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March 2015 Issue
Tech startup: Cool Energy Inc.By Eric Peterson
INITIAL LIGHT BULB Sam P. Weaver founded Cool Energy with his father, Sam C. Weaver, and his brother, Dan Weaver, after a Christmas toy provided inspiration.Sam C.’s background in nuclear energy led to a longstanding family conversation on how power plants and industrial facilities could reclaim waste heat and convert it to electricity. Then came Christmas 2005 and the American Stirling Co.’s coffee cup Stirling engine. Robert Stirling’s eponymous engines converted waste heat into mechanical energy during the Industrial Revolution, and the toy turned the waste heat from a cup of joe into 250 revolutions per minute. It captivated the Weavers. Cool Energy now has seven employees, with Sam P. Weaver serving as CEO and his father as chairman of the board. (Dan Weaver is an. . .
Colorado cool stuff
Foldagram, ballet physique, all-in pillow, Brand 44By Eric Peterson
FOLDAGRAM Jordan Bundy has had a hand in a number of startups, including an audio company in Chicago and a mountain-transportation business (Altitude Express) in Colorado. His latest entrepreneurial idea originated during a hike near Vail, when he thought of “a way to make photographs special and important again,” Bundy says. “In the digital age, you post it on Facebook and forget about it.” His elegant solution is the Foldagram. Customers upload the image of their choice and Bundy takes care of the rest, printing a unique substitute for a postcard for businesses and consumers. “The recipient takes the envelope and folds it backwards to make a standing photo display,” Bundy explains. “It ends up being cheaper than going to the store and buying a greeting card. . .
Perspective: Like yesterday
ColoradoBiz: A labor of loveBy Pat Wiesner
“I can’t remember ever saying, ‘Well, that was an easy year!’ about Colorado Business magazine.” – Eliza Cross, vice president, Wiesner Publishing, circa 1990s. I only met Merrill Hastings a couple of times in my life. He was a real powerhouse in Colorado publishing, having started magazines like Skiing, Rocky Mountain West, Winter Sports, Cope and of course, Colorado Business in 1973. We first met about 20 years ago at what must have been some kind of conference where we spent most of a day sitting together at the same table. All I remember is that I really liked Merrill Hastings. From the 10th Mountain Division stories to the publishing successes he’d had, I wanted to hear all about it because he was big-time and we were just getting started. You know how it goes sometimes; we got along well, promised we would get together soon, and. . .
Telluride reaches out to budding businesses
Six-month ‘Venture Accelerator’ exposes entrepreneurs to mentors, angel investorsBy Eric Peterson
In Telluride, there is more natural beauty than the eye can see. Economic diversity, not so much. The local economy is based on tourism and real estate, and more tourism. People don’t usually come here to start a company. They are much more likely to move to town after selling one. But that means there is no shortage of residents and second-home owners with C-level experience at Fortune 500 companies. And those who don’t live here can’t argue with an extended vacation in Telluride. Under the umbrella of the nonprofit Telluride Foundation, the Telluride Venture Accelerator is looking to pair this deep pool of experience and the remarkable location and other natural resources to see what kind of new businesses might take root in Telluride. The focus is on companies. . .
The Economist: Economic arguments about gun control
Some objective dataBy Tucker Hart Adams
I’m leaving the country for a month, so it seems like a good time to write on what must be the most controversial subject in the country today – gun control. Economists are supposed to present objective data, not look for facts to support preconceived value judgments. I’ll do my best. I grew up in small town Arkansas, down near the Louisiana border. My uncle was an enthusiastic hunter and fisherman and we occasionally had the opportunity to eat fried squirrel, gamey venison and maybe an occasional possum. When I moved to Colorado I learned why Arkansas venison was so gamey. It was hunted by men (yep, always men) sitting along a game trail, swigging bourbon and waiting for the dogs to drive the deer by so they could blast away. My Colorado hunter friend pointed out that if you don’t kill the deer with the first shot, it is frightened and releases musk (I. . .
Sports biz: Skiing gets a second lifeBy Stewart Schley
Been skiing yet this season? Then you might have already noticed something’s different: There aren’t as many snowboarders zooming down the slopes. A sport that seemed to be on an unstoppable growth track now seems to be declining. Just over 30 percent of U.S. ski resort visits came from snowboarders last season, compared with 32.6 percent in the 2009-2010 season, according to an industry survey by the National Ski Areas Association. The average number of days snowboarders hit the slopes has dropped to 6.1 per season from a record of 7.6 in the sport’s late 1990s heyday, NSAA says. And – cover your ears, Shaun White – there’s a generational tilt: A report by skiing industry analyst RRC Associates found the percentage of children under 14 who start on snowboards hit a low of 34 percent last season, compared with a peak of 42 percent during the. . .
Executive edge: Robert McBride
Metro Taxi owner is a regular cab rider, tooBy Lynn Bronikowski
For Robert McBride, owner and operator of Metro Taxi, Denver’s largest taxi company, it all began with a 1973 Cadillac limousine with 350,000 miles on it and his parents’ driveway as his business address. By day, he’d work in a fiberglass plant in his native New York; by night he’d make runs to the airport, eventually getting into the wedding business, adding a second limo and buying a small taxi company that he’d grow into the largest operator on Long Island. “There isn’t a department I haven’t worked in,” said McBride, 52, the son of poor Irish immigrants whose father worked two jobs his whole life. “I’ve done payroll; I’ve dispatched; I’ve driven a cab, been a mechanic, swept the floors and cleaned the. . .
Colorado innovators weigh impact of contested tax
Tough hike for medical device makersBy Debra Melani
Although health-reform and fiscal-cliff fallout continues its scattered rain on all Colorado businesses, one large chunk has landed squarely in the front yards of the state’s medical-device companies. Now, with the ink barely dry on the first quarterly IRS payments for a 2.3-percent excise tax that took effect Jan. 1, these high-tech manufacturers are warning that a negative economic rumble could follow. In 2010, faced with paying for President Obama’s $1 trillion Affordable Care Act, lawmakers approved the tax, expected to raise as much as $29 billion in the next 10 years from the $100-billion-plus medical-device industry. The tax made it through the end-of-year fiscal-cliff congressional session intact, but as ColoradoBiz went to press in mid-February, bipartisan. . .
Rundles wrap up: PEDs for business
Oh Deer!By Jeff Rundles
For most of my adult life I have been 5’8” and 150-170 lbs. Just recently, however, I have pushed both those thing up – to about 6’ and 195 lbs. I can honestly say I’m pretty cut, as well. How did I do it? Deer antler. I thought about going with the Deer Antler Extract Spray so popular these days, but it’s so expensive only professional football players and golfers can afford it. Me, I just took one of my many assault rifles up into the hills and shot some deer and began gnawing on their head ornaments. Antlers are particularly good with the velvet still intact and I’ve noticed, too, that it has improved my dental health. I figured the deer antler would completely buff me out, but who knew that deer antler would also make you taller? Simon. . .