Kidney-care company DaVita is feeling at home on the Front Range By Ann Schrader The Denver Post Posted: 02/12/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
Relocation of DaVita Inc.'s headquarters from California to Colorado has been "one of the better decisions" the kidney-care company has made in the past 10 years, according to chief executive Kent Thiry.
"Our people are very happy here," Thiry said.
More than 300 employees — called "teammates" by DaVita — relocated or are new to the Fortune 500 company since Thiry announced in May 2009 that Colorado beat out other suitors for DaVita's hand. That's 300 well-paying jobs new to the state, allowing DaVita to take advantage of a Colorado income-tax credit of 3.8 percent for up to five years because the company has created at least 20 jobs. Such incentives were essential, Thiry said, "but it was equally important to consider places that didn't offer too many incentives."
Colorado's lifestyle, climate, central location and lower costs made it desirable. The area's warm welcome, friendliness, quality of life and lots of sunshine and recreational opportunities have made DaVita teammates to fall in love with having "a true home office" here, Thiry said.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Feb. 23 — with Gov. John Hickenlooper in attendance — for a $101 million, 270,000-square-foot building that DaVita is constructing as a home office near Denver's Union Station.
About 450 and eventually 900 of DaVita's 34,000 teammates will work in the facility. About 1,000 DaVita teammates work in Colorado, including 40 kidney-dialysis centers.
"As a company, they have probably made one of the smoothest entrances into the community that I've seen in years," said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.
DaVita executives sit on area business and nonprofit boards, and DaVita employees volunteer at two dozen organizations. Thiry has agreed to join the 21-member task force that will recommend fixes for the city and county of Denver's budget woes.
Thiry's wife, Denise O'Leary, who is nationally known for public and private board work, is looking at Colorado opportunities.
The state's atmosphere is better than what Thiry expected for his team and himself, remarking on what he called a "refreshing" aspect.
"I go to meetings where business, government and academic leaders talk respectfully while trying to figure out a common plan," Thiry said. "That doesn't exist everywhere." Ann Schrader: 303-954-1967 or firstname.lastname@example.org