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Colorado Companies to Watch 2016 innovate the outdoors and machines

Second-stage companies get creative with kids and manufacturing


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Avid4 Adventure

www.avid4adventure.com

Founded: 2004

Base: Boulder

What the company does: Empowers kids to choose an active, outdoor lifestyle through summer camps, an overnight camp, special events and school partnerships.

“Avid4 Adventure is on a mission to serve as many children as possible,” founder David Secunda says. “We firmly believe that kids need to spend as much time as possible at an early age away from the lure of video games and other screens.”

Defining innovation: Doing things other companies are afraid to do, such as taking kids as young as 3 on outdoor adventures. Avid4 introduced stand-up paddleboarding in its programs before many people had ever heard of it and works to figure out safe ways to take children on river trips and rock climbs.

“We transport kids to the most authentic adventure spots in their respective surrounding areas,” the founder says. “We are a summer camp that is run like a innovative business and have a vision of empowerment and inspiration that runs a lot deeper than programs that are trying to compete.”

Giving back: One percent of annual revenue is committed to providing summer camp opportunities for under-served populations, helping more than 150 children in 2015.

VOORMI

www.voormi.com

Founded: 2012

Base: Pagosa Springs

What the company does: Designs, builds and sells high performance professional grade outdoor clothing built exclusively from a foundation of natural fibers.

VOORMI believes that success comes by changing the existing rules. It set out to bring a brand new ‘technology industry’ based approach to the historically slow moving textile and apparel world, beginning with in-house technical textile expertise. A ‘direct to consumer’ business model has made the company nimble and responsive.

Game-changers: The launch in 2015 of the first product built with the company’s proprietary/patented CORE CONSTRUCTION™ Technology, an award-winning breathable, waterproof, lightweight breakthrough in development for four years.

The company’s new Elevation Works Studio in downtown Pagosa Springs represents a real-life example of what’s possible in local manufacturing. VOORMI now has six machines and perform all design/development for the brand, production-sew a rugged line of accessories and continually test new concepts for product and market viability.

Disruption factor: It started with developing all of VOORMI’s own textiles from scratch, allowing the company to challenge many of the constraints posed by existing producers.

 

POWERED BY MACHINES

Barber-Nichols Inc.

www.barbernichols.com

Founded: 1966

Base: Arvada

What the company does: Designing, engineering and manufacturing of turbomachinery specializing in turbines, compressors, fans, blowers, and pumps for aeronautic, cryogenic, defense, power generation, fuel cell, space flight and other commercial/industrial applications.

BNI’s main mission is technical problem-solving. As a supplier of custom/specialty turbomachinery solutions, often supplied to customers who are themselves designing advanced/uncharted new systems, BNI is faced with innovation challenges on every job. It maintains its innovative edge with continual learning on all levels, adding bright creative people to the organization with their own new areas of expertise and fostering a culture of collaboration to help bring the best ideas to every job.

Disruption factor: In both the aerospace and defense industries, BNI has delivered products typically reserved for the major aerospace integrators. BNI has designed and built a variety of rocket engine turbopumps for customers such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. BNI’s ability to deliver thoroughly engineered designs with a strong dose of design for manufacturability with the capability to make and inspect the required high precision components has made it the go-to US company for new space companies.

Giving back: BNI has established endowed engineering scholarships at both University of Colorado and Colorado State University, as well as a general education scholarship at Red Rocks Community College, where a portion of the scholarships are directed to the Precision Machining Program.

 

Digabit, Inc

www.digabit.com

Founded: 2008

Base: Englewood

What the company does: A SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider whose main product, Documoto, is used by manufacturers to create interactive, illustrated parts catalogs for the heavy equipment, industrial machinery and powersports industries.

Disruption factor: Digabit’s Documoto software upends the century-old paper parts catalog ― and its desktop replacement ― by importing engineering drawings, part specifications and other product data directly into a relational database. No copying or reformatting is required to output printed, PDF, or online versions of a parts catalog. And updates occur instantly after a user makes a change, since all the data is stored in one central location. Any authorized user with an internet connection can access critical maintenance and support information at any time. 24/7.

