Category: Energy, Utilities & Mining

Boulder-based Black Bear Energy raises $2.5M Series A funding round

BOULDER — Black Bear Energy Inc., announced on Monday that the 15-month-old Boulder company has raised a $2.5 million Series A round of funding to scale its model of helping large businesses and commercial real-estate owners integrate renewable energy into their buildings.

Local venture-capital firm Boulder Ventures led the round, with participation also coming from Black Bear seed investor Rocky Mountain Institute.

Drew Torbin

Drew Torbin

Kim Saylors-Laster

Kim Saylors-Laster

Black Bear CEO Drew Torbin said in an interview Monday that the company has already added two employees in the wake of the new funding round and is hiring for a third — a junior-level analyst — that will bring the firm’s employee count to eight. Black Bear’s employees are split between Boulder and Arkansas, where executive vice president Kim Saylors-Lastor is based.

Founded by Torbin in April of last year, Black Bear works as a buyer’s agent for large property owners, helping them identify energy-efficiency options that exist in their building portfolios and then seek out bids, execute contracts and oversee construction of the projects.

It’s the type of work that Torbin and Saylors-Laster did for Prologis and Walmart, respectively, in building the two largest on-site corporate solar programs in the United States. But Torbin said it’s also work that most companies don’t have the expertise to engage in, even though they know there is untapped potential in their portfolios.

The bulk of Black Bear’s work is in facilitating solar projects, but the company also does work in energy storage, fuel cells and lighting.

“We realized pretty quickly that the market had a latent demand for our services, and we’ve been working pretty quickly to work with these large customers ever since,” Torbin said.

Torbin declined to disclose revenue, but the company says it is already serving clients that represent more than 1 billion square feet of property.

“We’ve got a big pipeline, big and growing,” Torbin said.

Started last year with a $500,000 seed funding from Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, Black Bear will use the new funding not only to add employees but also to continue the buildout of a software platform that will make the company more efficient in the services it provides.

“All of our best companies spring from the authentic experiences of our serial entrepreneurs,” Kyle Lefkoff, founder and general partner at Boulder Ventures, said in a news release. “Drew and Kim are the most experienced people in this market, and the overwhelming response of their customers to Black Bear Energy validates their unique approach.”

Help tech-savvy drivers get a charge out of you

didn’t mean to do it. All I meant to do was meet up with a business contact for coffee at the east-end Laughing Goat. They happen to share a space with Green Eyed Motors, a car dealership specializing in low- or no-emission used vehicles. Then I saw it, in all her glacier-white glory: The 2012 Nissan Leaf. An hour later, I found myself filling out paperwork to make her mine.

It made too much sense. At a cost of $10,000, with $1,500 in tax rebates, it will end up costing my business $8,500 plus tax to have a company vehicle for around-town trips. You can easily spend more on a fancy mountain bike. In addition, we are showing a continued commitment to the environment everywhere we go.

The day after picking up the car, my excitement got the best of me and I decided to use it to visit a client in Aurora, a 70-mile round trip. The battery meter said that I have a range of 85 miles on the current charge. No problem.

Before even leaving the city limits of Boulder, my once-mighty 85-mile range estimate had dwindled to 60. Worry began to set in. With a gas vehicle, filling up takes minutes. With an EV, you’re looking at hours to get to full. Upon my arrival at my destination, I began my research to determine how I was going to make it back to Boulder after my appointment. After downloading the PlugShare app on my smartphone — an amazing app, by the way — it became clear to me that the EV charging infrastructure had matured more than I had expected.

All around me was a sea of free charging stations ready to serve me. The app allows the ability to rate each station. Some stations are frequently out of order, while others are solid choices. The rating system goes from one to 10. Some stations can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes, such as the ones at Nissan dealerships. Other charging stations can get you to 100 percent in a few hours.

On this day, due to my tight schedule, I opted for the Nissan dealership’s fast-charging station. After being offered a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and free wifi, I began to realize that everything will be fine. The need to recharge the car’s batteries gave me a chance to recharge my own batteries. There is a deep lesson there.

The next day, I had to get myself down to Denver again. This time, I prepared the night before by locating the charging stations that were in close proximity to my appointment in Denver. A Whole Foods a few blocks away had two charging stations that would easily charge my car while I visited this client.

