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RICHARD DeCLARK HAS BEEN IN THE FLAVOR business since he was 12
years old.
  He started working for his father’s Continental Flavors in 1970, doing “anything
and everything, mopping the floor, you name it.” He soon graduated to flavor
research and development and spent the better part of the ’70s and ’80s crafting fla-
vors for Fortune 500 food and beverage companies.

Richard DeClark tinkers with formulas at R&D Flavors.
                                                                           U N I T E D   .   C O M   139
        Insight
      Vail/Beaver Creek
          Now 48, DeClark sold the family business in 1990.            in the form of a second home. He swapped Fort Smith,
      After a no-compete clause expired in 1995, DeClark               Arkansas—where he owned and ran a group of radio and
      decided to launch a new company, R&D Flavors. But he             TV stations—for the Rocky Mountains in 1984.
      didn’t want to launch it from Orange County, California,             “One day I just decided that I’d had enough,” says
      where he and his wife Janet were raising three sons, then        Hernreich, a co-owner of the National Basketball
      ages 3, 5, and 8. “We got tired of the hustle and bustle,”       Association’s Sacramento Kings and the owner of the
      says DeClark, “and we could move anywhere.”                      Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers. He handed over
          So they did. In one full swoop, the DeClarks                 the reins of his radio and TV business to a top lieutenant,
      sold their California home and moved to Edwards,                 moved into his half-finished second home near Edwards,
      Colorado. Richard then set up a home-based laboratory            and never looked back.
      for flavor formulation.                                              “When I first moved to Vail, I didn’t want to go into
          Family came first in this decision, says DeClark, and he     real estate,” he recalls. “I fought it for 10 years.”
      already had a good feel for the Vail Valley through a vaca-          In 1990, Hernreich founded Remonov Capital with
      tion condo he owned in Beaver Creek.                             the hope of becoming a mere “land-flipper,” but it quickly
          Today, he has no regrets. “It was a great place for the      became much more than that. By 1994, Remonov went
      kids to grow up,” he says.                                       into development in Edwards and built much of the
          In the Vail Valley, stories like DeClark’s aren’t unusual.   town’s core.
      With modern technology and transportation, entrepre-                 “There was nothing there,” Hernreich recalls. Today,
      neurs of all stripes have realized they could set up shop        Edwards is built out, and Hernreich is better known local-
      just about anywhere. When it comes to picking the per-           ly as a developer than a national pro sports magnate.
      fect anywhere, plenty of movers and shakers have chosen              “We had good timing and good location,” says
      the Vail Valley.                                                 Hernreich. “Some people believe in serendipity, I depend
          DeClark’s is an increasingly common progression here:        on it.”
      During a vacation, out-of-towners fall in love with Vail             Beyond the Kings, the Rattlers, and Remonov,
      and decide to buy a condo or a second home. Over the             Hernreich juggles a full slate of geographically diverse
      years, their visits grow in frequency and duration. Before       investments. Is it easy to run his far-flung businesses from
      they know it, their primary residence becomes their sec-         the Vail Valley? “Absolutely,” he answers. “I think Edwards
      ond home, and vice versa. Then they take the plunge and          is the best place in the world to live. You can do anything
      move to the valley full-time.                                    here that you could do anywhere else.”
          Bob Hernreich’s introduction to the valley was also              Dr. Malik Hasan also knows the beauty of the Vail




       Kris Wittenberg (with husband, Augie, and daughter, Addison) lives and works in Eagle.

