Posted: June 01, 2013
COCTW 2013: Able Planet to Chinook Medical GearBy Gigi Sukin
Snapshot: Able Planet designs and manufactures audio and communication devices for individuals with all levels of hearing. The products range from consumer headphones to devices for hearing health. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Wheat Ridge.
Leadership: Kevin Semcken has been CEO since 2005.
Work Force: Able Planet had 21 full-time employees and eight part-time in 2012, and expects to have 25 full-time and two part-time employees this year.
Pivotal Moment: At the International Consumer Electronics Show in 2006, Able Planet won an Innovations Design and Engineering Award in the Embedded Technology Category for its LINX AUDIO technology. This led to the development of the company’s first consumer headphone, Clear Harmony.
Tech Edge: Able Planet LINX AUDIO alters audio signals creating high frequency harmonics off every fundamental sound. Most hearing loss occurs in the high frequency, so Able Planet’s products create high frequency sounds that are untainted.
Community Involvement: Able Planet donates assistive listening products to schools, and sends its “I Am Able” sponsored athletes such as Ashley Fiolek – who is deaf and a Women’s Super X Motocross World Champion – to schools to motivate kids to overcome auditory challenges.
Adaptive Innovations Corp.
Snapshot: Adaptive is an engineering firm specializing in design, build and programming of custom machine automation, robotics, test equipment and fixtures. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Lakewood.
Leadership: Michael Abdella and Scott Robinson are co-owners. Robinson founded the company in 2002. Revenues increased 296 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 49 percent this year.
Work Force: The company had 15 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in 2012 and expects to have 19 this year.
Big Break: In 2008 the leadership made a decision to shift primary offerings from custom test equipment and tooling to custom machine automation. Adaptive changed its messaging and marketing and won its first automation project in 2011. A year later the company landed a second, much larger project.
Tech Edge: Customers include companies in aerospace and defense, medical device, automotive, electronics and other sectors. Adaptive integrates the latest technologies, such as advanced robotics and progressive software and controls, to reduce costs and improve reliability for its clients.
Community Involvement: Adaptive supports Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, which helps sick or injured hockey players. Adaptive also supports events and fundraisers led by the Boulder Rugby Club, including volunteering time, coaching kids and raising money.
Snapshot: Agility Solutions is a consultancy that works with telecom, energy, hospitality and technology companies in Denver. Revenue increased 41 percent in 2012 and is projected to increase 21 percent this year.
Leadership: Sami Ibrahim and Cody Sudmeier are principals and co-founded Agility.
Work Force: Agility does not disclose how many employees it has, but says the company uses behavioral interviewing plus speed recruiting, or short, structured interviews, in the hiring process.
Pivotal Moment: Companies decreased their spending during the Great Recession, so Agility began offering clients a success-based fee model, in which clients only pay for direct, measurable improvements to their bottom line.
Tech Edge: In 2012, Agility launched a new brand identity, creating a service suite called Profit Assurance. Today the company is serving new customers outside the U.S.
Community Involvement: In 2012 all Agility team members participated in at least one of the firm’s community service engagements, contributing more than $6,000 to nonprofits such as the American Cancer Society and Adopt a Family holiday gifts for families of fallen troops.
Snapshot:AGPROfessionals LLC offers research and feasibility, location and site selection, property acquisition and due diligence, federal, state and local land use, environmental permits and entitlements and other services to agricultural entities. The Longmont-based company was founded in 2000.
Leadership: Thomas Haren is owner and CEO. Revenues increased 75 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 10 percent this year.
Work Force: The company had 16 FTE employees in 2012 and expects to increase by two in 2013.
Pivotal Moment: The company divested non-agricultural activities in 2005 to focus exclusively on agriculture with its one-stop-shop and services. In 2009 AGPROfessionals was approached for a merger, and although it did not sell, the company implemented new efficiency improvements.
Tech Edge: AGPROfessionals uses biotechnology, computerization, remote sensing, engineering, business, public policy and natural resource convergence to help solve some of the challenges the industry faces.
