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Colorado District Office Saluted Local Small Business Winners

Release Date: 
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Release Number: 
Amy McDowell

Denver – The Colorado District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration proudly announced its 2013 Small Business Winners at SAME Rocky Mountain Joint Education Training Symposium on July 24: 


Colorado Small Business Person of the Year: Virginia McAllister - Principal, Iron Horse Architects, Inc.


IHA is an innovative architectural and design firm that primarily serves the federal, transportation, aviation, and science and technology markets, although Virginia is highly experienced in residential, mixed-use, hospitality, development, and planning.

Ms. McAllister’s diverse experience in development, design, and construction over the past 25 years has given her a breadth of experience in the practice of architecture.  She graduated from architecture school in 1991 and found a job teaching at the University Of Colorado Graduate School Of Architecture and Planning.  Anxious to get her license, Virginia joined Ohlson Lavoie Architects and started practice in Denver.  Subsequently, she worked at Archiventure Group where she was first introduced to the world of multifamily urban infill as the architect on the Metropolitan Lofts.  This was the first residential multifamily new construction in the now burgeoning Golden Triangle neighborhood.  Frustrated with the design-bid-build world, Virginia moved to BYG, an architect led design-build company, where she immersed herself in the real estate community, working on everything from land acquisition to entitlement to full design-build projects all over the Denver metro area. 

Ms. McAllister founded IHA in 2005, after a stint at Klipp where she was the core architect for the Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel.  It was there that the work on the Landmark started and finished ultimately at her firm, IHA.  The firm was started out of a desire to create a practice with a balance of design and constructability, work and life.  Founded at the brink of our country’s most recent recession, Ms. McAllister was able to keep the business alive by opening doors to new types of projects and taking in all kinds of design work.

As firm principal, Ms. McAllister is involved in and oversees all areas of the firm including Project Management, Interior/Architectural Design, and Business Development/Marketing.  In addition, Ms. McAllister has assisted clients in pro forma and due diligence, highest and best use, and programming studies to analyze land use projects for clients.  Her design skills have served clients well in producing buildings of lasting value both in design and quality, and she is an excellent mentor to the junior designers at the firm.   

Ms. McAllister credits her firm’s success to her ability to keep an open mind, willingness, and ability to work on a range of project types for a client.  Ms. McAllister was instrumental in the design and execution of The Landmark Development in Greenwood Village, which was redesigned eleven times to accommodate developing market information over the course of the design stage.  The project was and continues to be a successful example of Transit Oriented Development, as evidenced by the 4-hour sellout of the units in the first tower.

Ms. McAllister also supports small businesses, women, and minorities within the industry by regularly teaming with other women- owned businesses and other small businesses. Ms. McAllister also offers assistance to businesses looking to get their certifications or need help with marketing.    


Lender Categories:


The lender awards were presented to those lenders that have used SBA loan programs to help the maximum number of small business owners obtain financing needed to grow their businesses.  These lenders demonstrated their creativity by using SBA loan programs to assist those businesses that were not able to obtain conventional financing on reasonable terms.


  • Large Lender Award: 7(a) lenders with an outstanding loan portfolio of at least $100 million:   Live Oak Bank
  • Small Lender Award: 7(a) lenders with an outstanding loan portfolio of $100 million or less:  Central Bank & Trust
  • Large CDC Award: 504 Certified Development Company with an outstanding loan portfolio of at least $50 million: Colorado Lending Source
  • Small CDC Award: 504 Certified Development Company with an outstanding loan portfolio of less than $50 million: Pikes Peak Regional Development Corporation


Government Contracting Categories:


  • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year: This award honored small businesses that have provided the government with outstanding goods and services as prime contractors.
    • National and Region VIII Prime Contractor of the Year: Intecon, LLC. 6775 Rangewood Dr., Suite 200 Colorado Springs, CO  80918
  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year: This award honored small businesses that have provided the government and industry with outstanding goods and services as subcontractors.
    • Region VIII Subcontractor of the Year: Mountain Secure Systems 1350 Kansas Ave. Longmont, CO  80501
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