Lane’s $4 million will fund UCCS/Peak Vista project

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John and Margot Lane played a large role in the Colorado Springs community for decades.

John was president of Lane Affiliated companies and expanding the family’s Pepsi Cola bottling franchise in Colorado Springs, Arizona and New Mexico. Their son Phil Lane is chairman of the Regional Leadership Forum, an offshoot of the Operation 6035 economic development project.

Long before John passed away in 2005, he and Margot formed the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation to support community endeavors.

Last month, Margot announced that the foundation would donate $4 million to the University of Colorado Springs and Peak Vista Community Health Centers to build an academic health sciences building called the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences.

Construction of the estimated 56,000-square foot building near North Nevada Avenue and Austin Bluffs Parkway is scheduled to begin in the summer.

Lane spoke with the Business Journal this week.

What about health care or education is so near and dear to your heart that it prompted you to make such a generous donation?

This donation is not so much about education or health care, but really about the confluence of both. I believe strongly in Peak Vista and UCCS. This effort is a truly unique collaboration that can serve as a model for other communities to follow. Integrated care is a buzzword in health care these days, but here is a great example of integration in action. When you combine that with the opportunity for other disciplines like business, fine arts and nursing to participate, this should prove to be a really exciting collaboration. Finally, the chance to help launch the expansion of the UCCS campus onto the North Nevada corridor, plus include Peak Vista’s quality primary health care center for aging adults in this highly accessible location, is also something that appeals to me. It should be good for the businesses in that area, good for seniors, good for UCCS and good for Peak Vista.

Why do you believe giving back to the community is important, and what experiences in your life have shaped your attitudes and beliefs about this?

John, my late husband, was born in Colorado Springs and I met him here after moving from St. Louis. After five years in the military and five years with Control Data Corp., we moved back to Colorado Springs in 1971. We raised three boys here, all of whom graduated from Wasson High School. My youngest son Philip and his wife Anita live here and their three daughters were all born in Colorado Springs. I believe Colorado Springs is one of this country’s great cities. It has been great to our family for over 75 years and we believe it is right to give back.

Do you believe all private corporations have a moral obligation to reinvest in the communities in which they operate? Why or why not?

This is really not for me to say. Every corporation and individual business has to decide on their own what their reinvestment in the community should be. I believe most recognize they need to participate in some way or another and that Colorado Springs has a very generous business community.

When you and your husband started your bottling operation, did you ever imagine it would grow to become so successful? What were the keys to its success, and what were the greatest lessons the business taught you?

It is a true blessing to be able to make a gift of this size to UCCS and Peak Vista. John and his father Ross were strong entrepreneurs who turned a significant investment into a wonderful business. John and I were thrilled to have two of our sons work with us in the business, David in our Tucson franchise area and Philip here. We were very fortunate to make some timely acquisitions in growing communities and to have a wonderful relationship with Pepsi-Cola Company. Most important, though, John was an excellent judge of talent. He hired wonderful people to work with us and then allowed them to thrive on their own. I think the only one he had to really manage was me. Great people, a wonderful product and a strong service ethic were the keys to our success.