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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'd almost forgotten...

What a wonderful town Grand Junction is. I'm in town for two days interviewing for our Business Services Representative based in our new Grand Junction offices. The new offices are not far from our old offices on the northeast side of town. I stopped by on my way into town to make sure I could find them in the morning and it looks like a beautiful building. The drive from Denver is always longer than I recall but tonight I lucked out with not much traffic, the predicted mountain snow held off, the twin tunnels were done with construction for the evening, and I arrived in Grand Junction just as the sun was setting. If you have never been to the western slope you drive by the Grand Mesa to the south, and then through the town of Palisade where there are vineyards producing some great Colorado wines, before arriving in Grand Junction which is nestled up against the Colorado National Monument.

There was still snow on the top 500 feet in elevation on Grand Mesa but Grand Junction climatically appears to be a solid month ahead of Denver. The flowering trees are in full bloom, the grass is green, and there is a smell of fresh vegetation in the air that reminds me that summer is just around the corner. I even saw a gentleman mowing his yard. My lawn in Denver still has snow on it and even the spring crocus are only making a desultory effort to poke their heads out of the still chilly soil.

I'm staying at a hotel on historic Main Street and after checking in went for a walk to stretch my legs. At this time of night most of the shops were already closed and the restaurants and bars were hosting only light mid-week traffic. Main Street has a lot of boutique style shopping, a couple of great bike shops, some interesting restaurants serving up a wide variety of cuisines, and some really great art work. Walking the couple of blocks that make up downtown Grand Junction harkens back to small town America when vibrant downtowns were still important in the daily life of most Americans.

Though I refer to Grand Junction as a town, it really is a city and I know that just a couple of miles from where the historic downtown area is located there are the typical suburbs, malls, and big box stores and chain restaurants you can find in Anywhere, America but it was really nice to stroll along Main Street, soak up the ambiance of a quiet evening and just relax.

Tomorrow we'll be interviewing a group of local folks and after the two days we'll hopefully have found Pinnacol's newest employee.  We had a lot of interest in our position here and while we couldn't interview everyone who applied we are sincerely greatful for the interest shown in becoming a part of our company. I look forward to meeting all of the candidates and am secretly jealous of whoever ultimately is selected. Denver may be my home, but if I ever had the chance to relocate Grand Junction would be high on my wish list, especially on a warm spring night like this one.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tips for interviewing... Do You Have the Body Language of a Champion?

I get many calls from candidates who have received the dreaded decline letter who ask me for feedback about what they could have done better in the interview. Entrepreneur  has an excellent article that came my way via LinkedIn that covers a lot of the feedback I might share with candidates. Entitled "Do You Have the Body Language of a Champion", its a great take on how to make a great physical impression when interacting with others and some things we should all try to avoid doing.

If you check out the article make sure to click on the two links 10 Body Language Tips Every Speaker Must Know and 4 Body Language Cues You Need to Know When Networking. If more candidates exhibited some of these behaviors in their interviews they would help their chances of success immensely!

Our new CEO keeping up the volunteer tradition...

Pinnacol employees, through Pinnacol In Action, have volunteered with the Food Bank of the Rockies since 2011. March 28th saw our new CEO, Phil Kalin, along with thirty other Pinnacol employees pack a staggering 5,891 pounds of food into boxes during a three-hour period. To put that into perspective, it normally takes the Food Bank two days and four full shifts to pack that much food. The group also had an opportunity to tour the Food Bank facility with its CEO Kevin Seggelke.

"When I first arrived at Pinnacol, I heard about Pinnacol in Action and the amazing generosity our employees demonstrate by giving their time and talent to the many nonprofits in our community," said Kalin"Last Friday I witnessed that generosity first hand at the Food Bank of the Rockies event." 

The Food Bank distributes food to 1,000 agencies that serve more than 1,300 hunger relief programs. Its biggest need for volunteers is in the preparation for shipping food to these programs.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"PLAY (snow) BALL!"

Well, it's almost here. Opening day of baseball season in Colorado. Mother nature is all dressed up for the occasion in her best white coat. First pitch is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 2:10 p.m. and appropriately for the welcoming weather we will be hosting our sun-drenched neighbors the Arizona Diamondbacks. Any self-respecting Colorado rattlers won't be poking their flicking tongues out today. The calendar may say Spring but we do appreciate the Diamondbacks making the effort to visit us in the midst of this beautiful winter wonderland that we have arranged just for them.