Why would Whole Foods decide to give me free electricity? This is like Safeway filling up your car with gas while you shop. It made no sense to me. As it turns out, it only costs 10 to 15 cents per hour to charge an electric car. Considering that I have a hard time leaving Whole Foods without spending at least $50, they might be onto something here. After my appointment, it was no surprise where I bought lunch.

This made me realize that as more EVs join the fleet of customer vehicles, offering free charging is going to bring in those customers. EV owners are younger and wealthier than hybrid-vehicle owners, on average. If you are looking to attract more tech-savvy, affluent customers, give them free electricity.

The cost to purchase and install an EV charging station is about $2,000, depending on how hard it is to get a 220-volt breaker installed at your location. In addition, the county has some rebate programs to trim the cost. It’s a small price to pay to not only walk the sustainability talk but to feed your business bottom line.

Boulder’s tech scene will only keep growing as the Googles of the world eye its beauty. Let’s welcome them to our area (and businesses) with a world-class EV charging infrastructure.

Shaun Oshman is founder and chief executive of iSupportU in Boulder. He can be reached at 303-630-9974 or shaun@isupportu.biz.

$3.5M methane-emissions test site to be built at CSU

FORT COLLINS — A facility for testing new technologies for detecting methane emissions at oil and gas extraction sites will be built this fall on Colorado State University property somewhere in the Fort Collins area.

A team of CSU researchers won the $3.5 million, three-year federal grant to create and operate the national facility, the school and the Department of Energy announced on Friday. The money comes from the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, or ARPA-E. All the teams doing research at the site, including CSU’s, will be funded under the ARPA-E MONITOR (Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions) program.

The facility will simulate a broad range of natural-gas production systems for testing technologies in real-world industry conditions. It will allow research teams from across the nation to test new technologies for enhanced sensing of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

“The Energy Department has invested in the methane-detection technology,” said principal investigator Daniel Zimmerle, a senior research associate at the CSU Energy Institute, in an interview with BizWest on Friday. “The cost of that detection has been lowered by an order of magnitude with some breakthrough technology. It used to be around $20,000; now it’s more like $2,000 or even $200. But what they need is a test facility to make sure those detectors are working.

“Our job is to assist in bringing these technologies to market,” he added. “We’ll help companies prove out solutions in a controlled environment prior to deployment in the field.”

The site will be located completely outside oil and gas basins, to allow for near-complete control of background and onsite emissions. But exactly where the facility will be built is yet to be determined, Zimmerle said.

“We are still working on that,” he said. “CSU has a number of properties in the Fort Collins area, and there’s some community-engagement process that we’ll have to manage as well. The site will be selected this summer, probably fairly soon.”

The facility will look “somewhat like a gas production site — almost like a movie set for an oil and gas facility,” he said, “There’ll be some gravel pads, a little bit of roadway — sort of the same type of construction that looks like putting a driveway into a rural home.

“The tallest part will be about 20 feet tall. We’re trying to simulate wind conditions and the air flow at a site.”

Bidding for the construction should take place in September or early October, he said, and the facility should be completed by mid-December because “construction is pretty minor.”

Joining Zimmerle’s CSU team will be Anthony Marchese, a professor of mechanical engineering; Jeffrey Collett, a professor of atmospheric science; Jeffrey Pierce, an assistant professor of atmospheric science; Clay Bell, a postdoctoral researcher at the CSU Energy Institute; Timothy Vaughn and Gerald Duggan, research associates at the institute; and Arsineh Hecobian, a postdoctoral researcher in atmospheric science. Partnering with the CSU researchers will be two representatives of Colorado School of Mines in Golden: Kathleen Smits, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Dag Nummedal, director of CSM’s Colorado Energy Research Institute.

The facility will consist of multiple sub-facilities that simulate different operations throughout the natural-gas industry supply chain: dry gas production, wet gas production, midstream compression, metering and regulating stations, and underground pipelines.

Companies from Boulder, Larimer counties picked for Cleantech Open

Several companies from the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado are among 13 teams from the Rocky Mountain region that have been selected to participate in the Cleantech Open, which bills itself as the world’s largest cleantech accelerator.

