How hot is Colorado Springs, 63 miles south of Denver? A few years ago, Sun decided to shut down its engineering facility there. Hotshot programmers were offered jobs in Silicon Valley, but revolted--they wanted to stay put. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ken Hollen snatched them up, moved his start-up, ChannelPoint Inc., to Colorado Springs, and now is a leader in providing insurance on the Web. Who else is in Colorado Springs? The Air Force Academy churns out a stream of educated workers, who find jobs at Oracle, Gateway 2000, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and a growing number of start-ups.
Joanna Bean, technology reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, has the skinny:
Why it's hot: "People love to live here," Bean says. "It's a great family town." The still-modest cost of living is another boon.
What's not so hot: "The perception is that this is a conservative place, and there are many evangelicals and military personnel here," says Bean, who acknowledges Colorado Springs can be a tough town for singles.
Hot networking spot: Get out your hiking boots and mountain bike, because the best networking spots are the hiking and bike trails, often just 10 minutes from the office.
Power eats: Picnic spots on the trails are a safe bet, but for cushier surroundings, Bean points to Phantom Canyon, Jack Quinn and the Ritz downtown.