Koel Thomae, co-founder of Colorado-based Noosa Finest Yoghurt, happened to be visiting her mother in Australia when she took a bite of yogurt that was destined to change her life.
Imagine having a database of 30,000 contacts who are willing to work for free. Sound crazy? It’s reality for Colorado craft whiskey maker Stranahan’s.
Made in Colorado exists to foster the business-to-business connections, the sharing of stories and commitments to products and processes.
Founded in 2015, The Whole Works quickly won both clients and accolades for its apt pairing of a contract cut-and-sew business with a socially conscious mission of creating jobs for women transitioning off federal assistance.
While studying microbiology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the Chicago transplant started homebrewing. “Mostly I was interested in the science of it,” says Howat, now 30. “I wasn’t even that big of a beer drinker.”
Henry Bergeson, 58, lost his job as an engineer for a medical manufacturer in Massachusetts in 1987. So Bergeson moved to Colorado and looked for an engineering job before going into the kaleidoscope business full-time.
Now 52, Oliver originally found the job via a want ad in the newspaper when she was 22. “Tens of thousands” of belt buckles later, “I think now, ‘What the heck would I do if I did leave?’”
Renee Newton, 33, moved to Colorado for the mountains and stayed for the science. Craft spirits came later.
A truly international company, windmill giant Vestas employs more than 3,000 people in Colorado. Among them is Manuel Rubio, 25, who joined the blade-making operation in 2011.
McGuckian, 55, earned the nickname “Lefty” when he started working in the shop at a California aerospace museum with three other Mikes in 1982. Even though he’s right-handed, the name stuck.
Now 31, Ortiz started working at the venerable candy factory when he was a senior at Aurora Central High School in 2001. He soon moved to the warehouse before going into actual candy-making. “They needed somebody to make the chocolates and the marshmallows. I asked them to give me a chance.”
After serving in the military, Michael Clark moved to Lyons to get away from the crowds in Denver. “Too big, too much, just too many people,” says the 68-year-old Lakewood native. Lyons had less chaos, plus one very important lure: “It had a river in it,” Clark says.