Posted: April 01, 2012
Made in Colorado: Electric machinery, sound equipment and TV partsBy Eric Peterson
Boulder Electric Vehicles
Carter Brown melded his previous entrepreneurial forays in composite materials and laser shows when he launched Boulder Electric Vehicles in 2009. His inspiration? A 1963 Mercury Monterey he converted to electric for his own personal use.
“I knew if I could get something that heavy to move with electric power, there was a lot of potential,” says Brown, now the company’s CEO.
The resulting business plan targeted the fleet market with all-electric heavy trucks as well as 12- and 22-passenger shuttles.
“We’re ramping up the first automotive tooling lines in the history of Colorado,” Brown says, touting the company’s 60,000-square-foot plant in Lafayette. Boulder Electric Vehicles are not only efficient – fuel costs are one-sixth that of comparable gas-powered vehicles – they are also easier to maintain than legacy fleet trucks.
“There are no spark plugs, no glow plugs, no oil changes, no fuel filters, no transmissions to break – all of the parts are gone,” Brown says.
The 30-employee company delivered its first vehicle to Boulder’s Precision Plumbing in February, and has about 30 back orders to fulfill. “By June, we should be delivering a truck every week,” Brown says.
Colorado Time Systems Touchpads
Founded by a quartet of Hewlett-Packard engineers in 1972, Colorado Time Systems has more than 22,000 installations in 120 countries today.
“The heart of the company is aquatics, and today is exactly like it was 40 years ago,” says Anita Sayed, president and CEO. “We focus on the aquatic industry and its needs. The idea is to create champions, or to make people the best swimmer they can be.”
Noting that milliseconds often determine the difference between a gold medal and a silver one, Sayed points out that Colorado Time Systems’ Touchpads are used at aquatic facilities for meets at every level, from summer club to NCAA, marking a swimmer’s finish with the slightest touch.
“I’m very proud of those Touchpads,” Sayed says. “I honestly believe that they are the best in the world. Every little centimeter is active – there is never a miss.”
The company’s catalog also includes everything from water polo horns to LED displays to pace clocks, but installations “are the biggest part of our business,” Sayed says. “We work with the contractors and the architects.” Many products, including Touchpads, are made in Loveland, but others are made overseas; the company employs about 100 people in Colorado.
PS Audio PerfectWave Digital to Analog Converter
Paul McGowan launched PS Audio from a California garage in 1973 – wait, strike that. “I don’t even think we had a garage,” he says, laughing. Starting with a phonograph preamplifier, PS Audio quickly emerged as a top brand in high-end audio.
After McGowan moved the company to Colorado in the 1990s, PS Audio started building the Power Plant, which converts AC current to DC and back again to remove any irregularities that might impact your stereo’s sound. In 2000, McGowan and company moved into high-end digital-to-analog converters, which now comprise the backbone of the company’s PerfectWave system.
“It’s one of the few in the world with a wireless component,” McGowan says. PS Audio moved production to China in the early 2000s, which McGowan terms “a real disaster,” prompting a return to Boulder in 2007. “The quality is much better now,” he says. It’s also boosted the company’s marketing cachet overseas, where it sells the lion’s share of its products.
“They love that it’s built in Boulder,” McGowan says. “We really market that.” PS Audio also really markets “two really cool listening rooms” at its headquarters. Says McGowan: “We encourage people to come by and hear what real high-end audio sounds like.”
Model 625 Stereo Amplifier
Jeff Rowland Design Group, Colorado Springs
Campus Power Pack
Switched On Bags Colorado Springs
2000 Series Amplifier
Avalon Acoustics Boulder
Rock On Audio
Clear Harmony Noise Canceling Headphones
Split Core AC Sensor
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com