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Posted: September 19, 2013

2013 Top Company winners: Manufacturing

It's a tie

Gigi Sukin

Manufacturing

Winners: Sophono Inc. and Birko

Sophono Inc.

The Boulder-based developer of bone conduction hearing devices was incorporated in October 2009, following five years of research and development aimed at improving the hearing device experience.

Differentiator

Sophono manufactures and sells the only abutment-free, implantable, bone-anchored hearing device available to treat conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss and single-ear deafness. This technology minimizes the risk of infection, need for daily wound care, cosmetic issues and problems for athletic wearers.

Biggest Challenge

Keeping up with manufacturing and production – based solely in Boulder – and getting the word out to surgeons about the effectiveness of the Alpha 2 implant are two ongoing challenges.

Greatest Achievement

Receiving FDA clearance to sell the Alpha System in 2011 represented a major moment for Sophono.

Looking Forward

Acknowledging the market for hearing devices is rapidly growing, Sophono’s team hopes to have a patented, sustainable technology that helps people with hearing loss regain their quality of life.

 

Birko

With 60 years of experience, Henderson-based Birko manufactures 250 concentrated cleaning, sanitation, antimicrobial interventions and process chemical formulations, many of which are on the USDA National Organic Program list of allowed products.

Differentiator

The organization maintains a stable work force, with many employees spending their entire careers in the family-owned business. Its methodology has it ranking higher in customer perception of price-to-value than 90 percent of its competitors.

Greatest Achievement

In 2012 alone, Birko received a patent, was recognized as one of Colorado’s fastest growing companies and acquired Espy Technologies Inc., which services the carcass washing and pasteurizing cabinets manufactured by Chad Equipment LLC, among other designations and honors.

Looking Forward

To grow and expand Colorado’s food production capabilities, Birko intends to participate in vigilant activities to protect food supplies – indirectly preserving and growing Colorado’s economy.

Quote of Note

“We recognize that our customers have a choice whether to do business with us and remain committed to upholding our stellar reputation for unparalleled service and
quality.” – Birko CEO Mark Swanson.

Finalist: Hercules Industries

Since 1962, Hercules has been a Denver-based manufacturer and distributor of high-quality HVAC commercial and residential equipment. The company is still owned and managed by family members of founder William E. Newland.

Differentiator

As a family-owned business with three generations of history, Hercules maintains a culture that has translated to loyal customer relationships.

Biggest Challenge

Managing growth in Hercules’ distribution channel has proved challenging as the company has added locations throughout the Rocky Mountain region, following five years of 35 percent downturn.

Greatest Achievement

Growing the family business for more than 50 years.

Quote of Note

“Imagine this company, let alone this world, if we all choose to be servant leaders in how we serve customers and one another. I can assure you one thing – Hercules would be successful beyond our wildest dreams.” – Andy Newland, Hercules’ president.

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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