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Key Results - Providing Insightful Solutions to Maximize Business Results

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Owner: Marge Fajardo
Story by: Chris McCloskey


Key Results is a small company with a long reach. For almost twenty years, Owner, Marge Fajardo, has worked with individual leaders globally and a variety of business groups from small local companies to large governmental agencies in Washington D.C. The ultimate goal of Key Results is to improve the interpersonal health of an organization and build on their people-power to produce better results. 

Prior to starting Key Results, Fajardo worked in business, government, and education for more than 15 years. “I saw a lot of untapped potential and conflict that drained the energy of organizations and distracted them from being the best they could be. I wanted to provide skills and solutions to help leaders build on their own strengths and unlock the potential of their people,” Fajardo said. To address these challenges, Key Results continually researches the field of human potential, leadership, and team development. They provide cutting-edge assessments, workshops, coaching, and organizational development strategies tied to the outcomes of the organization.  

“The people-part of business is complicated and ever-changing. When people understand, trust, and value each other more, the whole organization changes,” says Fajardo.
 
In working with leaders and companies, Fajardo draws on her professional background and experiences, her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Management, and several certifications in professional coaching, mediation, assessments, and her training in business mastery. She also partners with a cadre of certified coaches with backgrounds in psychology, human resources, and organizational development, to deliver customized programs.  

When leaders are brought in to restructure a team, Key Results coaches are there to provide assessments, strategies, coaching, training, and leadership support. Fajardo said, “We help them assess where they are and create a vision of where they want to be. Then we help them fill in the gap to get there. To be successful, it takes great communication-both speaking and listening, emotional intelligence, and an understanding of how humans adapt to change. The Key Results approach helps teams learn how to develop trust, deal with conflicting ideas in a constructive way, build commitment in all team members, and hold each other accountable to create the desired results.”

Fajardo showed her commitment to providing even more value for her clients by participating in the Small Business Development Center’s Leading Edge class.

Denver Escape Room

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Setting the Pace to Scale

Story: Kat Rico
Photography: Alicja Mazurek

For many businesses, being first to market is essential to their success. When owner Brian Lacertosa of the Denver Escape Room began planning his venture, there was nothing like it in the state of Colorado, but by the time he launched he was third to market in Denver. That didn’t stop his momentum though; just a year after opening his first location he has already opened a second location in Phoenix, Arizona, and by the end of 13 months he is slated to have an additional four locations open.

“The challenge with escape rooms is defining what we are,” said Brian, “there’s a disconnect between explaining it and actually doing it.” Denver Escape Room has four rooms, each with unique stories. You enter a room, receive a debriefing of the story, and use that information to gather the clues to unlock the storyline further. In one room, you’re part of a tactical response unit, in another you’re part of a team trying to shut down a rogue supercomputer. When your time is up, if you haven’t solved the room, staff will give you the complete solution. This is done so there’s no incentive to re-do the room, which could ruin the experience for another guest.

Brian has been a business owner for over 10 years, previously doing internet sales. He brought the idea home with him after participating in an escape room in New York, and in the year he’s been in operation, the market in Colorado has grown from 3 rooms to more than 17 across the state. About six months after opening, Brian hired Cody Borst as a game designer. “What we really want is for people to have fun. If they don’t, then they’ll have a bad impression of escape rooms and never try another.” With over 900 hours of work going in to their latest room, Crimson Storm, the rigorous testing process helps ensure a great guest experience. “I came in the other night and my staff handed me a puzzle, and I was immediately frustrated, in a good way,” said Brian.

What makes the Denver Escape Room unique is their ability to hold corporate training and teambuilding events. They have a large conference room and a certified corporate trainer that helps them create an engaging experience for businesses. “It’s much more than getting people together to play games,” explained Brian. Teams play through a room with a trainer watching via CCTV, then receive feedback on their team dynamics, and try a second room to see if they took the feedback. The process is interactive and can jumpstart a new program or worked into an existing program.

While he was planning the business, Brian began working with the North Metro Denver SBDC. “My consultant was such a valuable resource. It was great having someone I could call up and say, ‘Hey, I need some help with this. Got anyone in mind?’” Brian’s consultant even connected him to a group of angel investors, and although the pitch fell short, he learned some valuable lessons. “Trying and failing actually made me better prepared for the pitches that were successful.”

When asked about how they’ve been able to expand so rapidly, Brian said, “I’m very fortunate because I’ve got the right people. My staff has allowed me to expand. We were hitting 3 year goals within 6 months.” Game designer Cody explained further, “It’s important that we scale with the industry. We’ve paid attention to the international popularity of escape rooms, and it seems single shops die out. Larger businesses with standardized models last longer.” Right now, the Denver Escape Room employs 10 people, and Brian is excited to see the growth of the business. “It’s great to bring something totally new and very cool to Northglenn, and it’s helped other businesses in the area as well. We’ve won several awards, but recently winning the Northglenn People’s Choice was the best.”

Keep up with the Denver Escape Room or book a time at: www.DenverEscapeRoom.com


Chopsticks Vietnamese Restaurant

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What makes a new restaurant unique? A flashy space, an artisan menu? At Chopsticks Vietnamese Restaurant in Brighton, Colorado, it takes a careful balance of fresh food, community and family, brought together by owner Hieu Nguyen. The menu is straight from the streets of Saigon, created by her aunt, Khue Tran, who spent 18 years in Vietnamese restaurants before coming to the United States. At Chopsticks, you won’t find a recipe book or canned sauces; they pride themselves on making everything on the menu from scratch, right down to the fish sauce. 

