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Young Pro David Dragoo Takes Something Good and Makes it Better

GenXYZ finalist, president of Mayfly Outdoors jump-starts economic development on the Western Slope




David Dragoo says he’s inspired by the explorers —“the people who demand the best gear so they can go and conquer the most demanding places on Earth, making their own adventure and finding out what kind of person they are.” The kind of person Dragoo is, says wife Heidi, is someone who “understands that innovation is the ability to see around corners and to take something good and make it better.”

Dragoo has reinvented his manufacturing practices to achieve lower production costs and faster time-to-market for new products. Some of these practices include introduction of product platforming to utilize similar components across multiple brands, introduction of product development cycles to streamline the new product development process and the introduction of new machine tools bringing “lights-out, one-touch” manufacturing to the factory. In 2016, his businesses, which include fly-fishing brands Abel and Ross Reels, had a combined 15 percent gross margin—on track to triple this year.


Dragoo’s collaboration with local government has helped jump-start economic development on the Western Slope through the Colorado Outdoors project, a 164-acre revitalization of the northern end of Montrose encompassing 1.5 miles of the Uncompahgre River. “We needed meaningful partnerships, and we had to motivate and inspire our local taxing bodies and dozens of smaller groups to contribute to a new vision,” Dragoo says. “Not an easy task—but we were up for it.”

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Lisa Ryckman

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

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