Community Involvement: The company donates and sponsors calves in the annual livestock auction, and supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County, FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) and 4-H. In a 2012 survey employees chose world food production as the company’s philanthropy and identified the Weld County Food Bank and Heifer International as a part of that mission.
Audioair, Airborne Media Group Inc.
Snapshot: In 2011 Airborne Media Group created Audioair, a technology that permits smartphone and tablet users to selectively listen to muted televisions in private and public venues, such as airports, sports bars, universities, casinos, fitness clubs and hospitals. Revenues grew 59 percent in 2012, and are projected to increase 1,015 percent this year.
Leadership: Cordell Brown is CEO of the Durango-based company.
Work Force : The company had 18 full-time employees in 2012 and expects to have 32 by end of this year.
Pivotal Moment: In 2012 Airborne Media Group debuted Audioair at South By Southwest Interactive, the tech conference of the SXSW festivals in Austin, Texas. The technology was also noticed at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2012.
Tech Edge: The dedicated platform provides the opportunity to develop ad content that can be distributed to Audioair locations in real time. The venues and advertisers can use the digital channel to reach a targeted segment in specific locations with unique content.
Community Involvement: Airborne Media Group provides digital signage on its ad platform to local charities free of charge.
Snapshot: BEW Global is a data protection company with customers in more than 23 countries. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Greenwood Village. Revenues increased 48 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 30 percent this year.
Leadership: Robert Eggebrecht is co-founder, president and CEO. His counterpart, Chuck Bloomquist is vice president and CTO.
Work Force: The company had 33 full-time employees in 2012 and expects to have 60 this year.
Big Break: Leadership decided BEW Global would specialize in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and spent the first five years in business educating the market on the risks of data loss and the need for DLP. Software vendors let BEW talk to their prospects and clients about the need for a strategic DLP system.
Tech Edge: BEW Global offers consulting services and 24/7 Intelisecure Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) solutions. BEW Global also offers a cloud-based DLP delivery portfolio that integrates leading DLP solutions with best-in-class email and Web security platforms.
Company Culture: BEW Global’s culture balances professionalism and comfort. No suits except when meeting with a client, so employees wear jeans, shorts and T-shirts and often have mountain bikes and skis ready to go, just in case.
Blue Moon Works Inc.
Snapshot: Blue Moon Works is a digital marketing agency in Denver that helps clients sort through large amounts of data to improve performance.
Leadership: Cynthia Brown founded the company in 2003 and serves as CEO. Revenues increased 39 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 43 percent this year.
Work Force: The company expects to have 42 full-time and two part-time employees this year.
Big Break: Blue Moon Works started as an email marketing business. Early on a major business supply company asked Blue Moon Works to bid on providing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and manage a $3 million ad budget. Today PPC advertising is the firm’s largest service.
Tech Edge: The IT company filed a utility patent for Visual Intelligence Cubes. This technology enables quick assessment of up to eight different data sources and the identification of the true driver of traffic, revenue and conversion rates.
Company Culture: The company focuses on six core values: Achievement, Growth, Innovation, Respect, Teamwork and Integrity. In weekly stand-up meetings, peers shout out recognition of teammates’ accomplishments, and quarterly teambuilding projects are based on each of the six core values.
Botanical Interests Inc.
Snapshot: Botanical Interests manufactures and sells garden seed packets to independent retail garden centers and health-centric grocery stores nationwide. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Broomfield. Revenue increased 10 percent in 2012 and is expected to get another 18 percent boost this year.
Leadership: Curtis Jones and Judith Seaborn are co-presidents.
Work Force: The company had 40 full-time employees in 2012 and expects to grow by two more in 2013.
Pivotal Moment: Consumers have become interested in growing their own food, and they are concerned about food safety and the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic also became an important health trend, so about seven years ago Botanical Interests added a line of certified organic varieties.
Company Culture: Every spring, the company takes orders from employees. For example, someone might want to grow Brandywine tomatoes, so Botanical Interests grows them for that staff member. This helps employees understand the company’s purpose and sometimes motivates non-gardeners to learn to enjoy gardening.
