CREW Network Benchmark Study. That means, in dollars, a female broker earns $67,500 less per year than her male counterparts. The pay gap widens at the C-suite level, where the percentage of women has fallen from 10%-15% over the last 10 years.  These disparities exist across industries.  32% of trial lawyers are women, and just 24% of those women serve as lead counsel according to a 2015 American Bar Association study. Women make up just 17% of equity partners in law firms.     

Some have attributed these disparities to women being less likely to ask for a raise or a promotion. Recent studies reveal this assumption is unfounded. In September 2016, researchers at London’s Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin found that women ask as often as men, but get what they want 25% less often.

What can be done to close this gap? It starts with mentoring and sponsorship. Women report the lack of a mentor/sponsor as the number one barrier to their success.  It only takes one good mentor to change the course of a person’s career.  If you are in the industry and know a promising woman in your profession, encourage her to seek advancement.  Educate her on compensation levels, opportunities, and networking.  Make mentorship/sponsorship a priority.  If you are in a leadership position, be honest about your gender bias.  Speak up when you see biases or unfair treatment.  Use independent assessment tools.  Sometimes the simplest steps make a big difference; such as interviewing a woman for every position or project. Finally, help spread the word.  Knowledge is power, as they say.  Shine a light on the problem and see what solutions appear. 

Jennifer Peters
jpeters@nocoattorneys.com
970-330-6700
1812 56th Ave
Greeley, CO 80634


Health Care

Lemay Avenue Health & Rehab Facility

Lemay Avenue Health & Rehab Facility has 130 furnished rooms with large windows, offering bright and cheerful views. The dining rooms overlook the beautifully landscaped courtyards, walking paths, and mountains of the Front Range.

Lemay Avenue specializes in not only short-term, including 10 day rehabilitation stays, but also in Long-Term Care, Memory Care, and Respite stays.

We offer an array of on-site services;  Physicians and Nurse Practitioners  from Front Range Geriatric Medicine, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, Respiratory Therapy, Registered Dietician, 24- hour Nursing, podiatry, dental, eye care, audiology, laboratory and diagnostic tests.   Transportation  is included for off-site physician and specialist appointments.

Residents enjoy our complete dining experience of meals with various options and nutritious snacks.  They take advantage of our multi-use chapel, resident-operated library, private dining rooms, beauty/barber shop, computer rooms and upstairs sports bar.

The professional team at Lemay works together with our residents to develop a plan of care to meet their specific needs.  Our staff is attentive and care deeply about each individual. They recognize the importance of meeting our resident’s physical,  and social and emotional needs. Our creative Activity team provides a variety of life enrichment activities. Each monthly activity calendar is created with resident input and includes everything from coffee and news to musical entertainment, socials, 1:1 activities, and outings.

Whether you are looking for a short term rehab stay or long term facility for yourself, friend, or family member you will be pleased with Lemay Avenue. Our culture is one of caring and accountability. Our team of medical professionals, skilled therapists, and social workers can help with current and future planning, problem solving, and setting appropriate and timely goals. We welcome you at Lemay Avenue because at Columbine- We Care, It Matters.

Jessica Kamenski
Admissions Director
Lemay Avenue Health & Rehab Facility
4824 S. Lemay Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80525
970-482-1584
FAX: 970-482-4134


Insurance

Private Businesses – Risks You Should Know

Business owners have traditionally insured property, equipment, vehicles and liability. With the complexities of today’s world, there are many risks an insurance buyer should evaluate.

In 2017, Chubb North America conducted a study of top risks for private companies in the US.  The study revealed a large percentage of business decision makers are not taking steps to protect themselves against liability risks, potential losses from lawsuits and cyber-crimes.  In many circumstances, such events can take a business owner away from their day-to-day responsibilities of leading their business.

The following is a sample of anticipated top challenges privately held companies will face in the next three years:  attracting & retaining employees (54%), management of expenses (48%), changes in customer needs (47%), increased competition (34%) and government regulations (33%).

The purchase of specific coverages, such as Employment Practices Liability, can assist in addressing and resolving workplace harassment, bullying, retaliation and discrimination claims.  This will further a company’s goal of attracting and retaining quality employees due to a respectful workplace environment.  Director & Officers insurance can protect a business from wrongful actions of executive management and employees that could result in a lawsuit.

Almost every privately held business has exposure to these risks.  It is our recommendation that business owners and decision makers discuss such exposures and coverage options with their insurance broker.

(Source:  Top Risks for Private Companies in the US.  Chubb Private Company Risk Survey)

Jamie May
Risk Advisor
(970)266-8710
JMay@floodpeterson.com


Energy Savings

With the Power of Information, Businesses Can Choose the Lowest-Operating Cost Option

Businesses are discovering that energy-saving efforts are good for the environment and also impact a company’s bottom line.  And, by using Fort Collins Utilities’ Building Energy Scoring (BES) tools to measure a building’s energy performance and verify energy savings, building occupants and facility managers can more precisely gauge the effectiveness of their actions and determine which efficiency upgrades will provide the greatest benefit.

Fort Collins Utilities implemented its BES initiative in 2017 after learning that nearly 600 of the 3,000 existing commercial (non-industrial) buildings account for approximately 53 percent of our community’s energy use and resulting carbon emissions. BES provides a definite benefit for local businesses. By using the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, a free online tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a business can easily obtain an energy score and start tracking its energy use. Benchmarking is the process of regularly monitoring and reporting a building’s energy use. Using a benchmarking tool can improve the overall understanding of a building’s energy-consumption patterns and identifies energy-saving opportunities.

A growing number of U.S. cities have rolled out benchmarking and transparency programs to encourage awareness of utility costs, efficiency upgrades and energy-use transparency. Such programs can help a business manage their bottom line through consistent data collection and tracking.

By seeing a building’s efficiency improvements, utility data and operating expenses, a picture is created that can help potential buyers and renters make informed decisions such as the true operating expense of a leased space and/or return on investment from efficiency upgrades. In fact, energy scoring and benchmarking efforts in peer cities have shown reductions in energy use by an average of 2.4 percent per year and increased lease renewal.

In the real estate community, utilities are not often a consideration when buying or renting a space. By having this information available to businesses, a knowledge-based approach is provided for making decisions. There is often a split incentive between tenants and building owners to make upgrades and this program can bring both sides together by offering a view of the joint benefits in terms of real dollar savings. BES inserts data into the decision-making process and aids long-term vision and planning. No matter the age of the building, Fort Collins Utilities has benefiting  programs designed to help your business improve efficiency. Learn more at fcgov.com/business-efficiency.

The real bottom line? BES not only helps businesses manage their utility costs and demands, it keeps the costs low for the community overall.

We’d like your feedback on our BES initiative. Please take our survey at fcgov.com/BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or email klongstein@fcgov.com.

Kirk Longstein
Fort Collins Utilities Environmental Planner
970-416-4325
klongstein@fcgov.com


Technology

Internet Bandwidth: The Lifeblood for Your Business IT Needs

It seems obvious to tell a business owner that having access to good internet is important, but I’m writing this segment because we run into too many companies that don’t and/or can’t invest properly in this critical business resource.  The reasons are varied but carry similar results.  A deficiency in bandwidth, causes a deficiency in effective utilization of technology.

