Have You Met?

On this glorious Colorado (sunny) winter day, at the start of the year 2008, I met the young and energetic Christopher Meza at a fun n’ funky, little Thai restaurant on 17th Avenue. Chris has established a wonderful friendship with Nita, the lovely owner of Chada Thai; and she knocked herself out to make a special “as good as it gets” lunch for us.

Chris Meza is the vice president and co-owner of Meza Construction Company along with his brother, John Meza the President. Chris manages contracting, marketing and many financial aspects of the company. When he and his brother founded Meza Construction in 1999, Chris brought the experience he gained while working in the finance and public relations fields in San Francisco since 1992. Meza also attributes the time he spent working in (then) President of Colorado State University Al Yates’ office, when he lived in his hometown Fort Collins, as an incredible learning experience. Chris says: “Working in Dr. Yates’ office taught me everything I needed to know to get started in the business world.” Chris’s company has contributed to, built, or managed some of Denver’s most visible projects such as the recent Denver Art Museum expansion project and the paving and concrete work at the new Ritz Carlton.

Both John and Chris are personally involved in the community donating their time and energy to many causes that each are passionate about. As part of the Meza Brothers ongoing commitment to make a difference in the community, Meza Construction has proudly sponsored such favorite events as “Complex Conformity” the preview opening of one of Denver's outstanding emerging artists, Frank T. Martinez. The preview opening was also sponsored by the Latina Initiative, a Denver-based organization that works to get Latinas to vote and to be involved in their communities and “Sixty Five Roses,” a Benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Colorado.

Chris has a warm personality and a fascinating mind that is always filled with the wide-eyed optimism of a recent Dale Carnegie "Power of Positive Thinking" course graduate. He is constantly looking for ways to evolve, learn more; and embrace all that life has to offer. With Chris's positive approach to all of his interactions, the goals of his clients are always a top priority, and mediocre results are not in the play book for Meza and his company.

Savoring the good life he has created for himself through hard work, and a little luck, Chris Meza is dialed in to what’s happening in Denver and in the non-profit world. Chris usually attends several charitable events a week. Always pumped, psyched, and ready to do his part, Chris, along with several other movers and shakers, are sponsoring a reception next week for Mark Udall who is running for a senate seat in Colorado. As much as he loved living in San Francisco, Chris Meza says he loves being in Denver and enthuses: “The wonderful people here make this town so incredibly livable!”

What’s the best charitable event you have ever been to? This year’s Women's Foundation of Colorado Luncheon with Cokie Roberts and Swanee Hunt. Not only was it for a wonderful cause, it was also one of the most successful events I have ever been to. The sold out luncheon raised $6M. The energy, passion and excitement in the room were palpable.

What non-profit organizations are you involved with at this time? Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver (board member and co-chair of opening gala), Denver Art Museum Young Associate (charter member), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Colorado (co-chaired/founded annual Wine Opener fundraiser), Denver Art Museum Le Jeune Salon (committee member), Denver Film Society (co-chair of 30th annual Starz Denver Film Festival), Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Commissioner for the Landmark Preservation Commission.

What event in general have you been to that is the “gold standard” of events? Any event that makes a difference in our community, touching and enhancing the lives of those in need is a “gold standard” event in my book.

What ability or talent do you wish you had more of? I’d like to improve my public speaking skills.

What or who has played an important part in your life? I have a very close and wonderful family. My brother is my best friend and business partner, my mother is my constant, and my partner Brian. My family is spread throughout the country, and when we gather, it never feels like there’s enough time.

What is your definition of a good friend? When you are with a good friend, you know that there’s no better place to be.

What has been your greatest challenge so far? Being in business with my brother has been the greatest reward as we continually grow and learn. Owning Meza Construction is also the greatest challenge of my life.

What really lifts your spirits? Being with friends and family.

What is your most glorious childhood memory? When my family went to the park for the 4th of July and forgot me. It was my first vacation sans parental presence!

What would be your dream get-a-way? An African safari. My cousin is a safari guide in Africa and listening to him describe the landscape, the gorgeous animals and the natural beauty creates such a vision of adventure.

What item could you never own enough of? A cookie from Gateaux and a fantastic estate sale find.

What can Americans do to improve our image in the world? Be an active participant in what you believe is right and be aware and respectful of other cultures and beliefs. I exercise my personal checks and balances system in being mindful in understanding aspects of another individual or group perspective. It’s an exercise I continually use when I experience what I believe to be an admirable trait and when I am in complete disagreement, and every variation in between. As we are world citizens, image starts with each individual and as we’ll never collectively have the same vision, we can work towards understanding and compromise.

What do you love most about the City of Denver? Denver is truly populated with world-class people.

Is it your forever home, or do you visualize yourself living somewhere else someday? Ultimately I'll have my home in Denver, but I would also like to have a home in Sonoma with some grape vines in the back yard, a grill and an excellent garden.

Give us the “skinny” on being in the World of Construction? How did you get involved in the industry? My whole life, I've had a penchant for business and my brother has always been in construction. We always talked about starting a company together and when I moved back to Denver in '99 we married our talents, incorporated Meza Construction and almost nine years later we're a growing little company!

You seem to love being involved with art and music, how did all of this get started for you? I’m not sure when it started. I've always loved art and music. I love the creativity and beauty involved in how an artist or a musician captures some aspect of their life. It is an evolving puzzle and being open to new experiences finds me collecting art, enjoying music, traveling and taking it all in.

What or who do you have the highest reverence for? My mom, Theresa Meza. As a single mother, she created a secure and loving environment for my brother and me. She worked very hard as a social worker, and as I grew up it became apparent how incredibly loving and generous she is. I never really appreciated that as much as I should have in my youth – now I am in total awe.

Who would you like to be for a day – (it can be anyone in history now or from the past)? Harry Connick, Jr. He’s got a good gig as an entertainer.

Who would you choose to jump out of your next Birthday Cake? How many characters can this proposed cake fit?

Give us (just) one of the secrets to your success? Being a good person. Be humble, admit shortcomings, continually improve, and say, “Thanks” and “I love you” with reckless abandon, learn something from every person and understand that saying “sorry” shows strength.

Tell us about your next big project? Meza Construction will be starting work on RTD's FasTracks soon among other projects. We are really excited that we are also going “green” by actively working on low impact/sustainable development projects.

How do you hope to leave your mark on this world? I’d like to leave a legacy that keeps on giving long after I am gone.

Finish this sentence: “I am the luckiest guy on earth because…. I can't get enough of wonderful people, and there’s no shortage!