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Beyond Beer, the Coors Family Creates World-Class Engineered Ceramics

CoorsTek combines tech and science to design high-performing materials


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The world equates the Coors name with beer, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that the family also runs a billion-dollar engineered materials business. Nestled alongside Coors Brewery in Golden, CoorsTek is one of the biggest and best-kept secrets in global manufacturing, with more than 6,500 employees operating in 33 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

Under the auspices of three fifth-generation Coors family members – co-CEOs Jonathan, Michael and Timothy Coors – CoorsTek manufactures integral components for products addressing a broad range of issues impacting the automotive, defense, medical, energy, semiconductor and chemical sectors. “You might not see us, but together with our global partners, our imprint is everywhere,” Timothy Coors says.

Ceramics engineering is the science and technology of creating high-performing, nonmetallic materials that are heat resistant and more durable than plastic. So how did a beer family get into this line of business?

Back in 1910, the Coors family invested in the Herold China and Pottery Company, which was devoted to oven-safe cookware, china and pottery. “Five generations later, we’re focused on the next century of ceramics innovation,” Michael Coors says.

The company still thrives under family leadership, and its vision is wrapped up in an overarching set of family values. As Jonathan Coors puts it, “We deliver outstanding value through unsurpassed expertise in materials engineering, broad research, development and manufacturing capabilities, operational excellence and highly collaborative relationships.”

“Our values run deep from the top of the organization to the manufacturing floor,” Timothy says. “And they expand beyond the CoorsTek headquarters in Golden.”

CoorsTek and Colorado School of Mines, for example, have worked together for decades to advance engineered ceramics. In 2014, CoorsTek and the Coors family announced a $27 million commitment to the school. In addition to funding high-tech equipment and a graduate research fellowship program, the investment was used to open the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering.

“This partnership isn’t about a building,” Michael says. “For CoorsTek, our investment in Mines is not only an investment in the future of our company and a great university — it’s an investment in solving global challenges in energy, transportation, information technology, the environment and the quality of human life itself.”

This forward-thinking spirit advances CoorsTek’s own research and development, too. In Golden, CoorsTek invested in a newly opened R&D facility that doubles as a specialty ceramic materials manufacturing facility. Outfitted with sophisticated equipment, the hub enables close collaboration between CoorsTek engineers and the company’s customers’ product development teams, ultimately creating a more efficient innovation cycle.

“CoorsTek’s R&D facilities are our global hubs for creating new ceramic solutions for clients,” Jonathan says, noting that the company has led development of more than 300 materials at R&D facilities in Japan, Europe and Colorado. And Michael adds, “Expanding R&D capabilities is part of an ongoing $130 million global materials and technology investment that further encourages customer collaboration to develop application-driven materials for CoorsTek.”

(This sponsored content was provided by CoorsTek.)

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Jamie Siebrase

Jamie Siebrase is a freelance writer based in Colorado.

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