2018 Colorado Business Hall of Fame Laureate Bio: Barbara Barnes Grogan

Barbara Grogan founded Western Industrial Contractors (Western) in 1982 with a very inauspicious beginning. She bought a 1969 orange pick-up truck for $500, rented offices on an unpaved street and hired her first three employees. That first year, Western made its mark by moving an entire gasket manufacturing plant from New Jersey to Texas.

Western became a nationally recognized industrial construction company. They worked throughout the nation for some of our country’s largest companies and on security systems and baggage handling systems at more than 300 airports. They were the “white knights” who installed the alternate baggage handling system for Rapistan that allowed Denver International Airport to open in 1995. In September 2004, Grogan sold her interest in Western and the company continues to thrive.

In addition to serving as the CEO and chair of Western, Grogan has served on several NYSE corporate boards. She was the first female chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch and was the first female chairman of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Grogan has received numerous awards for significant accomplishments. She is the recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advocate of the Year Award, the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Business Leaders of the ’90’s Award and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Responsibility Award.

A driver of economic development, Grogan served as Gov. Roy Romer’s first Small Business Advisory Council chair and as the founding chair of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center. She was involved in the award of the Colorado Rockies franchise and the development of Coors Field. Most recently, she served on the Denver Union Station Project Authority Board.

In addition to business development initiatives, Grogan is deeply involved in the nonprofit community. She was one of the founding board members of Bright Beginnings. She was also the chair of Denver’s Road Home and Volunteers of America. She served on the board of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, the National Civic League and the Denver Foundation.

Since her retirement, Grogan has focused her time and energy primarily on K-college education and equity for all of our people. As a current trustee of Metropolitan State University of Denver, one of her current passions is immigration reform and helping DACA students attend and successfully graduate from college.

One thousand attendees paid tribute to the 2018 Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureates at the unforgettable 29th annual Colorado Business Hall of Fame induction celebration, presented by UMB Bank. The event was held on Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. View photos from the event>>