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Three Peaks Capital pays it forward

Sandy Rufenacht and his wife Melissa at a charity golf tournament at The Country Club

By Lisa Crockett; photo courtesy of Three Peaks Capital Management

About 250 miles east of Castle Pines, you’ll find Imperial, Nebraska. A small town of about 1,500 people, it may seem an unlikely place to sow the seeds of success. But as one of just 300 students at Chase County High School in Imperial, Castle Pines resident Sandy Rufenacht learned some of what he would need to know to run a successful capital management firm that has attracted the attention of Wall Street.

After graduating from Chase County High, Rufenacht studied business administration at University of Northern Colorado, worked at Colonial Investments in Boston, Massachusetts, and then spent 14 years at Denver-based Janus Capital Group, successfully managing its High Yield Bond Fund and its Short Term Bond Fund. In 2003, he decided to strike out on his own and established Three Peaks Capital Management and chose Castle Rock as its home.

“I wanted to own my own firm so I could control my own destiny, and I chose Castle Rock because I didn’t want to commute,” said Rufenacht. “I have the best of both worlds – I get to work on Wall Street without having to live there.”

After nearly 10 years in business, Three Peaks Capital Management now manages roughly $1.3 billion and regularly entertains visitors from Wall Street firms, but Rufenacht has stayed true to his small-town roots. An avid golf enthusiast, Rufenacht is a member of the Castle Pines Country Club and the Castle Pines Golf Club. He supports a fund for the golf program at his hometown high school, the Thaine Crown Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund, named after his beloved high school business teacher and golf coach.

“I think golf is important,” said Rufenacht. “It’s a lifelong sport, and it’s good for business to know how to golf. Every year we give the school money that the golf coach can use for whatever he needs to run the program, whether that be bags and umbrellas or gas money to get players to tournaments.”

Rufenacht funds another program named after Chase County High’s former football coach, Fred Bessler – a man Rufenacht credits with teaching countless students the value of punctuality, teamwork, and a strong moral code. In the last several years, Rufenacht and Three Peaks Capital Management have reached out to the local community, sponsoring events at Timber Trail Elementary, DCS Montessori, the Denver Boys and Girls Club, as well as “Men for the Cure,” an annual charity event which supports breast cancer awareness and patient care.

Near and dear to his heart is Three Peaks’ sponsorship of the Logan Bauman charitable golf tournament, which is held at the Pinery Country Club in Parker each June. The tournament is a tribute to Logan, who passed away at the age of 13 after being hit by a car. Logan was the son of Three Peaks Chief Operations Officer Andy Bauman.

“Logan wanted to go to Regis [Jesuit] and passed away before he was able to,” said Rufenacht. “We’re proud to sponsor the golf tournament, which raises money to help students in the area go to schools they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.”

Three Peaks Capital Management is located in Castle Rock at 3750 Dacoro Lane, #100. For more information about Three Peaks Capital, visit www.threepeaks.com.

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