This week, we take a quick break for Tax Day to look back at the most popular CompanyWeek profiles from Q1. Here's the list:
1. Odell Brewing
3. Icelantic Skis
4. Avery Brewing
6. Micro Metals
7. Colorado Cylinder Stoves
8. Wild Goose Canning
9. The Real Dill
10. Sticker Giant
The most popular industry sectors were craft beer, lifestyle, and industrial manufacturing, an eclectic mix but no surprise as today's regional economy is more and more a showcase of a rejuvenated manufacturing prowess.
It also confirms that manufacturers are interested in different sectors and how others are managing growth -- and challenges. Will it usher in a new era of collaboration? Too soon to say. But a new, broad manufacturing community is clearly developing across industries. The manufacturing supply chain is likely a common area of interest; a search for new, local partners is ongoing. There's opportunity in new connections.
Throw in good news on the national manufacturing front, and the reader's Top 10 takes on more meaning. The companies are part of a national business story: the steady comeback of American manufacturing.
Not all is rosy. Growth isn't uniform across sectors. And we outsource and offshore a lot of stuff -- most stuff. We're rebuilding domestic manufacturing to levels from the past. We're still eons away.
But overall, the list is a source of optimism. Diversity translates into sustainability. Colorado's lifestyle category is diverse and growing. Aerospace and other 'advanced manufacturing' is a regional calling card. The natural and organic food sector is an international rock star. The future is exciting -- a mix of satellites, precision components, food, gear, and beer.
A headline in the L.A. Times summed up manufacturing's improving brand: GE casting off lending business in return to its industrial roots. When a conglomerate chooses manufacturing over finance, it bodes well for the sector. Or as the Times article quoted:
"We're not going to become a manufacturing-led economy again," said Jeff Madrick, a senior fellow at the New York think tank Century Foundation and author of Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World. "But it is a re-balancing, a move away from the easy way toward making something useful."
I'd be clearer: service (i.e. finance) can't live on service alone. And in Colorado, manufacturing is alive and well. GE can take that to the bank.