Community Involvement: The company donates outdated but viable seeds to organizations that grow food for school and community gardens and food banks.
Boulder Creek Builders
Snapshot: Boulder Creek Builders calls Louisville home and has built green homes since 2006.
Leadership: David Sinkey is owner and president. Revenues increased 204 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase another 92 percent this year.
Work Force: The company expects to nearly double its full-time employees in 2013, getting up to 45.
Big Break: The economic downturn ultimately benefitted Boulder Creek Builders, as the company hired workers who were laid off by competitors, bought land below market value and boosted their marketing and advertising efforts.
Tech Edge: The company implemented an enterprise management system that gives it access to real-time construction, buyer, cost, pricing and warranty data. This reporting power allows the company to detect trends and stay ahead of changes in the market. BCB homes are low maintenance designs that often appeal to empty nesters.
Company Culture: Boulder Creek enjoys a small company feel in a small town. The company offers family outings to the ice rink across the street and hosts weekly barbecues during the Louisville Downtown Street Faire, on Friday evenings in the summer.
Boulder Electric Vehicle Inc.
Snapshot: Boulder Electric Vehicle builds and sells 100 percent electric trucks. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Lafayette.
Leadership: Carter Brown is president and CEO.
Work Force: The company had 26 full-time employees in 2012 and expects to have 35 by this year’s end.
Big Break: In a series of successes, the Colorado Energy Office provided the company with a $1.3 million loan, two major shipping/logistics companies ordered trucks from Boulder Electric Vehicle, and a corporate and fleet sales group partnered with BEV to sell trucks under a GSA Schedule Contract.
Tech Edge: The company has two utility patents pending. One is for the battery management system, and the other for a special honeycomb design that increases the strength of the body platform while significantly lowering weight.
Company Culture: The common thread between each of the BEV team members is their shared enthusiasm for electric vehicles. The car crew works in an integrated, collaborative fashion to build a community atmosphere, increase productivity and morale.
Snapshot: Since 1999 Broomfield-based BSC Signs has designed, manufactured, installed and serviced signs for commercial, corporate and government agencies.
Leadership: John Dobie is owner, founder and president of the company originally known as Broomfield Sign Co. Revenues increased by 70 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 28 percent this year.
Work Force: BSC expects to have 26 full-timers this year.
Pivotal Moment: About three years ago Dobie hired a business coach who guided him to become a better leader and manager. The company started hiring new team members so Dobie could better delegate tasks, including the company’s first Certified Professional Salesperson.
Tech Edge: The company has implemented some semi-automatic machinery and also hired people with industrial art degrees who know how to do 3-D presentations. That has helped BSC get attention from architects and real estate developers. The company also uses Cloud Sign Estimating Software to streamline business.
Community Involvement: BSC Signs has donated signs and made financial pledges to local schools and sporting organizations and to Habitat for Humanity, Broomfield Community Foundation, Broomfield Fish and Higher Ground Youth Challenge.
Chinook Medical Gear Inc.
Snapshot: Chinook provides medical containers, supplies, modules and kits for military, government, law enforcement and corporate clients. The company was founded in 1990 and is based in Durango. Revenues increased 21 percent in 2012 and are projected to increase 36 percent this year.
Leadership: Carl Darnell has been president and CEO since 1992.
Big Break: Before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Chinook served adventure companies, travelers and travel clinics. After 9/11 a contact at an international medical clinic helped Chinook enter the private military contractor market.
Tech Edge: Chinook introduced Medical Modules with vacuum sealed, single use, injury specific treatment packages that stand alone or can be added to complete a larger medical kit. The company specializes in manufacturing medical kits for use in the harshest environments and introduced seven new products over the last 18 months for its largest segment, the military.
Community Involvement: Chinook supports organizations financially and with in-kind donations. The charities include military groups such as Blue Star Mothers of Durango, Navy Seal Foundation, as well as local groups such as Durango Nature Studies and Durango Food Bank.
Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.