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.
While master luthier is a moniker he shies away from – “I still feel like I’m learning, for sure,” he says – Rich Sharples has had a hand in making thousands of banjos in his tenure at OME. He now supervises two other luthiers, and the team crafts about 180 high-end banjos a year at the company’s shop in northeast Boulder.
On March 3, machinists, and welders, engineers and designers, sewers, painters, brewers, butchers and more, gathered for the 4th annual Made in Colorado manufacturer’s forum and awards program.
At first, gaining traction in the snow sports arena with brands such as K2, Boa’s® unique reel and lace cable system technology moved into the cycling world, and by 2005, was integrated into golf products.
The Weinberg brothers were building homes in Crested Butte. Then Wall Street melted down in 2008. “I didn’t have a house to build in the winter,” says Caleb, so the pair started Romp Skis in the garage and built eight pairs of skis.
After studying interior design at the Art Institute of Colorado in 2014, Andrew Darr discovered it “wasn’t my calling.” He sought a happy medium between interior design and his construction background, and found one.
Founder and owner Katrina Boldry raised a guide dog as a teen in Littleton. When her old training leash wore out, she couldn’t find a good replacement, so she made one on her own.