Participants include Boulder-based Agua Inc. and Big Blue Technologies, Lafayette-based Commute Matters Inc., Loveland-based Wave Solar Technologies and Fort Collins-based Global Village Power LLC.

In its 10-year history, the Redwood City, Calif.-based Cleantech Open, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has helped 1,036 startups accelerate their businesses, raising $1.135 billion in funding and creating 3,067 cleantech jobs, according to its figures. The organization runs a six-month program to connect startups with people, resources and visibility.

“Once again, cleantech entrepreneurs in the Rocky Mountain region are developing some of the most creative and compelling solutions to our most pressing energy, environmental and economic challenges,” said Korri Stainbrook, Cleantech Open regional co-director for the Rocky Mountain Region, in a media release. “We look forward to helping them move to the next phase of their business development with our proven accelerator program.”

Over the next few months, the teams will receive coaching from Cleantech Open’s network of business mentors, one-on-one consulting with specialists, a business boot camp at the Cleantech Open National Academy and extensive local supporting events, training and materials. This support helps each team develop a comprehensive business plan and investor pitch that will be presented to professional investors and experts to determine which teams will advance to the finals.

Rocky Mountain region sponsors for the Open include EKS&H, Marsh Fischmann Breyfogle and Polsinelli, Dorsey, Daikin and Siemens. Organizational partners include Innosphere, the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, National Renewable Energy Lab, Colorado Small Business Development Center, Rockies Venture Club and Sustainable Startups.

More information is online at cleantechopen.org.

Nicol to quit as head of Dynamic Materials’ NobelClad business

BOULDER — NobelClad, the explosion-welding business segment of Boulder-based Dynamic Materials Corp. (Nasdaq: BOOM), is launching a search to find a replacement for president and general manager Jeff Nicol.

Nicol, who came to Dynamic Materials in 2008, announced Friday that he will resign June 14 and return to Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) in Pennsylvania, where he had worked for 21 years.

“He’s got lots of family there and deep roots,” said Geoffrey High, vice president for investor relations and corporate communications at Dynamic Materials.

Nicol had become chief metallurgist and global marketing director for Alcoa, and will return to that company as senior manager for aerospace and defense at its technical center in New Kensington, Pa., High said.

Dynamic Materials is headquartered at 5405 Spine Road in Gunbarrel. Through its NobelClad business, it manufactures explosion-welded clad metal plates, which are used to make equipment used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas. The company has manufacturing operations in Germany, Russia and East Asia. Its DynaEnergetics business develops, manufactures and markets advanced explosive components and systems used to perforate oil and gas wells.

BizWest 500 highlights largest, fastest-growing companies

Purchase this new publication by clicking BizWest 500. For a preview of the content, here’s the first page.

Welcome to the BizWest 500, an ambitious undertaking that highlights the largest or fastest-growing companies throughout the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado (and the highest-paid executives).

This special edition of BizWest aggregates content that previously had been published over a span of many months, but it also represents a dramatic increase in the data that we publish on the region’s largest private- and public-sector employers.

In these pages, you’ll find:

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Boulder Valley, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in Northern Colorado, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• A list of the Top 25 highest-paid executives of public companies.

• A list of the 50 largest public-sector employers, including municipalities, counties, universities, federal laboratories, etc.

• A vastly expanded list of the region’s largest employers — 200 companies listed, compared with 50 published last year.

• A list of the largest publicly traded companies based in our region. (We’ve stretched this a bit, opting to include a handful of companies that have shifted their headquarters to the Denver area or other nearby cities, but which retain a significant presence in our region.)

All told, these lists represent the largest number of ranked lists we’ve ever published in one issue, outside of our annual Book of Lists publication.

Most companies cited in these lists responded to our surveys. Others are included based on BizWest estimates, reports by economic-development agencies, news accounts or other sources. Data for the public companies and highest-paid executives lists came entirely from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This endeavor represents many months of work by our staff, especially our chief researcher, Chad Collins. As with any undertaking of this magnitude, errors and omissions are likely. In particular, our lists of the largest private-sector and public-sector employers will continue to be refined and expanded. If you’d like to see your company included — or if you spot a mistake or other omission — please contact Chad at ccollins@bizwestmedia.com.

It should be noted that we’ve opted to include aggregated numbers for some employers, such as major health systems, as well as numbers for some of their constituent institutions, i.e., a hospital within the system.