Of course if you read this blog tomorrow you may wonder what I'm talking about. The notoriously fickle Colorado weather may throw a curve ball of its own and we could see all this snow melt under rain and even see some sun peeking through the dark clouds of this morning. The weather for opening day is always a little problematic in Colorado. Organized baseball in our state harkens all the way back to 1862 and a gentleman by the name of George Tebeau who organized a team called the Denvers. George went on in 1900 to help found the American League so he must have been quite the fan. He would have probably chuckled to see today's weather. Colorado is one of only a few states that can not only boast of rain delays but true snow delays.

Whether that first pitch gets hurled at 2:10 p.m. tomorrow or not, today is still a uniquely beautiful morning. Despite the hassle of yet another slushy, snowy commute take the time to admire the trees all covered in white and the big fat flakes typical of spring snow drifting slowly across your windshield. You'll likely have plenty of time to soak up the winter ambiance as you crawl through some of the major intersections where the lights aren't working.

We have a very nice office building in a very pretty part of the city. I've often thought our building is especially pretty when covered in a fresh mantle of snow. By this time of the year I  admit I would prefer a little more sunshine and warmer temperatures, but when  Mother Nature throws a surprise party all you can do is put on your best party (winter) hat and try to enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Business Intelligence Analyst opportunity now available...

Business Intelligence and "Big Data" are being talked about at almost every company out there. We've had a strong Business Intelligence team for nearly as long as I have been with the company (17 years, but who's counting?). This team is instrumental in making sense of the terrabytes of data that are integral to operating our business in today's world. We have a rare opportunity for an experienced Business Intelligence Analyst to join this team.

The ideal candidate will be a great communicator as they will work with teams throughout our organization. They will need the technical expertise to support projects that require heavy analysis and problem solving. Our Business Intelligence Analysts work independently and as part of a team to design and construct BI solutions to effectively communicate findings to management and help devise business intelligence strategies. You'll definitely need to have expertise with reporting tools (Brio, Hyperion, Microstrategy, or the like), expert level problem-solving ability and 3-5 years experience with databases. A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Project management skills and insurance experience a plus. If interested in this unique opportunity please apply online!

Friday, March 14, 2014

That's stretching it...

In January Pinnacol was recognized as one of the 100 Healthiest Workplaces in America. It's always nice to receive these awards but I appreciate the time and effort that goes into the programs that make us eligible to even be considered for this type of recognition. Our Everyday Wellness program, ably managed by Vanessa and Paige, offers all sorts of programs to help employees remain active at work. From our now famous Treadmill Relays to our onsite wellness center and fitness classes, we have many options to choose from. I'm an avid cyclist, and we even have two bicycles available for free checkout so employees can go out for a spin. We also host monthly stretching sessions and many of our teams do daily stretching sessions on their own.

Now that the weather is finally starting to turn nice a lot of us are trying to shake those late winter blues by becoming more active. On April 30th we'll again be hosting the 9HeathFair and we'd encourage everyone to take advantage by visiting one of the 9HealthFair locations around town. Wellness doesn't just happen but at Pinnacol it seems that it's become another important part of our culture.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Software Development Manager opportunity now available!

We are looking for a Software Development Manager to manage and mentor the individual performance of the Application Services Developers that are assigned to our product development teams.  
Candidates for this role should be able to apply proven communication skills, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of best practices to guide his or her development team on issues related to the design, development, and deployment of mission-critical information and software systems.  This position leads our developers to establish consistency in software development best practices and standards, in collaboration with and approval of our Architecture Review Board.  The Software Development Manager also establishes and enforces performance standards and skill requirements for software developers across application services product teams and collaborates with other Application Services leaders and teams, and provides recommendations to management. 
Candidates must have proven team leadership skills to lead a medium-sized team of software developers.  A Bachelor’s Degree in any field, management or leadership experience in the information technology arena, and five years development experience is preferred. If interested we are asking candidates to apply on-line.
A quick note to our staffing partners: we are not asking for assistance regarding this position at this time.