Q1 2022

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Need a cup of Joe? Denver International Airport (DEN) has two new locations for our coffee-loving travelers to grab their next pick-me-up. Caribou Coffee and Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasters are no strangers to DEN and have other locations at the airport. Recently, both concessionaires opened brand-new spaces in the Jeppesen Terminal as part of the newly renovated space completed as part of Phase 1 of the Great Hall Project. Beyond their incredible coffee, both companies are focused on sustainability, which aligns with DEN’s goal of becoming the greenest airport in the world. DEN is proud of building and creating lasting partnerships with conscious businesses that make a difference. Read on to learn more about these noteworthy coffee shops.

Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee is a frequent flyer favorite at DEN and a prominent coffee choice for many throughout Colorado. DEN is proud to welcome them into the brand-new location that recently opened its doors in the Great Hall space on Level 6 east.  

Denver-based and minority-owned airport concessionaire Mission Yogurt, Inc. is the proud operator of the Caribou Coffee franchise concept in the Great Hall, as well as numerous other concessions at the airport. Founded in 1988 by Denver native Rod Tafoya, Mission Yogurt, Inc. made its debut at DEN in 1995 with the opening of Sara Lee Sandwich Shop, followed by the airport’s first authentic Mexican restaurant, Tafoya’s concept, Que Bueno! Mexican Grille. With more than 25 years of experience, Mission Yogurt, Inc. operates numerous concessions concepts at DEN, including the popular Root Down DIA on Concourse C and now the new Caribou Coffee in the renovated Great Hall space in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal, with more concepts opening at DEN in 2022. 


Mission Yogurt owner Rod Tafoya with Denver International Airport CEO Philip Washington

Caribou Coffee was founded in 1992 and has since been providing sustainability- focused, 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified premium coffee to patrons all over the nation, making it the first major U.S. coffeehouse to serve this certified coffee and espresso. The addition of Caribou to Level 6 east near Southwest’s new ticketing lobbies rounds out your coffee needs with Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasters on the west side.


From left to right: Pamela Dechant, DEN Senior Vice President of Concessions, Penny May, DEN Chief Commercial Officer, Phil Washington, DEN Chief Executive Officer, Rod Tafoya, Mission Yogurt owner and Melissa Doyle, Caribou Coffee Regional License Manager.

Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasters


Kabod Coffee owner and founder, Muluye Hailemariam.

Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasters began with the Ethiopian heritage that surrounded owner Muluye Hailemariam. Growing up in Ethiopia, Hailemariam describes coffee as a culture; it runs in her family as many members have been coffee farmers, coffee quality controllers and coffee importers. Coffee has always been a family affair!

Hailemariam’s entrepreneurial spirit brought her to the airport in 2011 to share her appreciation for coffee, bringing in quality beans straight from Ethiopia. Kabod is committed to sustainability bringing farm-to-cup roasting straight to DEN!

As a bilingual and Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) leader, Hailemariam quickly became a familiar face at DEN. In 2011, she opened her first kiosk at the airport where she sold jewelry on Concourse B. Since then, Hailemariam has partnered with Concession International to work with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Wetzel Pretzel DEN, in 2017 Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasting Plant opened in Northeast Denver and in 2019 the first Kabod Specialty Coffee Roasters coffee shop was opened in Central Park. With a goal to grow her business at the airport, dreams became a reality when Hailemariam opened a Kabod location on Concourse B and now has an additional location in the Jeppesen Terminal.


From left to right: Pamela Dechant, DEN Senior Vice President of Concessions, Penny May, DEN Chief Commercial Officer, Phil Washington, DEN Chief Executive Officer, Muluye Hailemariam, owner and founder of Kabod Coffee Roasters and her husband, Burihun Chibsa, cutting the ceremonial ribbon for Kabod Coffee on Jan. 13, 2022.

DEN couldn’t be happier to have Hailemariam and Kabod Coffee in the brand-new space on Level 6 west near United’s new ticket lobbies. They are open a full 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Stop in and get something truly unique and special from Kabod next time you are at DEN!

Both Muluye and Rod are great examples of how minority-owned businesses can grow and excel at DEN. So Next time you are checking in for your flight or waiting on arriving passengers, take a minute to stop by either of these new concessions in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal to try out some phenomenal coffees!


In January, Denver City Council approved the airport’s proposed plans for a Great Hall Completion Phase, the final phase of the Great Hall Project, to finish out renovations at the Jeppesen Terminal. This approval comes at a crucial time for the project as DEN can now move forward with the design of this final phase.