Like it or not…technology is driving our businesses in similar directions.  For very important reasons, data, applications, licensing, financial information, communications, etc. are moving toward cloud-based platforms (meaning…you must use the internet to get there).  And despite the common (yet mostly uninformed) concerns, cloud-based IT systems are more secure, flexible, scalable, robust and redundant as opposed to technology running in your own office.  Not to mention, the goal of IT (especially for the small business) is to simplify!  So why reinvent the wheel through capital investment in hardware infrastructure, applications, licensing, etc.?

Small business owners should be building a plan (or working with experts to help build a plan) that allows for calculated migration to cloud and web-based platforms.  The challenge of this process is effectively prioritizing the change to maximize value and limit “change-pain”!

But therein lies the challenge.  If your business doesn’t have enough, or the right kind of bandwidth to facilitate these changes, you will be:

•Stuck using legacy premise-based technology and applications.

•You’ll try (or be forced) to migrate to the cloud but experience poor performance/frustration due to lack of bandwidth using cloud-based technologies and lose the value.

So, what to do?

1.It’s important to understand your current bandwidth resources and how they facilitate your current needs.

a.What kind of service do you have (T1/Coaxial/DSL/Fiber/Satellite)?

b.Upload/Download speeds?  Latency? Dedicated or shared?

c.Monthly costs? Redundant Circuit?

NOTE: This is why it’s important to partner with an organization to help you uncover your needs and build a plan if you don’t have a great grasp of how to get this done.

2.You need to understand your available bandwidth options (which can be difficult to find if you are not familiar with the process) and how those can match with your future business and IT needs.

Once you take those two steps, you can build an effective plan which will bring flexibility and scalability to your business and your technology both now and into the future.

Scott M. Warner
Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
970-356-7224
scott.warner@cpcolorado.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Exempt vs Non-Exempt Employees

As a small business employer, do you know when you are or aren’t required to pay an employee overtime pay or minimum wage?  Do you have employees that are ineligible for overtime pay solely based on their job title?

Exempt employees are certain classifications of employees that are exempt from overtime pay and/or minimum wage, and are often considered to be “white collar” workers.  However, the rules for determining an employee’s exempt status can be complex, and are much more involved than just determining if an employee is a white collar or office worker.    

An employee’s job title has very little to do with their status as an exempt or non-exempt employee.  Misclassifying an employee as exempt from overtime and/or minimum wage could leave your small business liable for thousands of dollars in back wages owed or exposed to potential litigation.

The various exempt classifications, qualification tests, and related record-keeping provisions are set by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Colorado state laws.  Within the classifications such as Professional, Executive, and Administrative, certain tests must be met in order for an employee to be classified as Exempt.

Those tests can include job duties, employee’s level of discretionary authority, employee’s supervisory responsibilities, employee’s advanced knowledge in a particular field, etc.

As your payroll specialists, Payroll Vault offers a robust Human Resources service that will help you navigate the complex rules regarding exempt vs. non-exempt employees.  Call us today at 970-353-0170 for information on how we can help you with this critical issue.

Allyson Rodahl, CPP
Operations Manager/President
allyson.rodahl@payrollvault.com
970-353-0170
payrollvault.com
1703 61st Ave, Suite 101
Greeley, CO 80634


Technology

Benefits of Leasing or Renting Your Technology Equipment

he next time you begin to consider acquiring technology equipment such as computers, servers, networking equipment or other items, you will probably be approached with a decision…do I lease or rent (called Hardware as a Service or HaaS) this equipment or should I just purchase it outright?  Let’s focus on some of the benefits of leasing or renting (HaaS) and why it’s a smart idea for today’s business.

• Leasing/Renting allows you to keep your network up to date.  The reality of technology is that it eventually becomes obsolete…with technology especially, your equipment degrades while at the same time the demands on your network increase.  By leasing or renting your equipment, you pass the financial burden of upgrading a network over to the financing company.

• You’ll have a predictable monthly expense. With a lease or a HaaS agreement, you have a predictable monthly payment.  This allows you to turn your IT spending into an operating expense and hold onto your valuable cash.  Utilizing leasing or HaaS will also simplify your budgeting process.   

• You pay nothing up front. Many small businesses struggle with cash flow and must be very careful when evaluating capital investments.  HaaS agreements require zero upfront cash.  In a lease you may be required to put down a security deposit, but it is refundable on the backend of the lease.  The flexibility of these financing tools allows you to preserve your bank lines of credit.

• Leasing/Renting gives you a competitive edge.  Leasing/Renting can allow your business to invest in better technology than you might have otherwise invested in.  This will lead to higher levels of productivity in your business.

• At the end of a lease/HaaS period, you have multiple options. Most leases and HaaS agreements are 36 months.  Your options at the end of the lease/rental period are as follows:

•You can return the equipment with no further obligation

•You can purchase the equipment

•You can continue renting for as long as you desire

As you analyze the ongoing technology needs for your business, it is wise to consider leasing or renting your equipment.  The age-old adage is very true; you purchase items that appreciate and you lease/rent items that depreciate.  Invite the professionals at Connecting Point to consult with your business to help you make informed financing decisions about your technology.

Ted Warner
President, Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
970-356-7224
twarner@cpcolorado.com


Insurance

Peace of Mind While You Travel

Today, more and more people are traveling abroad for business and pleasure.

You can now purchase an insurance policy that provides coverage, services and resources that will enhance your travel security and give you peace of mind.

Policy services include pre-travel tips such as, culture information, current foreign exchange rates and travel advisories and alerts.

The policy also includes emergency medical assistance, evacuation and repatriation, travel assistance, cash advance, location of lost or stolen items, legal assistance and interpretation/translation services.

With this policy in place, you can feel confident that you are safe and protected while you travel. The policy is annual which means there is no need to purchase the coverage for each trip that you take.

The policy protects you and your family throughout the entire year while on travel for business or pleasure; allowing you to travel without worry during a travel crisis.

Contact your insurance agent for more information.

Lynda Mitch
Personal Insurance Account Executive
(970) 356-0123
LMitch@floodpeterson.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Why CPA Firms Dislike Processing Payroll

Last year, a Fort Collins CPA accounting firm concluded that although they loved their business clients, they wanted to transition the payroll processing out of the accounting firm. They decided to outsource that aspect of their business to Payroll Vault.

During a recent conversation, they remarked this was their best tax season and they had a jump on preparing business taxes due to outsourcing payroll. Additionally, like many accounting firms, they were losing money preparing payroll.

As their payrolls became more complex, it required increasingly more of the CPA’s and lead bookkeeper’s time. At the most crucial time of the year, payroll was taking them away from supporting their clients with valuable tax and bookkeeping work.

Payroll Vault was able to provide benefit for the firm’s clients with other services such as pay-as-you-go workers comp, which saved their clients money and was much more convenient. They also offered timesheet upload automation and web-based time keeping. Their clients appreciated having a dedicated payroll professional available to answer their questions and work through issues. In the end, the accounting firm was able to be more responsive to their clients and the clients were happy with the change.

Discuss with your CPA if they are happy doing payroll. Payroll Vault can be a great solution to making things better for businesses and CPAs when it comes to payroll processing. Give me a call and I’m happy to discuss all of our services.

