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Made in Colorado awards celebrate state's top manufacturers

The ColoradoBiz Made in Colorado Manufacturing Forum and Awards celebrated 250 Colorado Manufacturers on April 23, with six receiving top honors.

The list of Colorado-made products includes spacecraft, beer and burritos – to name a few. And the state’s manufacturers are an increasingly nimble lot. Here are this year's winners:

Manufacturer of the Year:

Small Biz — Display Devices

This year’s Small Biz Manufacturer of the Year went to Display Devices, a company with major customers including Coca Cola, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Hitachi, Panasonic and Cirque du Soleil. For nearly a quarter century, this Golden-based manufacturer has taken projects from initial concept renderings to metal bending, software writing, designing and building…all under a single roof. Its commercial audio-visual equipment is suited for environments from boardrooms to theme parks.

Medium Biz — Circle Graphics

Circle Graphics has earned recognition as the world’s largest producer of large-format digital graphics, serving brands from Chevrolet to Live Nation, Pfizer to Motel 6. The business has found ways to reduce costs and lessen its carbon footprint by decreasing the use of gas-guzzling machinery for transport and installation. The cost savings has allowed the company to lower its prices — leading to industry disruption. In its unassuming Longmont-based manufacturing facility, you can find nearly 100 grand format printers, custom automated finishing equipment and coating capabilities to produce recyclable materials up to 16 feet wide. Most recently, Circle Graphics expanded into the consumer market with Eazl, a fast and affordable service to put digital images on canvas for personal use.

Large Biz — Ball Corp.

Founded in 1880 and known as the largest producer of recyclable beverage cans in the world, along with its catalogue other foods and household products, space systems and other technologies, Ball Corporation’s rich history, commitment to sustainability, and ability to deliver value to stakeholders does not go unnoticed in the state of Colorado and around the world.

Manufacturing Executive of the Year: Pete Neidecker, Mountainside Medical

Our 2014 Manufacturing Executive of the Year represents an individual who not only understands, but actionably commits himself and his organization to the growth of the manufacturing sector in Colorado. With his investment in educational resources at Front Range Community College, he takes real responsibility to bolster the future workforce. Moreover, by assuring the expectations of his medical device customers are met and with great value for his employees, Pete Neidecker alongside his wife has built a truly lasting organization.

Manufacturing Innovator of the Year: Steelhead Composites

This year’s Manufacturing Innovator of the Year is a forward-thinking and moving organization, which started walking the walk in late 2012. Steelhead Composites catered its products to market needs and in fact, anticipating needs before they are even articulated, the Golden-based organization uses advanced composite materials to produce high pressure and lightweight accumulators for hybrid engines. These products serve the electric vehicle and energy markets and truly represent advanced manufacturing, redefining the industry category for the future.

Manufacturing Brand Builder of the Year: Sierra Nevada Corp.

Our Brand Builder of the Year goes to a company that’s effectively putting Colorado on the map and out of this world with its manufacturing efforts. Recently ranked as one of Fast Company magazine’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space;” Sierra Nevada is continuing to chase dreams, with current projects and contributions to the commercial spaceflight industry.

The MADE 25 finalists included:


Ball Corp. Metal Beverage Packaging Division

Birko Corp.

Circle Graphics

Colorado Cider Company



Crescent Moon Snowshoes

Display Devices

EVOL Foods

Falcon UAV

Fulsus USA

Guerrilla Gravity

Hammond’s Candies

Honey Skateboards


Modular Robotics

Mountainside Medical

Omerica Organic

Peak Spirits

Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems

Ska Brewing Company

Steelhead Composites

Waste Farmers

Wolf Robotics

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Gigi Sukin

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

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