DEREK Sisneros is finding himself in a moment of professional growth. The vice president for financial operations at Friday Health Plans is also spearheading the company’s effort to construct a new building in downtown Alamosa, while keeping Friday Health in expansion mode and juggling the need for more office space and more parking even as construction of a new building is in the works.
“The number one priority is we don’t want to slow our growth while we’re constructing the new facility,” Sisneros said.
Friday Health is planning to break ground at the end of May or June on its new 35,000-square-foot building situated at Sixth Street and San Juan Avenue, Sisneros said. It will become a companion to Friday’s takeover of the former Wall, Smith, Bateman building off Main and San Juan.
Why It Matters
Just as Friday Health has changed the vibe of Main Street Alamosa with its 300-strong employee base and more hires on the way, Friday’s new building will change the face of Sixth Street. The construction project comes at a time when City Hall is focused on Sixth Street to change and improve how people driving east through Alamosa and past Main Street see the town.
The city has been working to address the deteriorating Walsh Hotel building on Sixth and still has dreams of a boutique downtown hotel at State and Sixth. The Alamosa County tourism and marketing board, meanwhile, has demolished the old Motorway building on Sixth and is redesigning, with a landscape architect, the property to include daytime RV parking and a public art display called Cranes in Flight by famed wildlife sculptor and Alamosa native Jocelyn Russell.
Friday Health’s new building on Sixth, with its design by Spencer Architecture Studio, will be a major piece in the city’s remake of the corridor and its downtown. H.W. Houston is the general contractor.
Friday has also purchased nearly two acres of railroad property that will accommodate an estimated 200 parking spaces for employees and then public use in evenings and weekends.
“Just having a dirt lot is what we all got used to seeing there and it’s kind of an eyesore,” Sisneros said. “We want it to look nice and we want it to coincide with our brand new building across the street.”
The new building, said Sisneros, “will be very consistent with downtown, which is that brick facade and lots of windows for natural sunlight.”
The Big Picture
The new building includes a rooftop patio that Sisneros said speaks to the employee-first culture at Friday Health. The company onboards anywhere from 8 to 15 new employees a week, from customer service reps to physicians and nurses. Friday’s practice of paying no less than $15 per hour has pushed other local employers to compete for employees with higher minimum wages.
“Our employees probably spend more time with us than they do their own families,” Sisneros said. “We recognize that and want our folks to be happy.”
He said Friday’s expansion into other states, where it offers health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange, has pushed employees to handle the growth. During the 2022 ACA open enrollment period, Friday tripled in size to 300,000 enrollees across multiple states, Sisneros said.
Besides Alamosa, Friday Health is also expanding in Pueblo. It has around 300 employees in Alamosa and around 500 company-wide. Sisnersos said the company is sensitive to its hiring pace and how it’s pulling employees away from other employers in the Valley. An expansion in Pueblo will help the company continue with its growth trajectory, and so Sisneros, as part of his growing role, is also now looking for more office space in Pueblo.
Listen to our recent podcast episode with Derek Sisneros as he explains more about Friday Health and its growing employee base in Alamosa. It’s a company worth paying attention to as it continues to change the face of downtown Alamosa.
Alamosa Citizen members get the Monday Briefing sent directly to their In boxes – plus a weekly newsletter on Thursdays that summarizes the top stories in the Valley. Member support keeps The Citizen free for all to read.