Zane Glover
325 Cherry Street, Suite 110
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521
970-924-1011
www.payrollvault.com


Law

Adverse Possession: Losing the Farm Without Even Knowing It

Did you know that, under Colorado statute, someone can obtain title to your land without paying for it? Under the doctrine of adverse possession, if someone uses your land continuously for 18 years, it may become theirs. This doctrine became famous when a retired judge in Boulder obtained title to part of his neighbor’s property through adverse possession, and a lengthy (and expensive) legal battle ensued.

However, there are actions a landowner can take to prevent this from happening to them. While adverse possession is a concern for all Colorado landowners, it is especially important for those in agriculture, who often have hundreds or even thousands of acres of land. For example, if a neighboring landowner’s fence line is placed somewhere other than the true property line on a ranch, a portion of the ranch could become the neighbor’s property if the fence line stands for 18 years. Those in agriculture should take care to periodically monitor their ground for use by any third party and to put a stop to it.

On the other hand, if you’re buying a farm or ranch, it is also important to have a survey completed to determine the true boundaries of the property. Often, agricultural land is kept in the same family for generations, and a fence line may not reflect the true property line. When someone from outside the family purchases some or a part of that property, a survey may keep you from buying something you did not expect—the defense of an adverse possession claim. A competent attorney can assist those in agriculture, as well as any landowner, in ensuring that they are protected from losing some or all of their real estate to adverse possession.

Lia Szasz
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
lszasz@nocoattorneys.com
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700


Health Care

Care Managers Help Seniors and Their Families

Being a caregiver for an older adult can be challenging.  Knowing how to navigate the health care system is crucial.  This is especially true as health care becomes ever more complex.  A care manager is a trained professional who can assess, advocate, and coordinate a loved one’s care.  Making the complex… simple; is their forte.

A care manager can have several different roles.  They focus on helping their clients and families navigate specific diseases or conditions.  They may help clients with a wide gamut from paying bills, to taking medications, to making doctor appointments. The care manager’s primary role is to help the client and their families navigate care and to have the best information as they make decisions.

Senior care can certainly be confusing.  Whenever possible, the help of a care manager can be vital to the journey.  The care managers’ job is really to facilitate communication and care for the needs of seniors. They are hands on, but also have a wealth of knowledge and experience to rely upon. They are often the missing piece in the care puzzle.

While care managers are a great resource for families, we also recommend a resource guide, Answers on Aging, from the Office on Aging for Larimer County. It outlines care available in the area, including; care facilities, activities for seniors, and support groups for family caregivers. While the guide itself might not be able to give advice and solve specific problems, it provides abundant people and places for seniors and their families to turn for help.

You are not alone.  Caregiving for an older adult is not always easy. There are resources for care and support. The earlier you start looking into those resources, the easier things will be.  A care manager will be your best partner in the journey.

Anna Von Dreele, MSW
Care Manager
Columbine Health Systems
802 W Drake Road, Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80526
(970) 619-0082


Law

Are You The Controlling Type?

If so, and you own property on which tenants engage in certain regulated activities, you should consider consulting a specialist for a little preventive care – legal, not medical.  Controlling the activities of these tenants can draw enforcement against the property owner when the tenants’ operations raise environmental compliance issues, as a recent federal case illustrates.

The case involved a sportfishing group that sued an industrial park owner for Clean Water Act (“CWA”) violations caused by discharges of polluted storm water.  The fact that any pollutants in the storm water were put there by the tenants did not protect the landlord.  The court held that “owners and/or operators who have sufficient control over a facility can be held liable under the CWA even if they do not themselves perform the industrial activities that create the pollutants in the storm water discharge.”  Here, the landlord owned and controlled the storm water drainage system from which the pollutants were released.

Operations requiring storm water permits are not uncommon, and can include transportation, food processing, and recycling businesses, as well as construction activities.  The requirement can also apply to other operations on a case-by-case basis.

Moreover, this potential enforcement trap for landlords goes beyond CWA concerns.  Owners who exert control over their tenants’ waste management practices may also risk enforcement.  In recent years, retail outlets like hardware stores, pharmacies, and even groceries have been targeted by hazardous waste enforcement actions.  This is because many common products like drain cleaners, over-the-counter drugs, and hand sanitizers can be considered hazardous wastes under certain circumstances.

Thus, a tenant’s business may not necessarily raise a red flag.  Landlords should consider how monitoring protocols or proper lease provisions could provide protection from the environmental afflictions of their tenants and save the expense of a pound of cure.

John A. Kolanz
Partner
 Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO  80538
970-663-7300
JKolanz@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Insurance

Potential for Hay Fires – Are You Adequately Covered?

Unfortunately, the agricultural industry has a heightened exposure to hay fires this time of year. As we move later into the summer months the temperatures become higher and we see less moisture. The grasses and weeds near farms and ranches begin to die and turn into a major fuel source for a fire. If you have hay or alfalfa stacked on your operations, are you adequately insured? It is recommended that you consult with your insurance agent to ensure you understand critical factors, such as:

-Total limit of hay coverage – What will it cost to replace at the time of loss?

-Stack limit – Some farm policies may limit you.

-What is the minimum distance required between stacks? Some policies require 100 or 200 feet.

-Can you manage your spread of risk by having multiple stacks around your operations; rather than having all of the exposure in a single stack?

If you have questions, please contact our AgriBusiness team at (970)356-0123.

Brian Schiller
Agribusiness Risk Advisor
(970)356-0123
BSchiller@floodpeterson.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Keep Your UI Rate Low

Did you know that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) requires all employers with at least one employee to carry Unemployment Insurance (UI)?  UI is a state pool funded by employers to pay employees who find themselves in need of financial assistance while between jobs.

Every new business is assigned a beginning rate.  If a business has a low claim history, their reserve pool builds up; however, as claims are awarded their reserves are drawn down. CDLE reviews each business annually and assigns a new rate based their reserves. As an employer’s reserves increase, their premium rate decreases.  If their reserves are depleted, the premium rate increases until reserves are replenished.    

To keep turnover low, thoroughly vet candidates to be sure they are a good fit before they are hired. Train new hires how to do their job well and share the company culture so they understand how they are expected to behave on the job.  Provide an employee handbook stating company policies.  If employees understand expectations, they will be better equipped to do a good job.  If discipline is needed, document the incident, what was discussed, and any action taken.  If the behavior persists and the employee is terminated, CDLE will provide an opportunity for the employer to explain their reasons for dismissal, and good, documented information helps. If the employee’s improper behavior was responsible for the termination, the claim may be denied, leaving the business’ reserves intact and rates low.

Don’t go it alone!  At Payroll Vault we strive to keep our employers compliant in an environment where labor laws are constantly changing. We eliminate fines and penalties by making tax deposits and quarterly filings timely, and serve as trusted payroll experts. We would love the chance to work with you!

Carol McElwain
970.682.6603
carol.mcelwain@payrollvault.com
375 E Horsetooth Rd #2‐101
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Technology

How Big of a Concern Should Cyber Security Be In 2018?

