50 Colorado Companies to Watch: From Business Controls Inc. to Gnip Inc.

 Business Controls Inc.


Snapshot: Business Controls Inc. works with employers to mitigate internal risks related to employee misconduct. BCI’s business model aligns services with the phases of addressing employee misconduct: anonymous incident reporting systems; research, due diligence, security assessments; corporate investigations; training; and policy development and consulting.

Leadership: Steven Foster has been president since 2001. The Greenwood Village company was founded in 1994. Revenues increased 2 percent in 2011 and are projected to increase 21 percent this year.

Work force: BCI employed 17 full-time and two part-time workers in 2011 and plans to add three full-time workers this year.

Pivotal moment: During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, BCI placed 27 executive protection professionals on the ground within 12 hours in response to looting activity and threats of violence.

Technological edge: BCI’s patent-pending application is based on the unique combination of managing anonymity options, handling confidential information, and delivering information nearly instantaneously to a diverse client base.

Community: BCI donates more than $20,000 in services to its nonprofit clients.

Cerapedics Inc.


Snapshot: Cerapedics is a medical device company that develops and commercializes bone graft products based on its proprietary small peptide technology for the spine, trauma and orthopaedic markets worldwide.

Leadership: Paul Mraz has been president and CEO since 2006. The Westminster company was founded in 2001. Revenues grew 127 percent last year and are projected to increase another 76 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed 20 workers in 2011. It expects to add two full-time workers and one part-time worker this year.

Pivotal moment: When Cerapedics was near bankruptcy in late 2006, a new management team and investors agreed to take the company in a new direction while preserving some involvement from the original founders. Since then, the company has raised more than $33 million, built a new facility and secured its first revenues.

Technological edge: Cerapedics has issued patents and has several pending that will continue to provide broad protection for its technologies.

Community: The company has a paid summer/winter college internship program for local undergraduate and graduate students.

Chromatic Technologies Inc.


Snapshot: Chromatic Technologies manufactures thermochromic (temperature-sensitive) and photochromic (light-sensitive) inks and coatings, primarily for the beverage market. Colors and patterns change colors due to light or temperature. The company also has developed security coatings for the anti-counterfeit industry.

Leadership: President Lyle Small founded the Colorado Springs company in 1993. Revenues increased 25 percent in 2011 and are projected to grow 10 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed 38 full-time workers in 2011 and expects to add four more this year.

Pivotal moments: In 2007, Coors integrated thermochromic inks into a significant marketing campaign that changed the business.

Technological edge: In 1999, CTI succeeded in encapsulating its own thermochromic pigments, which greatly enhanced the profit potential for the company.

Company culture: CTI has been active in community activities such as Colorado Springs’ Ronald McDonald House, the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Colorado and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots efforts. Employee benefits include smoking-cessation programs and wellness activities, healthful living promotions, gym memberships and training for employees in personal finance and retirement planning.

Clean Energy Collective


Snapshot: Clean Energy Collective delivers clean power-generation through medium-scale solar facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers.

Leadership: President Paul Spencer founded the Carbondale company in 2009. Revenues grew 343 percent in 2011 and are projected to grow 177 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed six full-time and three part-time workers in 2011. It expects to grow to 26 full-time and five part-time workers this year.

Pivotal moments: Highlights include the launch of the company’s first community solar garden, the Mid Valley Solar Array in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the launch of an 858 kilowatt Garfield County Airport solar array, which has 3,575 solar panels covering 5 acres.

Technological edge: CEC’s proprietary RemoteMeter software automatically calculates monthly credits and integrates each solar garden with existing utility billing systems, enabling all residential and commercial utility customers to have clean, renewable power automatically credited on their monthly utility bills, without modifying their home or office.

Community: CTI works with local nonprofits such as LIFT-UP and the Aspen Homeless Shelter to raise money or generate in-kind donations. Each employee is an active member in at least one community organization.

Connexall USA


Snapshot: Connexall provides a hospital-wide platform that connects people, systems, tasks and devices. Its software product and services facilitate the exchange of health information across the care continuum to ensure patient safety and care.

Leadership: John Elms has been president of the Boulder company since 2010, the year it was founded.

Pivotal moment: When it established a U.S. corporation, Connexall sought a chief marketing officer with expertise in the American health-care market. The company began to approach its target customers by talking about patient care and the challenges clinicians and support staff face, rather than using the language of information technology.

Technological edge: “Virtual call points allow a condition or user request to trigger an action, not simply an alert from a medical device,” the company says. “These innovations allow Connexall to improve hospital efficiency and ultimately patient care.”

Company culture: Connexall’s culture is based on solving the root problems in health-care workflow. That means developing a deep understanding of interdisciplinary workflow and then applying technology to solving those problems.

Couragent Inc.


Snapshot: Couragent is the maker of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.

Leadership: Gordon Nuttall has been CEO of the Fort Collins company since 2010, when the company was founded. Revenue grew 590 percent in 2011 and is projected to grow 188 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed five full-time and one part-time worker in 2011. It expects to add three full-time and one part-time worker this year.

Pivotal moments: Couragent’s successful negotiation of an agreement with its supplier gave the company world-class sourcing, a high-quality product, and assurance of product supply. Couragent also has attracted industry and media attention, including a story in Money magazine.

Technological edge: The company’s “flip-and-scan” technology comprises three patents and numerous trade secrets related to optics, transport, power management and image processing.

Company culture: Couragent’s values – courage, integrity, collaboration, innovation and care – were set before the company was formed. The company sponsored two United Way Make a Difference Day projects: the IHN Angel House Project in 2010; and the Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County in 2011.



Snapshot: The ECS team specializes in custom application development, system integration and consulting expertise on overall systems architecture and delivery. ECS works across a variety of industries including communications, media, energy, finance and state and local government.

