The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC has named Vance Brown, founder and chairman of Cherwell Software and CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center, as 2018 Business Citizen of the Year, its top award.
Brown and two partners started Cherwell in 2004 to come up with software that would help keep computers, networks and other information technology equipment running properly. The company has grown to 480 employees, including 280 at its headquarters in the InterQuest business park, and has landed investments of more than $220 million from private equity giant KKR.
He also became CEO of the cybersecurity center last year and led a shift in its role from a membership-based fire department for computer hacks suffered by small businesses into a self-supporting think tank for online security. He also has expanded the nonprofit’s annual symposium with big-name speakers that attracted twice as many participants this year.
Brown and his wife donated $100,000 to start an accelerator in Colorado Springs for startups specializing in cybersecurity, blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. The nonprofit, Exponential Impact, brought four startups to the Springs for an 11-week program to help them grow to thriving businesses.
He was CEO of GoldMine Software and co-founded The Classical Academy charter school.
“Vance is a dynamic leader who cares deeply for Colorado Springs, and contributions and commitment to our community have made a significant and positive difference in our business and entrepreneurial” environment, Dirk Draper, the chamber’s CEO, said in a news release.
“Cherwell and the National Cybersecurity Center can operate anywhere in the world, but Vance’s belief in Colorado Springs has kept them here, along with its ever-growing number of high-quality employees — all of which provides invaluable career and wealth generating opportunities for our citizens,” Schuck Communities CEO Steve Schuck said in the release.
The award recognizes someone who contributes to the economic growth and prosperity of the Colorado Springs area, is active in civic affairs and is willing to pitch in in business and community initiatives. The chamber also presented the Business Citizen Award and four others at its annual gala Saturday at The Broadmoor International Center:
• New Business of the Year — Formstack, an Indianapolis company that sells software that captures and manages information from online forms, opened an office in downtown Colorado Springs late last year with plans to hire 55 people during the next five years. The office will serve as a hub for Formstack’s outbound sales, midmarket and enterprise team, though many of its employees work from home.
• Company Investment of the Year — International software giant SAP America spent $129 million to build a 60,000-square-foot data center in southern Colorado Springs and a 40,000-square-foot data center in northern Colorado Springs. Data centers are large buildings that house computer servers and other equipment that companies use to operate websites and internal networks.
• Company of the Year — The Broadmoor celebrated its 100th anniversary in June as it hosted the four-day Senior Open golf tournament. The resort, which has earned the top ratings from both AAA for 42 consecutive years and Forbes Travel Guide for 58 consecutive years, previously hosted the tournament in 2008 and will again host the event in 2025.
• Military Affairs Award of Excellence — Denny Cripps, a retired Army colonel who served many roles around the world before ending his career at Fort Carson, where he commanded an aviation brigade and served as chief of staff and deputy commander for support of the 4th Infantry Division. He retired in 1998, served as assistant administrator for El Paso County and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the chamber’s Military Affairs Council.