As of July 2015, Chopsticks has been open for about two months. Several times each week, Hieu heads to market to buy fresh vegetables for the restaurant, which are all cut to order for each dish. They also use a fresh wok for each dish, making it easy to accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions. “It is a lot of work, but definitely worth it,” says Hieu. This commitment to freshness and cleanliness comes from a deep desire to provide excellent customer service to their community. “We strive to provide a cozy environment where everyone and his or her family will feel at home enjoying authentic and flavorful Vietnamese food.”

Hieu was born in Vietnam and came to the United States at 9 years old, eventually graduating from CU Denver with degrees in International Business and Accounting. She noticed while working in the banking industry she had increasingly little time to spend with her family, which is what inspired her to open the restaurant. “It gives the whole family a chance to work together. With five family members here, work-life balance becomes easier and we get to spend more time together.” 

Getting to opening day posed several challenges. They needed assistance with paperwork, marketing ideas and a network of support, which Hieu says the SBDC was crucial in providing. Simply put, “Without the SBDC, we wouldn’t be open.” An unforeseen challenge of the restaurant was that other than Hieu’s aunt and mom, none of the family had worked food service before. “We had to learn the rhythm of the family,” says Hieu, “and it nearly drove us crazy!” After a rocky two weeks, the family smoothed out the bumps in the road much to the enjoyment of their developing regular customer base. Beyond getting to know their customers, Hieu’s favorite part of the process has been building their menu. “My aunt creates all of the dishes from scratch, so we had to give a lot of feedback. We have over 100 dishes on the menu!” Her favorite item is the taro boba tea: a fruity, Vietnamese smoothie with chewy tapioca balls at the bottom.

Although the process has been challenging, Hieu encourages other entrepreneurs to take a chance. “Just do it! Don’t be afraid or you’ll regret it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are always people willing to help.”


Volunteer Profile - Chris McCloskey

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chris has recently joined the North Metro Denver SBDC team as a volunteer writer and photographer for our Success Story series. The first story she wrote for our center was for Deltech, Inc., read their story at: Deltech Inc. Success Story. She is an author of children’s e-books and came to the SBDC for social media marketing assistance and found her writing skills could be used to give back to the SBDC.


Currently, Chris teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Cold Creek Academy, but previously she taught with Front Range Community College (FRCC) for 22 years. As an FRCC instructor, she taught both English and ESL. When she’s not writing or teaching, Chris works with her husband to raise guide dog puppies for the blind.

Welcome Chris and thank you for your efforts on behalf of the North Metro Denver SBDC!

Deltech, Inc.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Deltech, Inc.
Owner: Mary Stevenson

Story written by: Chris McCloskey
Photography: Chris McCloskey and courtesy of Deltech, Inc.


Deltech Inc. designs and builds furnaces for the production of scientific products, from laboratory implements to semi-conductor components.

Deltech is a small, family-run company with a large impact. It began in 1968 as an engineering services company for the mining industry. The co-founders, Calvin L. Stevenson and Donald J. Drinkwater, were mining engineers. Deltech built its first furnace for Coors Tek, then known as Coors Porcelain. Their second customer was Los Alamos National Laboratories. 

Mary Stevenson, Calvin Stevenson’s wife, is the current president of Deltech and their son, a master’s-level mechanical engineer, is Deltech’s engineering manager.  Stevenson explains the company’s focus, “We listened to what the ceramist wanted to accomplish and what his processes involved, and then set out to design and build the furnace to help him do the job.” 

In the 1990’s, Deltech supplied lab furnaces for use in processing semiconductors and fuel-cell, biomedical, and fiber-optics components. In 2000, the company built its largest furnace for use in the manufacture of a composite mirror for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s F.I.R.S.T. project. Stevenson describes the most interesting product Deltech designed and built as a positive-pressure furnace for the National High Magnetics Lab at Florida State University.  Stevenson adds, “Deltech was the only bidder for this job, which is not uncommon.” Today, Deltech furnaces can be found at universities and laboratories worldwide.  Stevenson said, “The company’s best advertisement has always been the referrals received from its customers.”

As Deltech celebrates its 47th anniversary, Stevenson looks back on an exciting track record for leading industrial scientific manufacturing and learning how to translate their expertise into business success.

In 2007, the company’s accountant pointed out that Deltech’s high-end production and position in the competitive market were not reflected in the company’s profits. At that point, Stevenson attended a meeting of the Adams County Economic Development Council where she heard about the services of the Small Business Development Center.  

The North Metro Denver SBDC matched Stevenson with a manufacturing consultant who began working with her from the first meeting, providing specific ideas for a business plan to align the sides of engineering and accounting. The consultant was able to translate his years of experience working in manufacturing into innovative solutions for Deltech’s financial stability.  After fully utilizing this consultant’s production expertise, Stevenson was referred to a consultant who specializes in marketing. This consultant joined the effort to provide Deltech with insight on effective advertising, competition research, and market analysis.


Today, Stevenson describes the high point of the company’s progress as providing the next generation the ability to take over the business in terms of engineering education and experience, combined with a solid grasp of business finances and marketing. 

Deltech’s trademark, “We Build the Furnace to Fit Your Need” is stronger than ever.