Leadership: Rob Hale has been president of the Greenwood Village company since 1999, when it was founded. Revenue grew 51 percent last year and is expected to increase 20 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed 62 full-time and two part-time workers in 2011. It expects to increase its full-time count to 80 this year.

Pivotal moment: The two most important moments in ECS’s history were the selection by SquareTwo Financial to become its strategic IT partner and by Verizon Wireless to assist with its 4G network initiatives.

Technological edge: “The pace of change in our customers’ business is increasing, and often their software systems cannot keep pace. Modern software approaches and technologies enable ECS to help our customers solve their business problems quickly and with the flexibility to adjust to the future.”

Philanthropy: ECS employees donate their time to causes within the community, including more than 100 charity organizations in the local Denver area.

Elite Brands


Snapshot: Elite Brands is a statewide adult beverage distribution business that serves as the link between wineries, breweries and distilleries and customers in Colorado.

Leadership: Terry Cekola has been president of the Denver company since 2003, when it was founded. Revenue grew 41 percent in 2011 and is expected to increase 31 percent this year.

Work force: The company employs 38 full-time workers and expects to add four more this year.

Pivotal moment: Three years after its founding, Elite Brands created a delivery division that enabled it to warehouse and deliver for other distributors. It also became a statewide distributor by adding sales representatives and delivery into the high country and Western Slope.

Technological edge: Sales team members are outfitted in the field with a laptop or iPad for real-time inventory and access to account information.

Company culture: Decisions are made as a team, and balanced sales are encouraged instead of quotas. Elite Brands donates product to nonprofit organizations for fundraising events. The company’s sales team picks all of the products sold, enabling them to focus on smaller brands in Colorado.

Gateway Products Inc.

www.su-per.com and

Snapshot: Gateway is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of products for the horse, small animal, and human supplement industries.

Leadership: Arthur “Ted” Simon has been president of the Holly company since 1976, the year it was founded. Revenue grew 4 percent last year and is expected to increase 9 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed 27 full-time and nine part-time workers in 2011. It expects to employ 29 full-time and eight part-time workers this year.

Pivotal moment: In 2007, the company linked with an export management company to expand its business. Thus Gateway increased its overall sales even though sales in the U.S. had decreased during that period.

Technological edge: “For over 35 years, we have been innovative leaders in the creation of flavorings and formulations which make our products unique and palatable for the horse.”

Community: When the volunteer-supported Holly Theatre needed refurbishment, Gateway used its truck and workers to pick up, deliver and install seats and a projector that had been donated by a theater in Colorado Springs that was closing.

Geotech Environmental Equipment Inc.


Snapshot: Geotech Environmental Equipment Inc. manufactures and distributes equipment used for sampling, monitoring and remediating groundwater and soil pollution. Its customers include international government, consulting and private industry. The company was founded in 1978.

Leadership: Jeffrey Popiel became president and chief executive officer of the company in 2008. Revenue increased 8 percent in 2011 and is expected grow 14 percent this year.

Work force: The company employed 91 full-time and two part-time workers in 2011 and expects to add six more full-time workers this year.

Pivotal moment: Prompted by the U.S. Geological Survey, a customer since the company’s early days as a machine shop, Geotech began machining parts for other companies and developed a new product.

Global reach: In addition to its 125,000-square-foot Denver-based factory and headquarters, Geotech operates service centers in five other states, a European Sales Center in Barcelona, Spain, plus a representative office in Beijing, China.

Community: Geotech has raised more than $100,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Popiel serves on the executive committee of the World Trade Center of Denver.

Gibson Athletic


Snapshot: Gibson Athletic manufactures and distributes gymnastics, ballet, functional fitness and children’s therapy equipment. The company was founded in 1974.

Leadership: Brian Smith has been president of the Denver company since 2006, when he and his wife, Tamara Smith, bought the company.

Work force: The company employed 45 full-time and two part-time workers in 2011. It expects to add 15 full-time workers this year.

Pivotal moment: In February 2007, the company suffered a major warehouse fire. “It took about six months and an amazing effort by an incredible group of employees, but we rebuilt our facility and went on to have great successes over the next several years.”

Technological edge: In January, Gibson launched 35 new products into the autism product line, including a wheel-chair rocker, a cuddle swing and a large support structure from which to hang a variety of swings.

Company culture: The company’s mission statement is “To bring happiness to people’s lives through athleticism, recreation and physical therapy.” By sponsoring the Make a Wish Foundation this year, Gibson is sending a Colorado child to the Olympics in London.

Gnip Inc.


Snapshot: Gnip delivers billions of activities from dozens of social media sources, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and WordPress. The company serves hundreds of customers in industries ranging from social media monitoring and marketing to finance and government.

Leadership: Jud Valeski, who cofounded the Boulder company in 2008, has been CEO since 2010. Chris Moody is COO, Rob Johnson is VP of Product Strategy and Greg Greenstreet is VP of engineering.

Pivotal moment: An exclusive partnership with Twitter in November 2010 made Gnip the first authorized reseller of firehose Twitter data for enterprise consumption, marking the birth of a new industry.

Technological edge: Gnip delivers more than 90 billion activities per month. It has developed an infrastructure capable of scaling to deliver the enormous volumes of social media that is generated by the public daily.

Company culture: Gnip believes that work should be fun and that a healthy work-life balance is core to long term success. To that end, Gnip provides employees with a flexible time-off policy, daily breakfast, a fully stocked kitchen, Boulder Recreation Center passes, Eldora Ski Resort passes, memberships to Boulder B-Cycles and other perks. Executives work directly with the University of Colorado leaders to help develop programs that better prepare students for jobs within the Boulder high-tech/startup community.

Categories: Company Perspectives, Economy/Politics