The Completion Phase of the Great Hall Project will include:

  • Improving Technology at Security Checkpoints: An additional new security checkpoint with enhanced technologies will be built on the northeast side of Level 6. With the completion of this checkpoint, both checkpoints currently on Level 5 will be relocated to Level 6. These new checkpoints on Level 6 will enable DEN to add more screening lanes, increasing screening capacity by more than 60%. 
  • Creating modern and spacious ticketing areas for all airlines: New check-in areas will be built on the south end of Level 6 for all remaining airlines. These modular style spaces, as seen on Phase 1 of the project, provide greater flexibility for airlines’ growth and other changing needs in the future.  
  • Upgrading facilities and amenities: This phase of the project will renovate remaining restrooms and replace flooring, lighting, heating, cooling and fire protection systems, as well as, elevators and escalators.
  • Creating comfortable spaces to meet and greet travelers: This includes upgrades to both the domestic and international arrivals areas on Level 5.
  • Developing a pipeline of aviation talent:  On Level 4 of the Westin Denver International Airport, a Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation will be created and built. The goal of this center is to engage, empower, motivate, and provide opportunities for students who are under-represented and young people who are interested and passionate about careers in aviation. This new facility will help build a skilled workforce and become a focal point for aviation knowledge and best practices.

“We are grateful for the support of the Denver City Council and are excited and eager to get started on the final phase of this critical project,” says DEN CEO Phil Washington. “It is essential that we finish the full build-out of the terminal now so we can prepare DEN for the future. By investing in our airport, we will generate more flights, create more local jobs, increase revenue for the region, and boost our region’s economy.”

Speaking of local jobs, this Completion Phase of the project will provide numerous benefits to the community and passengers including:

  • Creating 6,500 direct jobs, 500 indirect jobs, 1,300 induced jobs and an estimated 54,000 additional apprenticeship hours. Additionally, the community will benefit from training and job opportunities once DEN’s Center of Excellence and Equity in Aviation opens.
  • Providing the necessary additional space to grow and better serve passengers with new airlines and destinations, connecting our community to the world.
  • Creating efficiencies with current construction activities to minimize construction impacts.
  • Better prepare DEN to serve 100 million annual passengers in the next 8-10 years.

The approved budget for the Completion Phase is $1.3 billion and will not be funded by any taxpayer dollars, but rather with airport revenues. DEN has immediately begun design work on this final phase and plans to start construction late this year. Completion for this final phase of construction is expected between spring 2027 and summer 2028, with sections opening along the way.

2022 will be a busy year at DEN and we are excited to have the opportunity to build out a terminal for the future that will support our Vision 100 plan to prepare for and reach 100 million annual passengers.


2021 was a big year for the Great Hall Project. As one phase of the project completed, another began, and the Completion Phase was presented to City Council with plans to finish what DEN has started, fully building out the Great Hall Project with the proper infrastructure to build a terminal that can accommodate growth projections.

Now that 2022 is here, let’s take a look at what this year has in store for DEN!


Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project has been working on installing structural steel for numerous aspects of the project. In Q3 of 2022, the structural steel will be installed for the new security checkpoint on the west side of Level 6. This milestone also includes the complete installation of the steel that supports and makes up the new extended balcony that will become a post-security area for passengers and enable increased capacity for the terminal.


Level 6, new steel being installed for the extended balcony that will become the post-security area for passengers after security

The Completion Phase will begin with the design stage of the project. DEN is working on commencing design on various packages in Q1 of this year and planning for enabling work in the terminal to begin in Q4.

DEN is looking forward to a productive and busy year in 2022! The Great Hall team is committed to keeping things running smoothly and on track while still keeping the terminal operational and available to all passengers.

Please visit the Great Hall Project page for more information about the entire project as well as what is completed in the center of the terminal.  


Future East and west security with view to the north



Level 5 arrivals area, construction walls expanded to enable the installation of new triple escalator and elevator.

Earlier this year, Great Hall construction crews began demolition and structural upgrades in the terminal preparation for the installation of a new escalator for Phase 2 of the project. What makes this escalator so special? This escalator will be one unlike anything else installed within the Jeppesen Terminal. Escalators in the terminal typically take passengers from one level to the next, one at a time. With the new security checkpoint being developed on Level 6, DEN needed a solution to get screened passengers from Level 6 all the way down to Level 4 where travelers board the train out to the concourses.