Whether they realize it or not, all businesses have a door to the digital world.  Not every organization conducts business through digital channels, but all operate with technology and processes in the internet era. The looming question for businesses is whether their door to the digital world is secured, left unlocked, or worse yet – swinging open to the outside world.

So how big is the concern?

“The World Economic Forum now rates a large-scale breach of cybersecurity as one of the five most serious risks facing the world today. The scale of the threat is expanding drastically: by 2021, the global cost of cybersecurity breaches will reach US$6 trillion by some estimates, double the total for 2015.”

Most small and medium sized businesses today lack the capability to deal with advanced, targeted assaults and they may not even be aware of attack methods that are emerging.

Without help from a third-party expert (or hiring internal expertise), it is likely that small and medium sized businesses will face these categories of attack at one time or another, and possibly simultaneously.

Are you Prepared?

Most businesses whether small or large do not feel as though they are prepared to face the threats present in the landscape today.  Here are some statistics from EY’s Global Information Security Survey:

•87% – of respondents say they need up to 50% more cybersecurity budget

•77% consider a careless staff member as the most likely source of attack

•48% do not have a Security Operation Center, even though they are becoming increasingly common

•36% of boards have sufficient cybersecurity knowledge for effective oversight of cyber risks

•12% feel is very likely they would detect a sophisticated cyber attack

•63% of organizations keep cybersecurity reporting mostly within the IT function

•57% do not have or only have an informal intelligence program

•89% say their cybersecurity function does not meet their organization’s needs

When You Need Help

At Connecting Point, network management and IT consulting teams believe that a sound IT network security strategy is the cornerstone of great technology support and IT best practices.  We’ve also come to believe that an IT strategy must align with a layered approach; meaning you must have security around the network, your users, your devices, your data and your processes as an organization.

When evaluating your current security strategy, some services that are important to evaluate are:

Firewalling & Security Services

Anti-Virus Software

Email Filtering Services (Backup of Email, Encryption Services, Archiving Services)

Data Backup & Recovery Services

Hard Disk Encryption Software

Password Management Software

Multi-Factor Authentication Software

Mobile Device Management

Employee Security Training & Compliance

If you’d like to discuss how Connecting Point can protect your organization against Cyber Security threats, contact us.

Andy Warner
Business Consultant
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 356-7224 Main line
(970) 395-9823 Direct line
awarner@cpcolorado.com
www.cpcolorado.com


Health Care

New Mercer Commons Memory Care Offers Life to the Fullest

New Mercer Commons offers both assisted living and assisted memory care.   Our memory care provides residents a supportive and save environment where they can continue to thrive and participate in life.

We offer both formal and informal activities for our residents in our memory care units.  Informal activities are everyday interactions which create personal meaning, a sense of community, choices, and fun.  Staff is trained to help residents engage in these spontaneous moments, which can include setting the table or putting up holiday decorations.   

The memory care unit is home-like and includes a beautiful backyard with a walking path and outdoor dining area.  This atmosphere allows residents and staff to be flexible and plan each day according to individual interests.  Staff and residents together have many opportunities for meaningful social interactions each day.

The formal activities we provide are specifically designed to engage those living with dementia.   Residents are able to choose from a variety of brain, body, and spiritual activities.   We also offer therapeutic activities which include pet and music therapy.  Some of our resident favorites from the program are table ball, painting on the patio, and music melodies.

In addition to our regular programs we provide residents on memory care the opportunity to interact with the local community by bringing in outside resources and coordinating excursions. We host elementary students and invite in special guest speakers for our travel series.

We offer a variety of music from talented performers in the area.  Outdoor excursions include scenic van drives to view the changing seasons, holiday lights, or our countryside.   Families are invited and welcome to join us in activities.  Joining together can be a great way to interact and create moments of joy with a loved one.  Our memory care offers many opportunities to live life to the fullest.

Gina Digiallonardo
Administrator
New Mercer Commons
900 Centre Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80525
970-495-1000
www.columbinehealth.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Last year, nearly 27,000 charges of sexual harassment were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This number doesn’t include charges filed with state and local agencies or situations where employees went directly to an attorney.

If litigation ensues, harassment can cost employers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Needless to say, the workplace should be a safe and secure place, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to make it that way. No one can prevent all harassment from happening, but employers can and should do everything in their power to prevent harassment and appropriately respond when it occurs.

A few of the steps the EEOC recommends:

  1. Make an organizational commitment to diversity, inclusion, and respect—and establish policies and procedures to hold people accountable to that commitment.
  2. Establish a sense of urgency and seriousness about prevention by spending appropriate amounts of time and money on training or other prevention and response activities.

Payroll Vault offers subscription HR services that are affordable for businesses. For a low monthly fixed price one has live access to a team of certified HR Pros, along with custom Handbooks, Anti-Harassment Policy Checklist, the Harassment Investigation Guide, and Workplace Harassment Training On-Demand.  Call today to see how we can help you keep your business in compliance.

Zane Glover
325 Cherry Street, Suite 110
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521
970-924-1011
www.payrollvault.com


Health Care

No Home Owner Responsibilities, Take Charge of your Life!

Life’s weekly maintenance responsibilities are demanding; you have been mowing, shoveling snow, completing household repairs, and maintaining exterior upkeep on your home for as long as you can remember. This is your opportunity to eliminate home owner responsibilities, take charge of your life and start living!

How do you get rid of your home owner responsibilities? By leasing a Patio Home located on the campuses of Columbine Health Systems in Windsor or Fort Collins.  Columbine is locally owned and operated and has been since 1971. We are dedicated to enhancing senior care and enriching the lives of active adults in our community.

Beautiful, unique, mid-century modern design homes are move-in ready and located on our Windsor Campus at 14th and Main Street, Westwood Patio Homes. The neighborhood friendly community has 34-units with 5 different models. Each model has a spacious open floor plan with many large windows to amplify the natural light.

The best feature is the walkability and proximity to grocery stores, physician offices, pharmacies, and our Columbine Medical Equipment store.

The Columbine Patio Homes are cozy, natural, craftsman design homes.  They are currently under construction on our Fort Collins Campus at Worthington Circle and Torino Circle. We are excited to announce the entire project will be complete December 2018. This community has 5 different model options and we are pre-leasing these 34-units today!

The annual lease for our patio homes includes; all appliances, window coverings, water, trash, snow removal, lawn care, and maintenance of the patio home itself. Also, being under the umbrella of Columbine provides ease of access to our medical and non-medical home care services.

With so many options you are sure to find your next dream home. For more information visit our website at columbinehealth.com or call
970-460-5000.

Chelsea Ebert
Manager
Westwood & Columbine Patio Homes
970-460-5000
www.columbinehealth.com


Law

What is Probate (and How Can I Avoid It)?

Though a large percentage of Americans go through the probate process (and some will go through it several times), they are often completely unfamiliar with it at first.

Generally, probate is a legal process where a deceased person’s debts are paid off and any remaining assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased person’s will or as dictated by state law if there is no will.

