Business Bureau serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming. In industries from accounting to waste hauling, agriculture to manufacturing, energy management to homebuilding, the winners of the 2010 Torch Award for Business Ethics represent a dedication to doing the right thing for their customers, their employees and their
Nominations were researched and prepared by business students at the University of Wyoming, University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University. In addition to the awards, the BBB and the Rotary Clubs presented a $5,000 scholarship to Laura Jo Washle, a senior at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, which she intends to use this fall when she attends Creighton University.
11 EMPLOYEES OR LESS
Doing the right thing at Spanjer Homes
For more than 30 years, Spanjer Homes has been building quality homes in Northern Colorado. Steve Spanjer founded Spanjer Construction Corp. in Fort Collins in 1978. The company started slowly, doing remodels, carpentry work and the occasional spec home, over time building a reputation for its distinctive interior trim work and furniture-quality woodworking detail.
In 2003, the company changed its name to Spanjer Homes and continues to be known for its one-of-a-kind custom homes. But the reason for the company's success goes beyond quality workmanship. Steve Spanjer says it's a foundation of good ethics.
"What's kept us going through 30 years is treating people like we'd want to be treated," he said. "Building homes and friendships is what it says on our business cards. It's all about the relationships we have and the values we project."
Spanjer cites an incident that took place during the devastating flood that struck Fort Collins in 1997 as an example of those relationships and values. An out-of-town couple worried about their townhome built by Spanjer asked if Steve would check on the
unoccupied structure. He and his wife, Barb, checked on the home several times during the storm and on one visit noticed a wall of water forming against a basement window.
The Spanjers spent the next 90 minutes bailing water out of window wells until the storm subsided and the flood danger had passed.
Spanjer Homes has a strong environmental ethic and was one of the first local builders to separate its wastes for recycling and reuse. For years, the company has been including green-friendly building practices in its construction, and Steve Spanjer earned the designation of Certified Green Professional from the National Association of Home Builders in 2009. "We incorporate those practices into everything we do," he said.
Steve Spanjer said the company's focus on relationships includes maintaining a family-style atmosphere among the firms' six employees. When hiring, the company looks first to values over experience because people can be trained for job skills but can't be taught values. "The overall balance of a person's life is real important here," he said.
- Steve Porter