By Eric Peterson | Dec 13, 2022
CompanyWeek published 88 profiles of Colorado-based manufacturers in 2022. As the editor, these 10 were my favorites to read and/or write.
Founder and CEO Christopher Caskey has built a novel supply chain on the Western Slope. His Delta Brick & Climate Company dredges silt from Paonia Reservoir and fires it into tiles and bricks in Montrose.
"Clay is extremely abundant on Earth, so sediment in most any reservoir is going to be good," says Caskey. "Just to use all of the mud that comes down every year [at Paonia Reservoir], we would need to be one of the largest brick factories in the United States." His longer-term goal is to capture methane emissions from shuttered coal mines in the area for use in manufacturing or other applications.
CompanyWeek profile (Jan.2022): https://companyweek.com/article/delta-brick-climate-company
Bringing new life to unused cans, CANIMAL upcycles surplus aluminum stock into ZombieCans. Founder and CEO Tim Feaver started the company to offer digital printing services to breweries before perfecting a proprietary process to essentially re-blank a pre-printed can by overcoating it. "We're bringing dead cans back to life and giving them new life as a brite can, basically," he says.
CompanyWeek profile (Feb. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/canimal
Founder and CEO Matanya Horowitz is bringing innovative technology to waste-sorting facilities that separates recyclables from the stream with 90 to 95 percent accuracy. "The robot does 80 picks a minute, if not higher, in most applications," says Horowitz. A person will usually average around 40, and many people average less. It's a pretty tiring job, so the robot's doing the work of two people usually."
Investors like what they see: AMP Robotics has raised more than $150 million in venture capital to date.
CompanyWeek profile (March 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/amp-robotics
Leitner-Poma has manufactured some of the most notable chairlifts in ski country. Operating since 1981, the company's Grand Junction factory supplies installations all over the country.
Leitner-Poma hired Manufacturing Manager Tom Orms in late 2021 to optimize production. "It was pretty much a marriage at first sight, because I knew if we could get our manufacturing efficiencies where they needed to be and we were looking at expansion opportunities, then we could reach the goals and the level the company wanted to excel," he says.
CompanyWeek profile (May 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/leitner-poma-of-america
Gregory Daurer's profile of one of the few organ builders in the West illuminated an endangered trade. In business since 1921, Richard Morel's company has built and restored organs for such churches as Denver's Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. "It's got to be, if not the best room in town, then one of the best rooms in town," says owner RIchard Morel of the basilisa.
CompanyWeek profile (June 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/morel-and-associates-pipe-organs
Issues with the Asian supply chain led Yeti to reshore manufacturing of hardware for its mountain bikes to Wisconsin-based PartsBadger in 2022. The five-year, $13.8 million deal is expected to create 12 full-time jobs.
"The benefit is we're much more real-time with getting deliveries. We don't have this obsolescence," says CTO Steve Hoogendoorn. Secondly, it gives us a lot of flexibility going forward to be able to change things."
CompanyWeek profile (June 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/yeti-cycles
Elizabeth Philbrick and Jared Scott started their cidery in the onetime digs of Mountain Sun Natural and Organic Juices -- once the largest manufacturer of organic juices in the country -- in the southwestern Colorado town of Dolores in 2019.
Legacy orchards provide a steady stream of apples for EsoTerra. The area was once a prime apple-growing area before Washington state all but monopolized the industry. Now it's coming back in Colorado, says Philbrick. "Cider is a new world. We are on the forefront of defining what cider is."
CompanyWeek profile (July 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/esoterra-ciderworks
The startup's starward trajectory has been catalyzed by a trio of projects: the MAPP rover; MOXIE, technology that converts carbon dioxide to breathable oxygen on Mars; and Canary, an air-quality monitor that was designed for space but finding a ready market on Earth.
Founder and CEO Justin Cyprus says he has an ambition to make Lunar Outpost "the largest space robotics company on Earth." It's not a pie-in-the-sky forecast: "We have the most missions booked for the lunar surface of any robotics company. We're one of the first companies to operate on Mars, and we have thousands of products operating here on Earth today."
CompanyWeek profile (Sept. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/lunar-outpost
Not many manufacturers offer contract thixocasting, but Vforge has built its business around the process. The company's proprietary "gooey aluminum" can be cast into a variety of shapes and is often more affordable than more common techniques in higher volumes, says VP of Engineering Chris Rice. "When we heat it up, the material behaves like a soft solid. It might have the consistency of butter, so it can be manipulated like a solid, but once we put it in our machine and we apply pressure to it, we can make it flow like a very viscous fluid."
CompanyWeek profile (Oct. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/vforge
Formerly known as Evergreen Research, the ERI Group has grown into one of the top contract development and manufacturing firms in the medical device industry. CEO Natasha Bond has led the company to dynamic growth with a turnkey outfit that offers design, engineering, manufacturing, and compliance services.
"Our job is to take the ideas and the visions of our customers and support them in their journey," says Bond. "Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to improve the lives of others."
CompanyWeek profile (Nov. 2022): https://companyweek.com/article/eri-group
Eric Peterson is editor of CompanyWeek. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.