There are 5 general steps of probate, each of which has specific legal requirements that must be followed:

  1. Designate a Personal Representative to implement the probate process. The Personal Representative will usually hire an attorney to help guide them through the process. Both the Personal Representative and the attorney can be reimbursed by estate funds.
  2. File the will with the court, if there is one, and prove its authenticity. If there is no known will, the matter can be filed “intestate,” which means the state laws will decide priority of distribution.
  3. Identify the deceased person’s assets and debts. This often includes appraising any property the deceased person owned and protecting that property. This information then goes to the court in an inventory.
  4. Pay debts and taxes.
  5. Distribute any remaining assets to heirs and beneficiaries, either in accordance with the will or as dictated by state law if there is no will.

The probate process—though necessary for many—can be highly difficult legally as well as financially and emotionally for all involved. The best way to avoid the process is by planning ahead. Provide clear and complete directions to loved ones by creating wills, trusts, and business plans to let them know exactly how things should go after you pass.

Brynne Gant
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
1812 56th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700
bgant@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Insurance

Farm Liability – Are you covered?

Farm equipment is one of a farmer’s largest investments. Sometimes the largest. That is what makes farm tractor insurance and other insurance so important to their operation.

As equipment prices increase, many farmers are looking for options to help recover those costs.  We see more and more clients extending their operations to include activities like custom harvesting and hauling for others.  Custom harvesting or custom combining is the business of harvesting of crops for another farm. What many farm owners do not realize, is that these operations likely are not covered by their current farm insurance package.

Most farm insurance companies base their policies on one of two “template” contracts, each written by a different rating and information organization.  What both of these organizations have in common is that custom farming and businesses other than farming are excluded from liability coverage.

Liability coverage is any insurance policy that protects an individual or business from the risk that they may be sued and held legally responsible for something such as malpractice, injury or negligence.

Understandably, farmers are often surprised to find out that while they were performing custom work on another’s field, bodily injury or property damage arising from their activities would not be covered by their insurance company.

Be sure to discuss all sources of income on your farm with your insurance agent, and pay close attention to exclusions in your policy that might affect your operation.

Tim Rennau
Agribusiness Risk Advisor
(970) 356-0123
TRennau@floodpeterson.com


Insurance

The Importance of a Personal Umbrella Policy

Distractions while driving can occur everyday and seem to be everywhere; this can include text messages, phone calls, a quick meal on the road, all of which interrupts a driver’s attention.

Have you thought, “What would happen if a distracted driver caused a serious accident?  Would their insurance be enough to cover all damages and injuries?”  The answer is more than likely “no.”

Obtaining additional coverage for accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorist has become crucial.  Excess Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) Motorist coverage is available as part of a Personal Umbrella Policy.  Umbrella Liability provides protection from civil suits as a result of your actions.

The Excess UM coverage provides coverage for you and members of your household, if the other party is at fault and does not have enough liability coverage to pay for injuries and damages.  UM coverage also provides coverage for you as a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Lynda Mitch
Personal Insurance Account Executive
(970) 356-0123
LMitch@floodpeterson.com


Law

Work/Family Boundaries: Your Attorney Can Help

As a litigator in a business law firm, I have seen the best and worst of family businesses. When they work, they work great, for intuitive reasons: family know and trust each other, they share values, they want to maintain a generational tradition. But when they sour, they are horrible. Family business dissolutions are like divorces: parties supposedly fighting over fair asset division are really fighting over hurt feelings and deeper family conflicts.

This Forbes article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/03/08/how-family-businesses-can-set-workfamily-boundaries/#13f6abc62a80 is worth reading. The authors do not, however, mention that legal advice is essential too.

During formation, your attorney will consider things you might not. For instance, you may not think that a sibling, spouse, or child might leave the business, because of new interests, divorce, or an untimely death. Does your business have a buyout provision that lets someone separate without crippling the business? Is your agreement fair to the heirs of a deceased partner? Your attorney can help you make conscious decisions about these issues, instead of leaving them to spring up during a crisis. Hopefully, this makes litigation less likely.

When things are falling apart, however, you should consult a litigator early. A litigator such as myself would give you a sense how much litigation can cost and your likelihood of prevailing, but more importantly would help you think about your case dispassionately. Family members may try to “guilt-trip” you into an unfair settlement, or you might be taking an untenable stance motivated by non-business considerations. Regardless, your litigator’s goal should be to help you stop and think, Is this really what you want to do?

Ultimately, whether you want to pursue settlement or a full lawsuit, your litigator’s job is to help you carry out your decision. But that decision should be your informed decision, not an unfortunate gut reaction.

Christian J. Schulte
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
1812 56th Avenue, Greeley, CO 80634
970-330-6700
cschulte@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Health Care

Why Should I Choose Columbine Health Systems?

Health care is personal.  It is up close.  Health care matters.  When we think of our own health care needs, we want to have close relationships with those we trust in sharing our health care decisions.  The providers we choose matters.

Columbine Health Systems has been in Northern Colorado since 1971.  Continuity of care is the key to successful care.  We have been owned and operated by J. Robert Wilson entirely over our 47 years.  Our CFO/COO has been with Columbine for over 38 years.  Many of our key leaders and administrators have been with us for 10-30 years.

Our 1,500+ employees work for us because they care about older adults.  Ask any of them, their ability to serve others – from providing care to a resident/patient, in billing and coding, in our warehouse, at Columbine Medical Equipment, or one of our pharmacies, their mission to care for others and make a difference in their lives is resounding.

Each day, 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 years old.  Our average age at Columbine is 87 years old.  The Baby Boomer wave is just beginning to take advantage of our services.  Elective knee and hip replacements requiring post-surgery out-patient therapy with Columbine Therapy Services or home care services with Columbine Poudre Home Care aid in a full recovery.

All five of our skilled nursing facilities in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor offer rehabilitation services for those needing more intensive nursing and therapy services.  Other services we provide include; dietary assessments, financial evaluations of insurances, and discharge planning with referrals to community resources assist in a successful return home.

Caring for older adults is personal for Columbine Health Systems.  Expertise about this population comes from our years of experience and caring.    We know how important the choice of providers is….because health care matters.   

Yvonne Myers
Health Systems Director
Columbine Health Systems
802 W. Drake Road, Suite 101
Fort Collins, CO 80526
970-482-0198


Law

Surprising Scope of Asbestos Regulation

Most know that asbestos is bad stuff.  However, building owners are often surprised to learn that federal and state asbestos requirements can capture routine activities such as minor renovation and even cleaning. 

Asbestos was a popular building material for years.  While mostly associated with older buildings, its use was never completely banned, so asbestos can be present even in newer construction.  In fact, except under limited circumstances, one must assume asbestos is present, and take appropriate action, before conducting demolition or renovation work.

Owners of commercial properties, even small ones, that contain asbestos are required to protect employees, tenants, and contractors from exposure through training, notice, and work practices.  Willful ignorance of asbestos requirements is not an effective compliance strategy.  One call from a concerned neighbor, angry former employee, or unsuccessful contract bidder can trigger civil, or even criminal, enforcement.

Asbestos risks can be managed.  Understanding how to do so will allow current and prospective building owners to protect their investments.

John Kolanz
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320,
Loveland 970-663-7300
jkolanz@nocoattorneys.com


Insurance

Stay Safe during the long Colorado Winter

For most Coloradoans, we understand that this time of year can bring extremely cold and snowy weather conditions throughout the winter months. It is important to be prepared for severe weather at work, home and on the road. Frozen water pipes can burst and lead to flooding in a basement or main level of a home. Severe winter storms can be hazardous for work conditions and can strand an individual on the road.

