Biz Buzz, May 11, 2014

A longtime Grand Junction insurance broker moved offices back to the place he built and worked in years ago.

Paul Bird of Paul Bird Insurance Agency, 125 Grand Ave., moved from a more remote location at 28 1/4 Road to an office building downtown that he designed and built with friends nearly 20 years ago.

Bird said he worked 32 years as a Farmers Insurance agent, but decided two years ago to go independent. Now he sells insurance products offered by up to 30 different companies, he said.

“This allows me to better cater the insurance to the client’s needs,” Bird said.

Back in 1995, Bird and some friends who were real estate agents decided to stop talking about building a commercial office and actually build one.

They bought the property, designed the space and built it in 1995, he said.

Now that he’s back, Bird said he’s glad he never sold his interest in the project. Now he rents from himself.

Bird said he and an associate specialize in selling commercial, homeowners, auto and workers compensation insurance products. Call 683-5479 for information.

■  A section of downtown Main Street remains closed until 5 p.m. today, the final day of the Art+Music Festival. Sunday’s program features a local performance showcase: Musicians and performers are invited to perform on the street starting at 11 a.m., or may take the stage at the open mic at Monument Stage at Third and Main streets to audition for a performance slot at the 2014 Farmers Market. Auditions at Monument Stage start at 12:30 p.m., the downtown Business Improvement District announced.

Tables and chairs will not be provided. People are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs if they’d like to sit down. As with all special events on Main Street, pets are not allowed by city ordinance, the district said.

■ In a first of its kind arrangement, a class of business majors from Colorado Mesa University, led by professor Stan Heister, will do a case study on Grand Junction manufacturer Reynolds Polymer with a focus on the emerging business markets of China, India and Brazil.

“We have a lot of bright young minds in the valley and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with,” Marketing Manager Ed Mueck said in a news release. “I was invited to come and speak to Mr. Heister’s class and learned that they were doing a semester project on emerging markets. Being impressed with what I saw, I asked them to work with us for the semester.”

The students are proposing strategies for Reynolds to gain further market share in foreign markets. They will present their recommendations to Reynolds Polymer management on Monday. The case studies involve real-life business conditions and challenges, Mueck said.

“We of course have strategies for these regions, but the idea of working with students and a fresh prospective intrigued me,” Executive Vice President Matt Houlihan said. “I’m excited about the possibilities. We gave the students unprecedented access to our inner workings and policies. This is a valuable opportunity for them to gain practical business experience before graduation.”

CMU students participating in the project included Mariah Bisson, Breanna Jones, Amanda Conrads, Amanda Ransier, Tim Fowler, Allie Henderson, Jordan Lyden, Eric Knickerbocker and Ryan Mixon.

White Lodging announced last week that the Residence Inn by Marriott, 767 Horizon Drive, has a new lobby and public space, thanks to a renovation that transformed the lodge into an upscale hotel, designed to enhance the comfort and lifestyle of travelers on the road today.

Owned by RLJ Lodging Trust, the hotel offers guests flexible spaces and amenities to help maintain a healthy balance and routine while traveling, according to a news release.

“When on the road for an extended period, our guests need space to spread out, to maintain their life’s pace and restore their energy,” global brand manager Diane Mayer said in a news release.

The hotel’s re-designed public space has been transformed into multi-functional living spaces. The new, open communal living space allows guests to connect with friends, family or colleagues in a modern living room style lounge and around the firepit in the outdoor open-air living room, she said

Complimentary wireless Internet and private nooks with personal high-definition flat screen televisions provide a private/public work space outside of the suites, Mayer said.

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