Evolution of business rewarding to observe

Phil Castle

One of the pleasures of working for a business journal in one place for an extended time is the opportunity to cover the evolution of companies and the people who lead them.

I’ve been fortunate over the past 20 years at the Business Times to report on a lot of changes at a lot of companies — everything from new products and services to new locations. In some instances, what started out as one venture morphed into something completely different. In a couple of instances, I’ve reported on the entire life cycle of enterprises — from their inauspicious origins, usually in some garage somewhere, to their rapid growth to their sale to other companies.

It’s more rewarding still to report on the people who start and run companies and follow their progress. A few of the people I met 20 years ago have remained in their positions in the same way I have, carrying on with their responsibilities. But others changed roles, sometimes dramatically, in joining other companies or even switching professions. Still others have retired, passing on their proverbial torches to younger colleagues. The longer I work here, the larger it seems the proportion of retired news sources grows.

What brings all this to mind is two stories in this issue reporting on a change in leadership at FCI Constructors and a change in ownership at what’s now the BG + co. architectural firm. At FCI, Shane Haas takes over as president of the construction management company following the retirement of Ed Forsman. At BG + co., Peter Iconegle, John Potter and Burke Martin take over ownership of the firm founded by Roy and Pamela Blythe. As is often the case with journalism, the timing of my reporting was more fortunate coincidence than careful planning.

I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reporting before on FCI and BG + co. — many times, in fact, because of their work on so many buildings in the Grand Valley. That includes the patient tower at SCL Health St. Mary’s Hospital as well as Grand Junction City Hall. FCI and BG + co. appeared in the same sentence in a recent story reporting the opening of the new headquarters for Timberline Bank. Moreover, FCI is a frequent winner of awards recognizing the company for the projects in which its involved and the support it offers so many charitable organizations.

While FCI and BG + co. are notable examples, they’re only two of many remarkable companies in the Grand Valley that have grown over the years and made increasingly larger contributions to the economy and community. Think Enstrom Candies, Leitner Poma and Reynolds Polymer, to specifically name three. Other companies have emerged more recently and are coming into their own.

That’s not to contend the progress of Grand Valley business has been even. Anything but. I’ve lost track of all the ups and downs of the economic cycles over the past 20 years. A lot of businesses have suffered in the latest downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Some won’t survive. That’s tragic.

But the long-term perspective has been one of growth. It’s a pleasure to work at a business journal and cover that evolution.