Below are a few winter weather tips to keep you safe and warm the season:

  • Walk carefully & cautiously. Wearing proper non-slip footwear can help prevent a slip or fall.
  • Remove debris from gutters, drain and disconnect hoses and turn off outside water valves.
  • Winterize vehicle(s). Ensure tires have enough tread, top off all necessary fluids and store an emergency roadside kit in trunk, containing: blanket, gloves, bottled water, flashlight, small shovel and cell phone charger.

Jamie May, CIC
Risk Advisor
(970)356-0123
JMay@floodpeterson.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Importance of having a payroll expert in your corner

Recently, a business contacted us because they wanted to outsource payroll.  This business had been using an online service that was an add-on to their accounting software.

There are many problems now because the set up wasn’t done correctly.  The owner’s comment was, “It really isn’t a service at all.”

Because of these mistakes; penalties and interest will apply.

Often when we are reviewing a company’s year to date history, we discover errors in how the payroll was set up.  For example, we’ve seen where mileage was being reimbursed to employees and treated as taxable wages.  This mistake costs both the employer and employee money.

Entrepreneur Magazine reported that payroll is one of the top five tasks that should be outsourced.

Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish!  Call Payroll Vault for a free payroll checkup.

Dean Rodahl
970-353-0170
1703 61st Ave. Suite 101
Greeley, CO 80634
dean.rodahl@payrollvault.com


Health Care

Take Your First Step in the Health Care Field

Have you wondered about working in health care?  Do you enjoy relationships with the older adults in your life?  Have a passion for helping others, but not sure where to start?

Resident Assistant is a new role involving direct connection with our residents at skilled nursing & rehabilitation facilities. Resident assistants support non-medical care of daily events and activities of our clients.

For the Resident Assistant seeking the next career step, we offer free tuition into our Certified Nurse Assistant program offered on-site at our Geriatric Education Centre.  You can complete your training in just 2 ½ weeks. You gain a tremendous amount of skills, increased wages, and move forward on your career pathway in health care.

We are looking for those who mirror our mission – We Enrich Our Community, Inspire, and Care.  For more information please go to our website www.columbinehealth.com and click on the JOIN OUR TEAM button.

Joyce Saffel
Human Resources Director
Columbine Health Systems
802 W. Drake Road, Suite 105
970-492-6230


Law

Don’t Get Caught in the Storm

Many insurers have begun reducing their exposure to catastrophic losses by selling insurance policies with special deductibles for storm damage. Most condominium association master policies have a deductible for wind or hail damage. For example, if a condominium suffers a hailstorm that damages the buildings to the cost of $2,500,000 and the master policy has a five percent deductible, the homeowners could be responsible for that five percent – in this case $125,000. Assuming fifty homeowners, each one would be responsible for $2,500, which would be assessed by the association.

Loss assessment is a coverage that is available as part of condo insurance HO-6 form and could provide coverage for certain kinds of losses where the association would ask you to pay for your share of damages that is either not covered under the master policy or exceeds the existing coverage. If you are a homeowner, speak to your insurance agent to understand what your limit is and check your insurance amounts on your policy declaration page. If you manage an association, make sure the homeowners are aware of loss assessment coverage prior to the need for it.

Brandy Natalzia
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO 80538
970-663-7300
bnatalzia@nocoattorneys.com


Insurance

Facilitate Training to Safeguard Your Company Brand

An organization’s brand is the “personality” of the company – essentially who the company is. Establishing and protecting this brand is an important aspect of every position whether entry level, management or corporate partner.

Employees play the foremost role in maintaining a company’s brand. Every email, phone conversation, and document sent contributes to the brand. Without training, employees are unlikely to understand the importance of this brand and the impact they have. Management facilitated training can conserve and safeguard a company’s brand throughout the organization. By creating brand identity guidelines and procedures that are strictly enforced, a company can uphold their brand throughout its lifespan. Employees should ask himself or herself one question, “Does this represent [XYZ] appropriately?” before every task.

A brand assimilated throughout the company protects more than the organization’s image, it can safeguard company culture and build a solid foundation for growth.

Tarah Wallace
Business Development
Coordinator
(970)356-0123
TWallace@floodpeterson.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Are You Using the Correct Payroll Forms for New Hires?

Were you aware that there are large penalties assessed for using incorrect payroll forms?

For example, on 7/17/2017 an updated Form I‐9 was released. Employers should have started using the updated version no later than 9/18/2017. If you continue to use an outdated form your business could be paying large sums of money assessed as fines by taxing authorities, making this a costly mistake.

It is recommended that you save the correctly completed forms and copies of the documents you used to verify your new hire’s legal work status indefinitely. If you have a walk‐in visit by one of the government agents will you be able to confidently hand over the requested documents?

As your payroll advisors we will keep you compliant with tax and labor laws. You may think you are saving money by handling your company’s own payroll, but is it worth the risk of doing it incorrectly? If you would like more information about this topic or others feel free to reach out to me directly.

Carol McElwain
970.682.6603
carol.mcelwain@payrollvault.com
375 E Horsetooth Rd #2‐101
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Health Care

What are Infusion Services?

Infusion therapy involves the administration of medications through a needle or catheter.  It is prescribed when a patient’s condition is too severe to be treated effectively by oral mediations.  At Poudre Infusion Therapy we provide professional, personalized, comprehensive infusion services in your home or in our private Ambulatory Infusion Suites.

We have three locations for Ambulatory Infusion; Fort Collins, Windsor, and in the CSU Health and Medical Building.  Each location has two private suites with wireless internet, cable TV, comfortable recliners, snacks, and refreshments.

Our infusion nurses and pharmacists help you individualize your care with your physician.  We provide collaboration via telephone calls and RN notes to your doctor.  Our pharmacist and nurses will monitor lab values, help to minimize side effects, and monitor your disease state.   

We handle obtaining authorization from your insurance company and schedule your infusion.  We are a preferred provider for all major commercial insurance companies.

Rebecca S Nemechek, RPh
Director
Poudre Infusion Therapy, LLC
915 Centre Ave. Suite #3
Fort Collins, CO 80526
970-494-2130


Law

Brokering Equality

33.8%.  This is the pay gap between male and female commercial real estate brokers according to a 2015 CREW Network Benchmark Study. That means, in dollars, a female broker earns $67,500 less per year than her male counterparts. The pay gap widens at the C-suite level, where the percentage of women has fallen from 10%-15% over the last 10 years.  These disparities exist across industries.  32% of trial lawyers are women, and just 24% of those women serve as lead counsel according to a 2015 American Bar Association study. Women make up just 17% of equity partners in law firms.     

Some have attributed these disparities to women being less likely to ask for a raise or a promotion. Recent studies reveal this assumption is unfounded. In September 2016, researchers at London’s Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin found that women ask as often as men, but get what they want 25% less often.