Documoto also has a built-in shopping cart and eCommerce features, transforming it into a digital sales platform. This gives manufacturers the flexibility to sell direct to consumers, to expand into untapped markets for spare parts and service and to gain maximum visibility into aftermarket sales and customer support operations.

Down the road: Digabit recently co-developed a diagnostic auditing tool with customer Atlas Copco. This software tool, RigScan, integrates drilling platform parts catalogs with a scanning application that harvests data from on-board sensors related to parts wear and operating parameters.

 

Faris Machinery Company

www.farismachinery.com

Founded: 1953

Base: Commerce City

What the company does: Provides heavy equipment to municipalities and contractors working in concrete, asphalt, environmental, solid waste and oil and gas.

Faris has increased productivity by using modern assessment tools to identify management’s strengths and weaknesses and aligning job responsibilities accordingly. Using assessment tools for hiring has ensured the right fit with company culture and has infused the company with new energy and perspective.

After an ownership change in 2010, the company shifted to a focused and aligned strategic plan, developing a new company logo and branding strategy and focusing on employees and customers, helping to drive continued growth.

 

The BCER Group (BCER Engineering, RimRock Technology and Rondinelli Life Safety)

www.bcer.com

Founded: 1994

Base: Arvada

What the company does: A consulting engineering firm that provides creative and state of the art mechanical, electrical, fire protection, life safety and technology engineering services for projects nationwide.

BCER Group likes to describe itself as “nimble”: small but excellent at what it does, able to make quick decisions, change with the industry and take some risks to continue growing. It was founded on seven guiding principles ― including being a fun, friendly company able to focus on serious work without taking itself too seriously ― and those have endured for more than two decades.

Culture connection: The company strives to foster a true sense of family, with monthly birthday parties, a holiday party and an annual employee/client golf tourney.

Giving back: The company supports a variety of charitable organziations, including the Salvation Army, Whiz Kids Tutoring Program, Children’s Hospital Burn Camp, Firefighter Hose Relay for Children’s Hospital, CDOT Adopt a Highway, USO Denver, Caruso Family Charities, Boy Scout Troop 17, Kings Team Summer Camp (adolescent foster children) and the Arvada Santa Shop.

 

NFT

www.nftinc.com

Founded: 1984

Base: Golden

What the company does: Provides creative and comprehensive solutions to the nuclear, aerospace and commercial markets.

In February 2014, the nation’s only radioactive waste repository discharged nuclear contaminated particles throughout the facility and surrounding environment near Carlsbad, N.M.

Enter NFT: its personnel studied the data, reports and findings, determined what the problem was ― lack of an early warning system ― and invented a solution called TRU-Temp™, a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) that actively monitors the temperature inside the waste drums and sends alerts to nearby monitors of potentially dangerous and explosive conditions.

NFT is a company that innovates: it has filed nearly 30 patents in the last 30 years involving the use of new, specialized technology or enhancements to existing technologies. The company routinely integrates engineering, design, high precisions machining and services to solve complex needs for its customers. The “NFT Way” embraces long-term customer relationships, value-added services and a strong commitment to quality.

Game-changer: In 2011, NFT acquired the Paradigm aerospace machining business to leverage its high precision machining. Paradigm has since been presented with the Orion Program Manager’s Commendation Award by NASA and Lockheed Martin for serving as one of the key suppliers to the program, building more than 1,000 components across every module of the spacecraft.

Residential Systems, Inc.

www.residentialsystemsinc.com

Founded: 1987

Base: Lakewood

What the company does: Designs, installs and programs home automation systems.

Residential Systems, Inc. (RSI) has worked in more than 5,000 homes across Colorado and throughout the world. In business for 29 years, RSI has grown by providing excellent customer service and listening to clients through the home technology process.

Culture connection: In 2015, RSI’s long-time system engineer, Phil Neal, died of sudden cardiac arrest, leaving behind a wife and young daughter. The RSI family rallied around Phil’s family, hosting a number of fundraiser events to raise money for his child’s education fund. 3.

Defining innovation: RSI strives to be in the forefront of home-technology innovation, deploying the latest home technology options that are reliable and will stand the test of time. In 2015, an RSI project won a “Parade of Homes” award for the best home technology project of the year. The company focuses on bringing the best products and solutions to market and listening to its customers and their technology concerns.

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's managing editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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