If you have a suggestion for the BizWest 500 next year, please feel free to contact me at the number below.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or cwood@bizwestmedia.com.

Fort Collins team 1 of 3 winners at Go Code Colorado business app challenge

FORT COLLINS — For the third year in a row on Thursday night, a Fort Collins team was among the three winners of the Go Code Colorado statewide business app competition.

The team Regulation Explorer — which has created a platform that helps energy companies determine the best sites to drill for oil and gas based on government regulations such as proximity to schools — joined Colorado Springs-based Hively and Denver-based Foodcaster in taking home $25,000 each to help them build out their apps.

Run by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office, Go Code Colorado charges developers and entrepreneurs with making use of public data available through the office to solve business problems and make better business decisions.

Five judges chose the winners from among 10 finalists at Thursday night’s finals event in Denver.

Members of the Regulation Explorer team included Emily Hueni, Danielle Leighton, Janel Guerrero, Sam Richard, Wojciech Magda, Kelly Wilson and Ronald Stites. The group’s aim with Regulation Explorer is to make the oil and gas siting process faster and less costly for energy companies, while also creating transparency for communities and government officials.

“There’s a great need for information regarding regulations,” Hueni said in a press release. “We are excited to put oil and gas regulations on the map through the help of Go Code.”

As for the other two winners Thursday, Hively has created a platform for companies to connect with potential employees based on personality match and not just skills and knowledge. Foodcaster, meanwhile, is an app to help food-truck owners find the best location to park by informing them of parking regulations, foot-traffic metrics, local events and other information.

CU Boulder researchers to develop energy-saving window film

BOULDER — The University of Colorado Boulder has received a $1.8 million grant to develop a window coating that could improve buildings’ energy efficiency.

The grant came from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

The CU team is using liquid crystals, widely known for their technological use in smartphones and flat-panel high-definition televisions, to create a transparent, solid film that is thermally insulating, soundproof and resists water condensation. Associate physics professor Ivan Smalyukh and mechanical engineering professor Ronggui Yang lead the team.

“Buildings consume about 40 percent of the energy expended annually in the United States,” said Yang in a prepared statement. “We think we can dramatically increase the energy efficiency of windows without compromising transparency and other functions.”

The liquid crystal-based aerogel — a synthetic, porous and ultralight material — can be created by using rodlike, cellulose nanoparticles, each with a diameter nearly a million times smaller than a grain of sand, said Smalyukh. Derived from food-industry waste or glucose with the help of a specific bacteria grown by the team, the rodlike nanoparticles spontaneously self-assemble into a liquid crystal, he said.

A key step in the process is to replace the water in the liquid crystal material with air, transforming it into flexible aerogel film.

“The material will be lightweight, insulating, mechanically stable, flexible and inexpensive,” said Smalyukh.

The cellulose-based liquid crystals are designed to self-organize and can be “pre-engineered” to assure transparency in the visible light range and high reflectivity in a selected part of the infrared spectrum that keeps the buildings cool or warm as needed. Dubbed “Air Film” by the team, the aerogel material is more than 99 percent air.

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will be involved in the effort, said Smalyukh, who also is a fellow at the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

The grant is part of DOE’s Single-Pane Insulating Efficient Lucid Design, or SHIELD, program, which is expected to accelerate the development of materials that could halve the amount of heat lost through single-pane windows without replacing them, said Yang.

Air Film will have the ability to be laminated on the surface of existing windowpanes. The team aims to produce films that consumers can easily apply, which would decrease costs by eliminating professional installation labor expenses.

The CU-Boulder grant was one of 14 grants totaling $31 million for window-efficient technologies awarded by Energy Department officials. Experts estimate that retrofitting widows rather than replacing them could reduce heat loss and save roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million U.S. homes each year.

In December, the DOE awarded another CU-Boulder research team $4 million over three years to develop an inexpensive, paintable coating to retrofit energy-inefficient windows. The infrared-reflective coating is expected to drastically reduce cooling costs for both residential and commercial structures, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Mercury 100 event to honor Boulder Valley’s fastest-growing companies

LAFAYETTE – Tickets are on sale for Mercury 100 Boulder Valley, an annual event presented by BizWest that recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

The Boulder Valley Mercury 100 list is ranked by percentage revenue growth over a two-year  period. Up until last year, the list was divided into two “flights” of 50 companies each. Beginning in 2015, however, the Mercury 100 has been divided into five flights of 20 each, with the highest revenue earners in Flight I. Those 20 companies then are ranked by their percentage revenue growth from 2013 to 2015. The lists are compiled by BizWest’s research department and vetted by Anton Collins Mitchell.