What can be done to close this gap? It starts with mentoring and sponsorship. Women report the lack of a mentor/sponsor as the number one barrier to their success.  It only takes one good mentor to change the course of a person’s career.  If you are in the industry and know a promising woman in your profession, encourage her to seek advancement.  Educate her on compensation levels, opportunities, and networking.  Make mentorship/sponsorship a priority.  If you are in a leadership position, be honest about your gender bias.  Speak up when you see biases or unfair treatment.  Use independent assessment tools.  Sometimes the simplest steps make a big difference; such as interviewing a woman for every position or project. Finally, help spread the word.  Knowledge is power, as they say.  Shine a light on the problem and see what solutions appear. 

Jennifer Peters
jpeters@nocoattorneys.com
970-330-6700
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO 80538


Payroll & Workforce Services

Advantages of ‘Pay-as-You-Go’ Workers’ Comp

Is there a solution to the high startup fees and yearly audit surprises of traditional workers comp?

We had a new payroll client come to us recently dreading their upcoming workers comp audit and fee adjustment, we hear these complaints quite often. Fortunately there is a  solution to these annoying yearly audits that result in high catch up premiums: Pay-As-You-Go Workers Compensation.

With pay-as-you-go one does not have to make a large, down payment up front. The business owner can purchase a policy with little money down, and then pay the premium in smaller amounts over the course of the year.  Pay-As-You-Go Workers comp premiums are deducted with payroll, the amount is automatically sent via ACH, no more check writing. Premiums are based on your actual payroll, not projected annual payroll. This can help protect one from audit exposure, because your premium is based on real-time payroll wages, not an estimate.

Traditional Workers’ Comp:  Unexpected audit surprises,  Large down payments, Overpaying for Workers’ Comp, Checks to write.

Pay As You Go Workers’ Comp: Pay premiums based on actual payroll, Eliminate or reduce up fron charges, Manage cash flow and operating expenses, Have 24/7 access to view all premiums, Pay premiums electronically via ACH.

Zane Glover
325 Cherry Street, Suite 110
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521
970-924-1011


Health Care

Columbine Medical Equipment in Windsor

Columbine Health Systems, in 2012, opened Columbine Commons, assisted living, and Columbine Commons Health & Rehab, a skilled nursing facility in Windsor.  Simultaneously, we opened Columbine Medical Equipment right next door at 1455 Main Street.

We found those living in and around the Windsor area needed to drive to one of those cities to meet their medical equipment needs. This can be difficult for those who have mobility problems or do not have access to reliable transportation.    Our medical equipment and supply store has been a wonderful solution.

Columbine Medical Equipment provides an expansive variety of home medical supplies such as; bathroom safety, medical alert systems, and mobility equipment.  In addition to the supplies stocked in the store, we have contracts with many vendors and insurance providers to ensure people obtain the supplies they need for safe and healthy home living.

Columbine Medical Equipment is your one stop shop!

Andrew Forrester
Logistics Manager
Columbine Medical Equipment
1455 Main Street
Windsor, CO 80550
970-460-9205


Health Care

Columbine Health Systems – Meaningful Careers for People Who Care

I find job seekers are searching for a meaningful career.  Nothing is more meaningful than caring for seniors?

Erica, RN with Columbine West said it best, “I felt like I was coming home to Columbine, you all make everyone feel like family”.

Columbine offers career opportunities in clinical roles such as; Personal Care Provider, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), LPN, RN, and Therapy.  We offer a full range of entry-level to experienced positions in dietary, housekeeping, social services, activities, clerical, accounting, van drivers, and more.

For job seekers interested in becoming a CNA, we offer Nursing Assistant Training at our Geriatric Education Centre.  Full Time Day classes only take 2 ½ weeks!

We are looking for those who mirror our mission – Our mission is – We enrich our community, we inspire, we connect, we care. No matter the role, our expectation is for employees to have passion for seniors and to put the needs of our customers first.

Jeff Goody
Recruitment Manager
Columbine Health Systems
802 W. Drake Road, Suite 105
970-492-6230


Insurance

Fall Agriculture Fire Safety

As we move into the fall months, the temperatures can still be high and Colorado often experiences less moisture. 

The agricultural industry has a heightened exposure to fires this time of year due to the prolonged dry conditions. 

Grasses, weeds and electrical equipment near farms and ranches can turn into a major fuel source for a fire.  It is important to label all electrical equipment and keep it free from debris such as dust and cobwebs.  In case of a fire, all those working on a farm should know the location the fire extinguishers and have received proper training how to use them. 

A controlled burn is often utilized to mitigate the risk of unwanted grasses and weeds.  It is important to contact your local fire department to understand the risks of a burn and if the weather conditions permit a safe burning environment.  If you have questions, please contact our team of AgriBusiness Professionals at (970)356-0123. (source:  nfpa.org).

Brian Schiller, CIC
Vice President
BSchiller@floodpeterson.com
(970)356-0123


Thought Leaders

Who are you going to pay to spend time with your children?

The CEO of a large public company recently started a speech with this opening line. What a powerful question! Many tasks can be outsourced; spending time with your family cannot. As small business owners, we have to make decisions every day on how to invest our time, including family time.

Paying your team timely and accurately is very important. However, do YOU need to spend your valuable time performing that task? Last year, a local painting contractor outsourced his payroll processing. to Payroll Vault. In prior years, he did his own payroll using a popular accounting software.

When asked if he was happy he outsourced, he said, “Yes! You think preparing payroll doesn’t take much time, but it does.”

Inc Magazine recently cited payroll and payroll tax filings as one of the top 3 tasks that should be immediately outsourced. Call me today to see how we can help you free up valuable time!

Dean Rodahl
970-353-0170
1703 61st Ave. Suite 101
Greeley, CO 80634
dean.rodahl@payrollvault.com


Law

Some things just don’t age well …

Unlike a fine wine, leases can leave a bad taste in your mouth if simply left on a shelf. Whether you are a commercial or residential landlord, if you haven’t read your lease recently, you can bet there are outdated terms or potentially inaccurate or incomplete provisions.

Many things have changed that have had quite the effect on leases – including the legalization of marijuana, reasonable accommodations, and the rights of tenants who are victims of unlawful sexual behavior and stalking.

One of the more recent changes took effect on August 9, 2017. Previously, both commercial and residential landlords could provide tenants under a short-term lease just seven days’ notice of lease termination, among the shortest notification windows in the country. C.R.S. § 13-40-107 extends that advanced notification requirement to 21 days.

If you think your lease may need to be dusted off, it might be a good time to reach out to an attorney for assistance.

Brandy Natalzia
bnatalzia@nocoattorneys.com
970-663-7300
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO 80538


Insurance

Craft Brewery Safety

With the continued growth in the craft brewery industry, it is critical that a increased focus is placed on safety and the development of a safety culture. Recently, there has been an increased presence from OSHA in setting and enforcing new safety and health requirements in all industries; the craft brewery industry is not an exception. There are several key elements that a brewery can include in their safety program to improve or enhance their overall safety culture. Below are a few examples to help protect yourself and your employees:

  • Personal Protective Equipment: Incorporate protective clothing, helmets, goggles and equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection.
    Confined Space Training: Establish protocols, procedures and provide continued training to employees who enter confined brewery spaces.
    Fall Protection: Proper tie-off techniques and specialized equipment will help keep employees safe.Partnering with the right safety professional can help you navigate and reduce your exposures.

