By Eric Peterson | Apr 10, 2022
After two virtual years, the Colorado Manufacturing Awards returned to the Cable Center on the campus of the University of Denver to showcase the companies on the cutting edge of manufacturing in the Centennial State.
Manufacturing’s modern personality was on full display, including the sector’s deep bench of influential women. Past CMA winners April Archer (SaraBella Fishing), Beth Smith (StickerGiant), and Andrea Collins (Eldon James), appeared on video to congratulate finalists in the CMA’s three award categories -- Achievement, and Consumer and Industrial manufacturing.
Winners accepting the awards also reflected the diversity of sector leadership: Crystal Barrios accepted on behalf of Laws Whiskey House, the Craft Distillery of the Year winner; Karen Hertz, founder of Craft Brewery of the Year winner Holidaily Brewing Company enthusiastically toasted employees and other finalists in the category; ActivArmor’s Diana Hall was named Colorado Manufacturing Woman of the year; and Meghan Marsden claimed the trophy for Innovative Product of the Year winner Veil Intimates.
Attendees traveled from Durango, Montrose, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Palisade and Grand Junction, in addition to metro Denver, to take part in the celebration. Here's the list of winners:
Craft Distillery of the Year: Laws Whiskey House (Denver)
"That's an incredible category to be up against," said Crystal Barrios, tasting room manager and events coordinator: "We are all making some amazing craft spirits in Colorado -- so check everybody out."
Colorado Winery of the Year: Sauvage Spectrum (Palisade)
Winemaker Patric Matysiewski accepted the award for the Grand Valley winery: "Colorado wine's having an awesome resurgence. Come check us out in Palisade. All our competitors are our partners and our friends."
Craft Brewery of the Year: Holidaily Brewing Company (Golden)
"What's happening? It's real. This is awesome," laughed founder and Chief Brewista Karen Hertz. "My competition, Charlie at Denver Beer Company and Michael at Sanitas, are two of my best buds in the industry, and Holidaily wouldn't be Holidaily without them. . . . Some people think manufacturing is about making widgets, and we get to make beer -- and it is so fun."
She also extended an invitation to Holidaily's locations in Golden and the Denver Tech Center: "Come visit our taprooms. I promise you won't know it's gluten-free."
Cannabis Manufacturer of the Year: ECS Brands (Broomfield)
"I'm very proud we won this award -- it's our first award," said founder and CEO Arthur Jaffee. "We are absolutely reinventing many of the consumer products in the cannabis industry.
He added: "I couldn't do it without my team -- and I thank you all very much."
Consumer Brand of the Year: Mountain Racing Products (Grand Junction)
"I'm glad we made the trip across the mountains. It's a big city," said President and CEO Tim Fry.
"My wife and I started it 22 years ago. We're so proud to accept this award for our team," he added. "We're both recovering lawyers -- if there's any lawyers in the room, I have a good 12-step program -- but we wanted to make products to make people enjoy their passion for cycling."
Food Brand/Co-Packer Manufacturer of the Year: Bobo's (Boulder)
"We're very fortunate to self-manufacture in Colorado with 180 employees at our facilities in Boulder and Loveland, and we're very fortunate to accept this award," said Keith Tanner, director of operations.
After the consumer group of awards, new Manufacturer's Edge CEO Glenn Plagens next delivered some remarks, along with "shout-outs" to CompanyWeek's writers and photographers, industry associations, economic development organizations, and the judges for the awards.
"We've got a $25 billion industry, and we're super happy to be a part of that," said Plagens. "It's a time of celebration."
Manufacturing Woman of the Year: Diana Hall, ActivArmor (Pueblo)
"I'm happy to represent Pueblo and Colorado," said Hall. "These casts and splints are available nationwide. We're opening a new round of funding on Start Engine next month."
Innovative Product of the Year: Veil Intimates (Denver)
"Thank you, CompanyWeek, for recognizing us," said co-founder Meghan Marsden. "Thank you so much for your support. Innovation is at the heart of the company, making real change and solving problems."
Advanced Manufacturing & Machining Award: Hirsh Precision (Boulder)
"For those of you who don't know much about machining, we're producing products to 1/10,000th of an inch," said CEO Peter Doyle. "You can invest in the technology and you can purchase the modern equipment, but without the talented team, you're nowhere."
Bioscience Manufacturer of the Year: AlloSource (Centennial)
Chief Legal Officer and COO Dean Elliot and Senior VP of Operations Ken Hammons accepted the award with a few choice words: "We just appreciate the opportunity -- thank you very much."
Building/Construction Manufacturer of the Year: Studio Shed (Louisville)
Design Manager Benjamin Seaman said he and his fellow finalists immediately hit it off. "I sat down with everybody at the table -- ROXBOX and ModStreet -- and they're awesome, too," he said. "You teach me something, I'll teach you something. How about that?"
Energy/Transportation Manufacturer of the Year: Solid Power (Louisville)
Industrial/Equipment Manufacturer of the Year: Right Stuff Equipment (Denver)
"We've been around for 15 years and we've had the benefit of growing with all of the manufacturing growth in Colorado," said President Kevin Weber. "We help them with automation to replace the labor that is so hard to find these days."
Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year: Barber-Nichols (Arvada)
"Thanks to our amazing employees. We have 180 employees at Barber-Nichols now, and they're the backbone of our business," said President and CEO Matthew Malone. "It takes everyone -- the customers, the employees, and the public -- to make a successful business."
Photos (left to right, top to bottom): Arthur Jaffee; Karen Hertz; Crystal Barrios; Tim Fry; Ken Hammon and Dean Elliot; Ben Seaman; Tom Bugnitz, Heather Bulk, and Glenn Plagens; Diana Hall; Kevin Weber; Matt Malone; Meghan Marsden and Nancy Trangmar; Taryn Brooks and Patric Malysiewski.