Event recognizes young business leaders in Denver community

Murugan Palani is among the Forty Under 40 business leaders being recognized by the Denver Business Journal

DENVER — University of Colorado Denver officials have been saying how the new Business School at Lawrence and 15th will energize the downtown corner. On Tuesday night, the buzz was on full display as the new building hosted a reception for 40 of Denver’s rising business stars.

For the 16th year, the Denver Business Journal is recognizing 40 local business leaders under the age of 40. The winners — nominated on the basis of their business leadership, accomplishments and community involvement — will be honored at a luncheon Thursday. Tuesday’s reception was an opportunity for the winners to mingle in a less formal atmosphere.

“This year, CU Denver asked if they could have (the reception) in their new space,” said Scott Bemis, president and publisher of the Denver Business Journal, “which we thought was a terrific idea.”

Forty Under 40 reception at Business School:

Of the new 120,000-square-foot building at 1475 Lawrence, which will be completely finished this summer, Bemis said, “I think the students would feel that they’re really in the middle of a business community and not a classroom, which is a real plus. They really start to get the feel for that business experience

Welcoming the young business leaders to the new building were Sueann Ambron, dean of the Business School, Chancellor Jerry Wartgow and Regent Michael Carrigan, a past Forty Under 40 winner.

Carrigan noted the “many incredible accomplishments” of CU Denver and the $6 billion redevelopment that is the Anschutz Medical Campus. “The Business School, the training you’ve just heard about (from Ambron and Wartgow), that’s the University of Colorado Denver. It’s the most diverse university in the entire Rocky Mountain West — right here.”

Murugan Palani, a 2002 CU Denver Business School graduate and current Forty under 40 winner, is grateful for the campus’s diversity and many opportunities to forge connections.

“I loved the fact we’re an urban campus,” said Palani, manager of supplier diversity at Xcel Energy, located just a couple blocks down the street. “You’re in close proximity to everything. For your Business School to be in the heart of downtown Denver where business is done, you can’t get better than that. The connections and the networks were great.”

Ambron noted that the Business School has 3,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Faculty, students and programs are moving from 15 different sites to be consolidated into the new building, which opened its first two floors at the start of the semester.

“We’re the largest graduate school of business in the Rocky Mountain region,” Ambron said. “We’re putting in a Center for Commodities and it will be the only one like it in the world.”

She told the audience that she spoke to some students who were wondering what event was happening in the lobby. Ambron said she told them she expected them to be among the next group of Forty Under 40 after they graduate.

“We’re very excited you’re here,” she told the honorees. “Congratulations. Come back often. In August we’ll have a grand opening.”

Ambron noted that the Business School wants to welcome as many people as it can through its doors. “It’s a good way to connect with the community,” she said.

(Photo: Murugan Palani is among the Forty Under 40 business leaders being recognized by the Denver Business Journal. He is a 2002 graduate of the CU Denver School of Business).

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