124    H E M I S P H E R E S M A G A Z I N E   .   C O M
                                                                                 Insight
                                                                                Vail/Beaver Creek
Valley as a national headquarters. He served as chairman
and CEO of HealthNet, a large, national health mainte-
nance organization, from his Beaver Creek home between
1995 and 2000, using videoconferencing to have virtual
face-to-faces with managers all over the country.
    “The time zone was very helpful,” says Hasan, now the
chairman and CEO of Denver-based HealthTrio. “You
can start early in the day with managers on the East Coast
and have plenty of time for the West Coast at day’s end.”
    Hasan began vacationing with his family in the Vail
Valley in the 1980s, but the Hasans liked the area for its
verdant summers, not its ski-crazy winters. In the early
’90s, they closed on a house and renovated it to double as
a mountain getaway and the nerve center for a national
business.
    “When you’re out of the city,” says Hasan, “you have
complete control over your own time.”
    A marketing entrepreneur, Kris Wittenberg has a simi-
lar perspective on getting out of the city. After growing up
in Denver and taking regular trips to Vail, she moved her
promotional products company, SayNoMore! Promotions,
from San Francisco to Eagle in 2002. “My husband and
I wanted to move somewhere where we could afford a
single-family home,” she says.
    Just like that, they left their $2,500-per-month rental
in California and bought a house in the Eagle Ranch
community. In Colorado, SayNoMore! has grown by leaps
and bounds, scoring deals with such clients as American
Express and Ritz-Carlton. It now has six employees.               Don Cohen made a quality-of-life decision.
    “It’s very easy to work with national clients from the
Vail Valley,” says Wittenberg. “The airport is literally five    that underpin the Vail Valley’s evolution into an entrepre-
minutes from my house. E-mail is my best friend. And             neurial hotbed: a top-notch local airport, a solid telecom-
samples can be [sent for overnight delivery] very easily         munications infrastructure, the presence of the major over-
because the FedEx office is also just five minutes away.”        night delivery companies, and easy access to Denver. “You
    Don Cohen, executive director of the Edwards-based           can have your warehouse and support staff down there,” he
Economic Council of Eagle County, points to several factors      notes, citing the relatively inexpensive real estate market.



                                                                The Best of Both Worlds
                                                                The great outdoors has proved to be the lure that ulti-
                                                                mately hooked many an entrepreneur on Vail, with
                                                                plenty of them moving to town for easy access to the ski
                                                                slopes and hiking trails. But Vail is unlike many resorts
                                                                in the Rockies in that its location on the doorstep of the
                                                                Continental Divide hasn’t hindered its access to modern
                                                                convenience.
                                                                   Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic
                                                                Council of Eagle County, relates a story from a snowshoe
                                                                race in Vail. “There is a woman in the race on her cell
                                                                phone, loudly negotiating a business deal,” he laughs.
                                                                   However, not everyone wants to mix business with
                                                                outdoor pleasure, Cohen adds. “I turn my cell phone off
                                                                when I go fly-fishing.” —EP


                                                                                                              U N I T E D   .   C O M   125
       Insight
      Vail/Beaver Creek
                                                                       Cohen moved to the area in 1993 and continued to
                                                                   lead his Denver-based communications company from the
                                                                   mountains above. Soon after the move, Cohen realized
                                                                   his regular trips to Denver—which is 100 miles east and
                                                                   2,870 feet closer to sea level—were nothing in compari-
                                                                   son to many other entrepreneurs who were spending the
                                                                   majority of their time in the valley. “I found guys who
                                                                   were doing much longer commutes—Chicago, LA, New
                                                                   York,” he says.
                                                                       When an entrepreneur moves to Vail, it’s invariably “a
      It’s in the Design                                           quality-of-life decision,” adds Cohen. “It’s usually not an
                                                                   economic decision, because it’s more expensive here. It’s
      Beth Slifer saw a need for a high-end interior design firm
                                                                   heart over head. But I think you’ll hear all of us say it’s
      when she moved to Vail in 1983. Back then, utilitar-
                                                                   the best decision we ever made.”
      ian cabins and ski camps dominated Vail, but high style
                                                                       From a population of only 50,000, Vail-area entrepre-
      was ready to start ascending the pass, and Slifer’s firm,
                                                                   neurs cast a disparately wide net that encompasses pro bas-
      Edwards-based Slifer Designs, had a lot to do with it.
                                                                   ketball, health-care management technology, and flavors
         “There was truly a need,” says Slifer, who moved to
                                                                   savored by taste buds all over the world.
      Vail and married local real-estate legend Rodney Slifer in
                                                                       Back in the R&D Flavors’ lab, DeClark has recently
      1983. “By the time I got my business on its feet, things
                                                                   been tinkering with formulas for cookies-and-cream-
      started to boom in the late ’80s.”
                                                                   flavored milk. After working hours, flavors remain a fam-
         She hasn’t looked back since. Today Slifer Designs
                                                                   ily business in the DeClark household.
      employs 65 people and works on projects for both home-
                                                                       “I’ve done some interesting science fair projects with
      owners and hospitality clients. An internal “green team”
                                                                   my kids,” DeClark says. “We made orange-colored grape
      recently emerged to promote sustainable design and
                                                                   soda to determine the stronger sense: sight or taste?”
      development, helping to shepherd in environmentally
                                                                   —Eric Peterson
      conscious building codes in Eagle County. —EP




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