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CMA 2022 Preview: Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year

By Margaret Jackson | Apr 04, 2022

Aerospace & Electronics Colorado

After a pandemic-induced pause, aerospace has taken off in a hurry and is forecast to grow rapidly through 2025. The finalists for Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year at the 2022 Colorado Manufacturing Awards are poised to capitalize on that growth.


Armite Lubricants (Lafayette)

Photo courtesy Armite Lubricants

Armite Lubricants will become one of three companies to be listed on the Department of Defense's Qualified Product Database after its newly formulated, military-grade anti-seize lubricant MIL-PRF-907H is approved in April.

The company, which makes commercial, industrial and military-grade lubricants, established significant relationships with several international, well-vetted distributors in the European Union, India, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Mexico.

Despite supply chain disruptions that impacted Armite's competitors, the company was able to deliver its products with real-time shipping, allowing it to increase its distributor/customer base as many companies sought alternatives to their existing supply chains.

The company's growth in 2021 prompted it to add employees to help production and the company is still hiring. "Armite has created an employee culture that is amazing, and our team is what makes Armite Great," says Armite President Mike Sandstrum. "Our success is because of our dedicated people and proven formulas."


Barber-Nichols (Arvada)

Photo by Jonathan Castner

Barber-Nichols engineers, manufactures and tests a wide range of equipment for aerospace applications. Its space flight hardware includes liquid rocket engine turbopumps, fuel densification systems, liquid fuel thruster pumps and environmental control system pumps and fans.

Last year, the company relocated its manufacturing operations into a 43,000-square-foot facility in just three weeks. It also hired 50 employees in Colorado. To ensure it has the employees it needs, the company is starting an apprenticeship program for entry-level machinists.

Barber-Nichols also secured $70 million in new business orders to increase its backlog to two-plus years and manufactured hardware for many critical space applications, including satellites, rocket engines and defense aircraft.

"Our balanced approach to designing and manufacturing innovative turbomachinery systems while working hard to improve our local community through hands-on volunteerism is paramount to our success," President and CEO Matthew Malone says.

CompanyWeek profile (October 2019): https://companyweek.com/article/barber-nichols


S&DC / MBK Machine (Longmont)

Photo by Jonathan Castner

Owners D'Wayne and Stacee Cook invested in cutting-edge equipment to spur growth at MBK Machine. The company added a 5-axis machine, and is focusing more on automation with the new equipment it's purchased.

When the Cooks bought MBK in 2014, revenue was roughly $500,000. After six years of growth, the company anticipated $4 million in revenue for 2021, with two-thirds of the total stemming from aerospace work.

In the past year, the company purchased a 20,000-square-foot building it will move into. The rapidly growing company also recently hired a shop floor manager and an administrative assistant to help it keep up with its increasing workload.

"We have an amazing team in which everyone contributes, and we feel like everyone here is an extended family member," Vice President Stacee Cook says. "We are very meticulous about what we do, which is why aerospace is such a good fit for us. We make sure that we keep open communications with our customers and that our focus is on quality."

CompanyWeek profile (August 2021): https://companyweek.com/article/mbk-machine


The winners of the 2022 Colorado Manufacturing Awards will be revealed on April 7 in Denver. The event is open to all Colorado business enthusiasts and stakeholders. REGISTER HERE for the 2022 CMA Winners Reveal & Gala.