The top five companies in each flight will be introduced during the event, and representatives of most of the 100 companies will be in attendance.

This year’s event — including the recognition ceremony, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and opportunities for networking — will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at the Lionsgate Event Center, 1055 S. 112th St. in Lafayette. Tickets can be purchased online at for $49 until Monday, May 23, or until they’re sold out. If seats remain available the evening of the event, they’ll sell for $59 at the door.

Sponsors include Anton Collins Mitchell, First National Bank, Three Leaf Concepts, Lionsgate
Event Center, Centennial Bank and Trust, Boulder Blooms, Daylight Productions and Rentals, Foothills United Way, RSM U.S. LLP, SurveyGizmo, GrafXGroup, RSM, Wyatt’s Wet Goods and the Left Hand, Avery and Oskar Blues breweries.

A seat at the table: Women not well-represented in local boardrooms

Women are still scarce on Colorado public company boards of directors.

Out of the top 27 publicly traded companies based in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties — or with strong local connections — only a handful have more than 20 percent women on their boards, including Heska Corp., WhiteWave Foods Co., Vail Resorts Inc., Zayo Group Holdings Inc., DigitalGlobe, Inc. and Gaiam Inc., and 12 don’t have any female representation on their boards at all.

Nationwide, the average is 18.8 percent, up from just 14.6 percent in 2011, according to the 2015 Gender Diversity Index issued by 2020 Women on Boards, a nonprofit grassroots campaign that is committed to increasing the percentage of women who serve on company boards to 20 percent or greater by the year 2020.

Forty-five percent of all companies nationwide now have 20 percent or greater women on their board.

The organization tracks progress for women on boards among the Fortune 1000 companies. Of the 842 active U.S. public companies examined, 664 of them earned the group’s “W” designation, meaning they are a winning company that has 20 percent or more board seats filled with female directors. Women gained 75 board seats in 2015, compared with 52 board seats in those companies in 2014, the group found.


“You don’t have to have someone on the board with industry experience. Sometimes it is useful to have someone from outside the industry who doesn’t have lessons to unlearn about that industry’s lore. They bring a fresh perspective.”

Jason Napolitano, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, executive vice president, Heska Corp.


Every sector has seen growth in the numbers of women placed on boards, the report found. The number of companies with zero women on their boards has also decreased to 9 percent from 18 percent in 2011.

The group ranks companies with 11 percent to 19 percent women on their boards as “V” for very close to where they need to be. Companies with only one woman board member are ranked “T” for token. Companies with zero women on their boards receive a “Z” rating.

‘Value inherent in diversity’

The founders of 2020 Women on Boards believe that gender diversity strengthens the U.S. economy.

“Good corporate decision-making requires the ability to hear and consider different points of view, which comes from people who have different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives,” the organization said. “Companies that have women directors and executive officers lead by example. They send a clear message that they value diversity of thought and experience. Advancing women to positions of leadership is smart business.”

Ball Corp., which is the largest publicly traded company in the area with $8.6 billion in revenue in 2014 and 14,500 employees worldwide, has one female director out of nine directors.

In its proxy statement, the company said that its nominating and corporate governance committee “consistently applies the principles of diversity in its consideration of candidates for Board positions. In addition to considering characteristics such as race, gender and national origin, the Committee considers a variety of other characteristics such as business and professional experience, education and skill, all leading to differences of viewpoint and other individual qualities that contribute to Board heterogeneity.”

Heska Corp. topped our list of companies with winning boards of directors. The company, which is headquartered in Loveland, has a six-person board of directors, three of whom are women.

It is the only company out of 27 companies examined that had complete gender equity on its board.

Back of a chair in the board room

Back of a chair in the board room

In its annual proxy statement the company said that its Corporate Governance Committee does not have “an established policy for diversity of Director nominees or appointees. However, we believe diversity is inherent in our approach of seeking high quality individuals with complementary skills to create a group dynamic and decision making process that is even stronger than would be obtained by the mere summation of its individual contributors in isolation.”

