Even though David Jenkins' Nor'wood Development Group is one of the city's most successful real estate companies and he was a leader in the successful effort to transform Colorado Springs city government into a strong mayor system, he prefers not to be the center of attention.
On Friday, however, Jenkins allowed the spotlight to find him. He was honored by family members, friends and colleagues with the sixth annual Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award from the College of Business at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The award was presented during a luncheon at UCCS attended by about 475 people.
While the award signifies someone with entrepreneurial qualities, Jenkins, 71, was honored as much for his commitment to the community, his family and his church as he was for his achievements with Nor'wood, where he serves as chairman.
Nor'wood, founded in 1978, has developed the First & Main Town Center along Powers Boulevard, the city's biggest shopping center and one of several retail projects; the south tower of the Plaza of the Rockies downtown office complex; the Powers Autopark on the city's northeast side; the Nor'wood and Wolf Ranch residential neighborhoods, and several apartment complexes either on its own or with partners.
"Dave is a determined guy," said developer Chuck Murphy, last year's entrepreneurship winner. Murphy lauded Jenkins' business acumen and toughness - including the time he vigorously fought a federal agency that was seizing developers' land after the savings-and-loan crisis of the late 1980s.
UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said Jenkins' entrepreneurial spirit doesn't stop with business. She said he's been a major contributor to the university; led the effort to place a measure on the 2010 ballot calling for a strong-mayor form of government that voters approved, and has backed the City for Champions tourism initiative.
"He's a serial entrepreneur in building our community," Shockley-Zalabak said.
In comments by other community members, and in a video tribute from his wife, Susie, sons Chris, Chad and Marc and his Nor'wood colleagues, Jenkins was praised as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He takes a day off each week to spend with grand kids, is an avid bike rider and skier who once rode a helicopter to the top of a Canadian mountain for a downhill run and has a penchant for Porsches that he and co-workers take to race tracks for competitive runs.
But above all, Jenkins' faith guides him, they said. He's a devoted member of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Colorado Springs and contributes time and money to the church.
"I'm overwhelmed and humbled by this recognition," Jenkins said.
He shared the award with his late business partner of 35 years, Kent Petre, who died in late 2012, and thanked Nor'wood associates "who make our company viable."
Jenkins was typically reserved in his comments, but passed along several guiding principles to the audience. Among them: Integrity is easy to lose and hard to keep; actions speak louder than words; do what is right, not what is convenient or benefits you more; do your best at every task because it will make you happy, no matter what you do; never give up because failure will teach you more than success, and, quoting Mother Teresa, give until it hurts.
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