Nick Roe
Sales Executive
970-266-8710
NRoe@floodpeterson.com


Health Care

Providers Accepting Medicare Assignment Means Lower Costs

To “accept assignment” means your doctor, provider, or supplier agrees to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment for covered services. If they do not accept assignment, they are called non-participating providers. Non-participating providers have not signed an agreement to accept assignment for all Medicare-covered services.

They can still choose to accept assignment for individual services. If your doctor, provider, or supplier does not accept assignment, you might have to pay the entire charge at the time of service. The non-participating providers can charge you more than the Medicare-approved amount, but there’s a “limiting charge”. The provider can only charge you up to 15% over the amount that non-participating providers are paid. Non-participating providers are paid 95% of the Medicare fee schedule amount. The limiting charge applies only to certain Medicare-covered services and does not apply to some supplies and durable medical equipment.

Columbine Medical Equipment accepts assignment with Medicare.

Heather McNeill
General Manager
Columbine Medical Equipment
802 W. Drake Road, Suite 123
Fort Collins, CO 80526
1455 Main Street
Windsor, CO 80550
970-221-1453


Law

Should I Look for Environmental Issues Prior to Completing My Real Estate Transaction?

When purchasing (often even leasing) commercial or industrial property, the answer is usually yes. Environmental issues take various forms, such as soil and groundwater contamination, mold or asbestos on structures, or the presence of wetlands or endangered species. They can even emanate from neighboring properties.

The context of the property and its intended use inform the nature of the environmental review. Often used is a Phase I Assessment, where a qualified consultant conducts a non-invasive evaluation of the property designed primarily to help protect against liability arising from contamination. It can also identify environmental issues that might render the property unsuitable for intended uses. For some properties however, a lesser screen may suffice.

Environmental issues need not be a deal killer — just identified and accounted for before closing. A knowledgeable environmental attorney can help a client define the proper scope of the investigation, and work with the consultant to meet the unique needs of the transaction at hand.

John Kolanz
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320,
Loveland 970-663-7300
jkolanz@nocoattorneys.com


Health Care

Westwood Patio Homes: The Fences Are Down!!!

All construction fences are down and Phase II is now complete! Our leased, 34 mid-century modern patio homes provide open floor plans with an emphasis on natural light. The 3 color schemes Bronze, Chrome, and Nickle make you feel right at home. Lease rates range from $2,400 to $2,900 per month.
Conveniently located off of Main and 14th street in Windsor, our walkable community is within walking distance of grocery stores, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices.  The universal design features and accessibility additions make Westwood the most unique patio homes in Northern Colorado.
Are you 55+, looking to downsize from your home, live a maintenance- free life, and have fun? If so, Westwood is the perfect place for you! Our units are leasing quickly, so stop by for a tour of your next home today!
Visit our website www.westwoodpatiohomes.com or call (970) 460-5000 for a personalized tour.

Ashlee J. Clay
Community Liaison
Westwood Patio Homes
301 14th Street
Windsor, CO 80550
970-460-5000
FAX: 970-482-9148


Insurance

Taking Control of your Employee Benefits Program

Most small and mid-sized businesses today use the traditional fully funded health insurance model to cover their employees.
With that many have experienced double digit rate increases annually for the past decade. The question many are asking, “How can we keep absorbing these increases?” The answer, “You can’t.”

Unless organizations begin to recognize the need to connect the dots between the well-being of their employee population and their insurance trend they will undoubtedly soon be priced out of the market.

It is time for employers to understand the only way to control their rising insurance cost is to help manage the health risk of their organization. Once they understand the risk they can put appropriate programming in place, engage their employees, and track their results.
There is no quick fix, however a meaningful program will over time drive trend down and allow employers to provide more meaningful benefit programs.

Ethan Merk
Benefits Executive
EMerk@floodpeterson.com
(970)356-0123


Law

Who Sweeps the Breezeway?!? Don’t Breeze Through Your Commercial Lease

When a commercial lease is necessary for a business owner, they must understand that agreement beyond the monthly rent and duration. Some important clauses are:

  • Maintenance of Common Areas. Guidelines of how and by whom stairways, lobbies, sidewalks, and other areas are maintained establishes expectations between landlord and tenant and promotes cooperation.
  • Restrictions as to Use, Noise, or Traffic to the Location. A lease may prohibit specific businesses or limit activities allowed on the premises. A tenant should evaluate how this may its business before signing the lease.
  • Restrictive Covenants. A restrictive covenant in one tenant’s lease may prevent a landlord from renting to another tenant with a similar business, or may prevent that tenant from expanding its business.

A savvy business owner will understand the lease in entirely, and will seek advice from competent legal counsel on complex issues.

Katie Butler
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
970-330-6700
kbutler@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Health Care

Partners in Health & Wellness

The Health & Wellness Partnership is celebrating the third year of providing quality health and wellness programming at city recreation centers throughout Fort Collins. Together, Columbine Health Systems, UCHealth, and the City of Fort Collins continue to offer high quality programming by vetted professionals.

We have increased our massage, acupuncture, and nail services to accommodate higher demand at the Senior Center, while continuing to offer our most popular group exercise classes – Boomer Boot Camp and Cardio, Core, & More.  With 65-75 different options each quarter, our extensive range of topics covers the spectrum of medical subjects to holistic options.  The Aging Mastery Program will be offered again this fall and is the perfect series of classes to inspire small changes which can make an enormous impact on health.

See the Health & Wellness section of the Recreator for a complete list of activities and registration information – www.fcgov.com/recreator.

Diane Horak
Program Manager
1200 Raintree Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80526
970-221-6785
diane.horak@columbinehealth.com


Insurance

The Importance of a Personal Umbrella Policy

Distractions while driving can occur everyday and seem to be everywhere; this can include text messages, phone calls, a quick meal on the road, all of which interrupts a driver’s attention.

Have you thought, “What would happen if a distracted driver caused a serious accident?  Would their insurance be enough to cover all damages and injuries?”  The answer is more than likely “no.”

Obtaining additional coverage for accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorist has become crucial.  Excess Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) Motorist coverage is available as part of a Personal Umbrella Policy.  Umbrella Liability provides protection from civil suits as a result of your actions.

The Excess UM coverage provides coverage for you and members of your household, if the other party is at fault and does not have enough liability coverage to pay for injuries and damages.  UM coverage also provides coverage for you as a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Lynda Mitch, CIC, AAI
Personal Insurance
Account Executive
(970)356-0123
LMitch@floodpeterson.com


Law

Employee Handbooks – A Great Tool For All Employers

Whether for profit, non-profit, or public sector, employee handbooks are a great tool that should not be overlooked. Although an employer is not required by law to have an employee handbook, the law affords certain protections to employers who have an effective complaint process when defending a lawsuit from an employee. For these protections to apply, however, the employee must be aware of the complaint process. The best way to inform employees of the complaint process is via an employee handbook, because typically, employees certify they received and reviewed the handbook before their employment starts.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gives suggestions of an effective complaint process. Its full guidance can be reviewed at www.eeoc.gov/policy.docs.harassmnet.html.

Employee handbooks are a wonderful tool so employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect of their employer. Employee handbooks could also save your business from liability.

Lee Morehead
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
970-330-6700
lmorehead@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com