Jason Napolitano, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, executive vice president and secretary at Heska Corp., said that his company’s emphasis is on strong board candidates first, bringing people with good business experience.

“We also recognize that there is value inherent in diversity, where you get different perspectives in the room all at once. That often will lead to a sum being greater than a bunch of individuals contributing alone,” he said.

Heska developed a range of blood diagnostic solutions for treating pets. Because the company works closely with veterinarians, it wants to make sure its board reflects that demographic. About 70 percent of veterinarians are women, he said.

“At the board level, it would be nice to have women because, increasingly, our customers are women,” he said.

Zayo aims for 50/50

Public companies across the country have said they don’t have women on their boards because they are involved in industries that women are not attracted to, such as energy and minerals.

“You don’t have to have someone on the board with industry experience,” Napolitano said. “Sometimes it is useful to have someone from outside the industry who doesn’t have lessons to unlearn about that industry’s lore. They bring a fresh perspective.”


“It is not a charitable contribution to the general idea of diversity. The company gets value out of that. Zayo has found we improved our numbers across the diversity spectrum, which has provided value for our company. Our bottom line has improved significantly.”

Jarrod Tisdell, vice president of people, culture and brand, Zayo Group


He added that he “can’t think of any industries where women have been disqualified. It seems to me you should be able to find a woman in any industry.”

Zayo Group Holdings Inc. was another company that beat the average on board gender diversity, with 37.5 percent of its eight directors being women.

Jarrod Tisdell, vice president of people, culture and brand within Zayo Group Holdings in Boulder, said that his company has made a pointed effort in the past year and moving forward to get more diversity on its board of directors and companywide.

Zayo’s goal is to get the company to a 50/50 split on the board and in the company within the next five to 10 years.

It has always been a principle of the company’s CEO, Dan Caruso, but this year the company made the effort to spend money on human capital in the company and outside the company to help it achieve its goals. The company attends women in technology and women in business events to not only recruit good candidates but also to let people know that Zayo is a “place they would want to come work and thrive,” Tisdell said.

From board room to bottom line

Zayo wants to make sure it has people on its board who understand Zayo’s core business and what makes sense for its plans moving forward, but it doesn’t want to limit it to telecom or fiber people. It also wants to include individuals with a broader understanding of financial markets, equity markets and business in general.

In response to companies that say they just can’t find women to hold leadership or director positions, Tisdell said they are “not trying hard enough. …The telecom and technology industry is very heavily male-dominated and it is hard to get the numbers up where we want them to unless we are willing to put resources toward that effort.”

Adding women to leadership and board positions is a value proposition, he said.

“It is not a charitable contribution to the general idea of diversity. The company gets value out of that. Zayo has found we improved our numbers across the diversity spectrum, which has provided value for our company. Our bottom line has improved significantly,” Tisdell said. “People say they have a hard time finding it, but they are not thinking creatively enough or are not willing to put money upfront to get that done.”

Gaiam Inc., headquartered in Louisville, also has 37.5 percent women board members. In its proxy statement, it said that its board of directors reviews and assesses the appropriate skills, experience and background sought for members of the board.

“This assessment of board skills, experience, and background includes numerous diverse factors, such as independence; understanding of and experience in consumer product businesses, technology, finance, and marketing; international experience; age; and gender and ethnic diversity.”

It adds that the company doesn’t expect each director to have the same background, skills or experience but it does expect that “board members will have a diverse portfolio of backgrounds, skills and experiences.”

Large company numbers up

Larger companies do a better job of including women board members, according to 2020 Women on Boards. Since 2011, those numbers have continued to increase. In 2015, 22.9 percent of board seats for the Fortune 100 Index companies were held by women, or about 2.7 women directors per board. Of the Fortune 500 Index companies, 20.1 percent of board seats were held by women or an average of 2.2 women directors per board, the organization found.

In Colorado, which has 23 Fortune 1000 companies, 14.6 percent of those board seats were held by women. Statewide, the Gender Diversity Index was 14.8 percent, up slightly from 14 percent in 2014, according to 2020 Women on Boards.

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