This new conveyance will be a triple escalator, yes three escalators side-by-side, that will take screened passengers from Level 6 all the way down to the Level 4 train platform. By installing three escalators, we can accommodate the larger passenger volumes we expect as we continue to grow.


The Great Hall Project encompasses renovations across the terminal that allow us to create a more efficient and innovative experience for getting passengers where they need to go. This escalator is only one of many advanced connections that will work with other features of the project to achieve this goal, such as the new security checkpoint on Level 6!

In the meantime, passengers will see a couple of areas in the terminal under construction to allow for the installation of this new escalator. Construction walls have been installed at the north end of the departures platform on Level 4. As passengers come down the escalator from the north security checkpoint to the train platform, signage and personnel will be in place to assist passengers around the construction walls to the center of the platform to board the train to the concourses. The existing construction walls on Level 5 in the arrivals area have also increased in size but do not restrict passenger access or require detours.


Level 4 departures platform, new construction walls installed to enable the installation of new triple escalator and elevator.

These impacts will not require long detours or the need to reroute passengers, but DEN encourages passengers to follow signage throughout their journey at the airport and move to the center of the train platform to make room for other passengers.

Stay tuned for more updates about this new installment!



Co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Lauren Grosh with founder and co-owner, Mowa Haile.

In 2007, Sky Blue Builders began as a residential custom home builder with only three employees. When the recession hit in 2009 and the housing bubble burst, this small but mighty company pivoted into unknown territory and made a name for itself. This pivot took them into municipal and federal work by obtaining their Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Minority/Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certifications which eventually led them to Denver International Airport (DEN).

Under the direction of general contractor Saunders and the mentor-protégé program, Sky Blue utilized its MWBE certification for the first time on the Hotel and Transit Center at DEN. Since then, Sky Blue has made it a top priority to seek out knowledge from industry experts and obtain mentors in their field. A company once comprised of only three employees now employees over 45 team members across Denver and Albuquerque, NM.

“At Sky Blue, our management philosophy is the same as our mission…to dream today to invent tomorrow. We constantly evolve and press the boundaries of what we do. We are constantly searching for new and unique ways to execute for our customers and build a culture that is of the tech mindset,” says founder and co-owner Mowa Haile.


Sky Blue prides itself on the impressive fact that 85% of its work comes from repeat clients. Without the need to heavily lean on subcontractors to complete scopes of work, Sky Blue has built quite the reputation over the years by having their own crews to carry out the work. By performing most of their work in-house and employing many differently skilled employees, they can self-perform in both the civil and building divisions.


DEN has become home for Sky Blue since the Westin Hotel and Transit Center project. Since then, Sky Blue has racked up an impressive resume with contracts such as the DEN Airside and Landside Facilities Maintenance, concessions construction and most recently, teamed with Hensel Phelps to work on Phases 1 and 2 of the Great Hall Project and will continue on the final Completion Phase. 

“Having the partnership with Hensel Phelps on the Great Hall project has had a huge, positive impact on our business. Not only has it enabled us to scale and develop our people to take on larger projects, but it has exposed us to a complex, multidimensional project like the Great Hall,” says Lauren Grosh, co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). “Posed to reach 100 million annual passengers by 2030, it is critical to ensure the infrastructure of this airport is ready to accommodate all these passengers. We are excited and honored to help support the mission and vision of the airport and to see all the future transformation.”

Sky Blue’s persistence to growth and learning are just some of why they have found success in Colorado. The Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Public Library Renovation and the Denver Botanic Gardens are just a few of the iconic local projects they have worked on over the years.

Sky Blue is not shy when cheering on the M/WBE community. A long-term vision for the company is to continue to advocate for the small, disadvantaged business community in Denver and promote, support and create opportunities. Haile makes an inspiring statement by saying, “from our estimating department to our Project Managers, we have created a work environment that understands, respects, and appreciates small and minority businesses. This philosophy of active involvement in the community at large, whether it is with local small business organizations or non-profits, has been trickled down from upper management to our field crews.”

Keep an eye out on the Great Hall Project, where you will see work taking place on an escalator installation near the new United Airlines check-in area! The one and only Sky Blue Builders will install this new escalator, an instrumental component for Phase 2 of this project.



Photo 1 - The Jeppesen Terminal from the south bridge and construction walls expanded in center of Level 5 for the installation of a new triple escalator as part of Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project. Photo 2 - Looking over Level 5, a Spyder crane installing new steel for the extended balcony on Level 6 for Phase 2 of the Great Hall Project.



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8500 Peña Blvd., 8500 Peña Blvd.,

Denver, CO 80247

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